After a number of lackluster vintages, 2012 in the Sonoma Coast gave growers and winemakers exactly what they needed: a perfect growing season. Although yields were generally high, the best producers were well poised to make the right decisions in the vineyard and bring in a harvest of perfectly ripe, quality fruit. As many now know, Pinot Noir is undergoing a Burgundy-inspired renaissance in California. Producers are looking more to wines of finesse and detailed nuances while maintaining silky textures and focused fruit. It’s a good time to be into Pinot Noir.
Jamie Kutch has been described as Pinot-obsessed; just listening to him speak about whole cluster fermentation will convince you that this is a man on a mission. His goal is to create the best expression of terroir-driven Pinot Noir that the Sonoma Coast has to offer–a wine that gives a respectful nod to his love of Burgundy, and one that will make “very old bones,” as he would say. This passion started over ten years ago when he decided to uproot from his life as a NASDAQ trader with Merrill Lynch and move to California to follow his dreams. After a slightly rough start, Kutch Wines embarked on a trajectory that has only escalated vintage after vintage.
Now working in a large warehouse space which has been outfitted into a winery, Jamie slowly ferments his top-shelf single vineyard wines, whole-cluster and in 4-ton wooden vats, handmade in Burgundy. From there they are further aged sur le (on the fine lees) in French oak, half new, before bottling.
The results are fruit-intense Pinot Noirs of amazing muscularity and class. The stem contact works wonders, providing textural complexities and an exotic bouquet. Elegant and complex, yet poised like a clenched fist, and showing all the natural beauty of their cool-climate origins. These are highly enjoyable today, yet as Jamie Kutch says, capable of making old bones.
I can’t recommend them highly enough. Enjoy!
On To The Notes:
2012 Kutch Pinot Noir Falstaff Vineyard – The nose showed intense tart raspberry, blackberry and spice, with dark floral tones and a hint of licorice. On the palate, it was medium bodied with silky textures and remarkably fresh, showing tart blackberry and blueberry with the slightest hint of brown stems. Wild berry and mineral tones lingered on the finish, along with inner floral notes. (92 points)
2009 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch – The McDougall Ranch presented a finessed and fruity nose with enticing exotic notes, showing ripe red berry, spearmint, tangerine and spice. On the palate, it was silky and rich, yet balanced perfectly with spine-tingling acidity which kept the fruit lively and refreshing. Staying true to form, the finish turned slightly darker with a sweet spice note which lingered long. This a beautiful new world Pinot and really shows the potential of the Sonoma coast. (94 points)
Article and Tasting Notes by: Eric Guido