Thu 8 Dec 2011
At the end of October, I reviewed three pinot noir wines from 2009 from Sequana, a small winery that specializes in that grape derived from vineyards in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley and Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands. Lo and behold, a fourth showed up at my door a few weeks later. This is the Sequana Sundawg Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009, Green Valley of Russian River Valley.
Green Valley lies in the southwestern portion of Russian River Valley. The AVA (American Viticultural Area) was approved in 1993 as Green Valley-Sonoma County — there’s also a Green Valley AVA in Solano County — and modified in 2007 to Green Valley of Russian River Valley. It’s a small appellation, whose proximity to the Pacific Ocean 10 miles to the west and its frequent foggy conditions make it appropriate for cool-climate grapes like chardonnay, pinot noir and gewurztraminer.
The Sequana Sundawg Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, is a radiant medium-ruby color with a slight blue tint around the rim; it offers sweet red cherry and smoky black cherry aromas with hints of plum, cola and cloves — the intensity, the loveliness rated a Wow! in my notes. And wait, there quickly follows a backwash of mulberry and cranberry. The texture is super-satiny but not plush or velvety, actually almost spare, delicate and elegant; a few moments bring in the earthy element of briers and brambles, a touch of graphite and shale to sustain the black and red fruit flavors, all of this utterly smooth, balanced and integrated. And yet a few more minutes deepen the wine’s spicy nature, and the whole package gets denser and more chewy, earthier, in the grip of rounded yet slightly grainy tannins, powered from within by polished oak and vibrant acidity. Pretty much a masterpiece; the winemaker is James MacPhail. 13.9 percent alcohol. Drink through 2014 to ’15. Production was 523 cases. Excellent. About $50.
A sample for review.