Michel-Schlumberger Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013
By Kerry Damskey
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Michel-Schlumberger 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Benchland Wine Estate
UNIT SIZE: 750.00ml
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
GRAPE: Pinot Noir
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Sonoma Coast
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 14.40%
A very special edition of this signature wine from Kerry Damskey and Michel-Schlumberger. This is from top Estate vineyards in the Green Valley and Fort Ross-Seaview. The Vineyards are from the ultimate P.O. Box with elite neighbors including Flowers Vineyards, Marcassin and Dutton-Goldfield. These vineyards are from the cooler regions in the Sonoma Coast and are 600-1200 feet in elevation producing wines with incredible flavor. This is 100% Pinot Noir which spent 15 months in French oak, 25% of which was new. This has just the right amount of intensity with elegant and pronounced flavors of fresh dark red fruit including wild strawberries, black cherries, pomegranate, cranberry and red flowers. 2013 was a unique and beautiful vintage. It was a bountiful crop with perfect temperatures and the good Pinots like this one have good acidity and concentration that are accessible early with nice aging potential. Pair with Veal Milanese, scallops, pasta with shrimp, salmon on a cedar plank or striped bass.
By Michel-Schlumberger Wines
2013 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Harvest: Average Brix: 25.3, pH: 3.45, TA: 0.66 g/100ml
Cooperage/Aging: The wine was aged for 15 months in French oak barrels (25% new).
Bottling Date: December, 2014
TA: 0.57 g/100ml
This wine is made from Dijon clones grown at three different hillside vineyard sites in the Sonoma Coast appellation. The flavors of these grapes are richly concentrated by the long cool growing season. Moderate temperatures with no appreciable rainfall throughout the ripening season allowed the grapes to fully develop exceptionally concentrated flavors.
The grapes were crushed into small open top fermenters. After cold-soaking for three days to extract rich color, the must fermented for two weeks to fully develop the mouthfeel and palate. After fermentation, the wine was gently pressed out, settled, and racked into barrels.
Color: Bright ruby.
Aromas: Rich fresh berry aromas, with notes of vanilla.
Palate: Classic Pinot Noir berry flavors framed in a richly structured mouthfeel.
The first vines were planted on what is now Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Estate in 1979, by Jean-Jacques Michel, a native of Switzerland. Michel traveled far and wide across Northern California searching for the perfect place to establish his winery. He immediately recognized the potential of the Dry Creek Valley climate and soils to produce premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes, and the contoured exposures of Wine Creek Canyon in particular, to create very unique flavors, especially in red wines. In 1991, Jacques Pierre Schlumberger joined the winery team, bringing with him a more than 400-year family legacy of winemaking in Alsace, France, at Domaine Viticoles Schlumberger. The Michel-Schlumberger brand was born, and over the years, the reputation of the wines and the beauty of the Estate garnered attention from around the world. In 2011, Schlumberger retired, and the Estate evolved again, with investment and new management committed to taking the wines and the winery to even greater heights. The mission-style architecture of the Estate harkens to Michel-Schlumberger’s European roots, while honoring the influence of the Spanish in early Californian history. Today, the winery’s white stucco walls, terracotta tiled roof, bell tower and grand courtyard offer a spectacular place to enjoy a day in the Wine Country. Our Estate heritage is reflected in our guest experience. The guest experience includes motorized tours through the vineyards, reserve tasting, and an executive chef who creates wine country-inspired dishes to pair with our exquisite wines. We encourage our guests to enjoy the property even further by taking advantage of our onsite luxury guest suite. We invite you to share a bottle of wine on the private terrace or relax around the reflecting pool during your visit.
Kerry Damskey, Winemaker
Kerry Damskey bounds into a room...and within moments knows names and affiliations. He is charismatic, energetic and leaves a lasting imprint on everyone he meets. Kerry personifies joy and lust for life. Kerry came into winemaking only as a result of a conspiratorial plot on the part of his father. (dad) Damskey always secretly wished he himself had found the path to winemaking. While Kerry was busy digging in the dirt, his dad laid the groundwork to indoctrinate young Kerry from the very beginning. As the impressionable young man came of age, (dad) introduced him to good quality wines and plied him with legends of the vine. Kerry fell for it. While in college, he lived in a chicken coop at Matanzas Creek Winery and became involved in the layout of the original vineyard. The conspiracy worked. Like Andre Tchelistcheff before him, Kerry believes wine is made in the vineyard and the winemaker is merely the "midwife" in the artisan process of winemaking. "It's the winemaker's job to articulate a definable style for a wine but you don't create an identity - that must come from the grapes," says Kerry. Today, with more than 32 years of winemaking experience, Kerry is recognized on four continents for his acuity and focus in creating brilliant wines. Through his winemaking consulting practice, Terroirs, he oversees custom winegrowing, winemaking and vineyard acquisition. In addition to California and Washington, Kerry consults for wineries in India, China and Bulgaria. Kerry Damskey holds a B.S. in fermentation sciences from the University of California, Davis, is a graduate of the intensive program for small business at Stanford University School of Business, and is a candidate of the Institute of the Masters of Wine.
[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.