In a recent blind Pinot Noir tasting, the small Ancien winery turned out to be the winner in a group of great producers.
The lineup included:
Kosta Brown “Keefer Ranch” 96 Points
Addax “Silver Eagle” (Russell Bevan winemaker) 95 Points,
Brewer Clifton “Hapgood” 95 Points
Dragonette “Fiddlestix” 95+ Points
Hyde de Villaine “Ygnacia” 94 Points
Rochioli “Big Hill” 97 Points
Beaux Frères “The Upper Terrace” 97 Points
Littoria “Hirsch” 96 Points
Ancien “Jouissance” 94 Points
We tasted these wines with a group of 12 people, and the result was as follows:
Ancien received 6 first, 2 second, and 2 third place votes, ahead of Littoria 3 first, 4 second, and 3 third place votes.
Beaux Freres received 2 First, 2 Second, and 3 third place votes.
Ancien 2019 Jouissance Vineyard, Russian River Valley
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A deeper, earthier expression of this vineyard upon release. Brambly black cherry, allspice, and hints of earth mingle with the usual notes of strawberry and pie cherry. The palate is broad and giving, showing early complexity which echos the fruit notes and is accompanied by sweet vanillin, toasted hazelnut, tea, herbs, and coffee as an introduction to this joyfully juicy blend of rich fruit and earthy spice. Sassafras, herbal notes, and baking spices are revealed in the satisfying finish.
Wine Spectator 94 Points: “Enticing, with succulent griotte, loganberry, and anise notes driving through, while lightly singed apple wood and bramble accents underscore the finish, where the fruit takes a full encore. Drink now through 2030. 308 cases made.”
Vineyard: A two-acre vineyard in the southwestern corner of the appellation, only nominally protected by the coastal hills and open to the maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean, is the single source for these grapes. The soils here are sandy loam and very well-drained, typical for the Russian River Valley. The cooler sections of the Russian River, near Sebastopol, are known for producing explosive and aromatic fruit flavors balanced with lively acidity and earthy aromas. All seventeen rows are planted with Dijon 115 clone, which tend to add perfumed aromas and light spice notes to the lush fruitiness derived from the soils.
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