Curlew Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2013
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Curlew 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir by John Pedroncelli
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
COUNTRY: United States
GRAPES: Pinot Noir
REGION: Russian River Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.90%
SPECIAL DESIGNATION: Value Buy
I recently visited the Valley and met with the Pedroncellis to sample the wines from their 2013 vintage. This vintage is even better than 2012 and remarkable for how lush and approachable the wines are early. Curlew has quite the reputation in Napa as this photogenic bird loves to eat grapes hanging on the vine. This is 100% Pinot Noir and a pretty big wine for Russian River Valley Pinot with tons of fruit and made in a consumer friendly style. At this price, there are few others in its class that can surpass it on a quality price ratio. There is nothing not to like about this very well made wine, as it is rich and packed with nicely layered fresh red and dark red fruit. Even the color with its dark ruby red hue is alluring. The inner core is sweet cherries and raspberries and it also has pomegranate, cola, cassis and vanilla. When I am in the Sonoma Valley and passing anywhere nearby the Alexander Valley I love having lunch at the Jimtown store. The antiques and curios are the ultimate in Americana and the lunches are fun and delicious. Pair this nice Pinot Noir with some of their specialties including Ham and Brie, Turkey with chickpea chipotle, Peter’s pulled pork sandwich, and smoked brisket with bourbon barbeque sauce. And don’t miss the puddings or the chocolate chip bread pudding for dessert. Best enjoyed 2015-2020. This is a micro production Pinot with about only 1,500 cases produced.
By Curlew Vineyards
2013 Russian River Valley
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Total Acidity: 5.5g/l
This native of the Burgundy region of France achieves greatness in only a handful of places worldwide, and the Russian River Valley is one of those places. The ‘Pinot-perfect’ climate combined with an amazing complexity of soil types, results in wines that reflect their individual sites but share a common thread. Considered a difficult grape to grow, this valley delivers the conditions that make this a world class growing region and wine. The Curlew Pinot Noir is sourced from a handful of small artisan growers and the fruit selected for this vintage is of highest quality.
The grapes were harvested over the second week of September. The near-textbook perfect growing and harvest conditions of the 2013 vintage delivered fruit with great acid and flavor characteristics. Once fermented, the Curlew Pinot Noir then spends time in oak barrels to age gracefully. Aging just under one year in French and American oak barrels, with new oak blended with seasoned barrels, this important part of the wine style gives it enough time in oak to soften but not so much that the wood aspects overwhelm the bouquet and taste.
Bright aromas of fresh red cherry and floral notes are followed by flavors of ripe raspberry and warm baking spices. Accented by toasted oak notes, the wine is rich and velvety in the mouth and kept in check by medium tannins and bright acidity.
Since 1927, when John Pedroncelli, Sr. purchased vineyards and a small winery in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, two elements remain unchanged: the exceptional place the Pedroncelli family farms vineyards, and the family's dedication to making fine wines.
-From selling grapes to home winemakers during prohibition in order to keep the vineyards going,
-To growing a small base of business during the 1930s and 1940s,
-To the second generation joining their father: son John becoming winemaker in 1948 followed by Jim in 1955 as sales director,
-To 1963 when the winery was officially purchased by John and Jim from their father,
-To growing the line of wines in the 1960s with vineyard expansion and diversification,
-To the boom time of the 1970s and 1980s along with many changes and additions to our sales base including national sales and export,
-The third generation coming on board and vineyard replanting in the 1990s
-To the 21st century where the fourth generation is coming up the ranks... and it is still a family owned business.
[Information provided by J.H.N.]
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.