Beautiful and luxurious in the glass. Aromas of red cherry and espresso bolt out with nary a swirl. Soon after, there is an exquisite moment of flavor when dark and bright cherry flavors mingle with porcini mushroom and milled flowers. The full depth of flavor is never quite reached, as layers of Asian five spice and fruit and espresso and rhubarb all flow together.
The Durell Vineyard is one of the most storied vineyards in Sonoma and is widely considered one of the top four in terms of quality. It ranges for over 400 acres in the western hills in Sonoma Valley; and cuts through three distinct wine regions, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Valley, and Carneros. 400 acres. It is planted mostly to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A little bit of Syrah is still grown, too. Saxon Brown has an exclusive contract to the Hayfield block.
Saxon Brown has been Jeff Gaffner’s major project since 1997. Jeff is a California winemaking legend whose career started in 1981 at Chateau St. Jean. He was part of the team responsible for the 1996 Cinq Cepages, one of the finest wines ever made in California: it was a wine so good it launched nearly everyone’s career into the stratosphere.
On another note, Wine School Alumni Jenny Schultz is the Oenologist for Three Sticks Winery, works almost exclusively with Pinot Noir from the Durell Vineyard.
About Pinot Noir
Pinot is one of the classic varieties of Champagne, but its greatest fame lies in Burgundy. In the right place and under ideal climatic conditions, the Pinot Noir can produce the richest, most velvet-smooth wines in the world. Depending on both climate and ripeness, its varietal flavor can range from cherries to strawberries. Great Pinot Noir is also made in California (notably Russian River and Santa Barbara), Oregon, and Central Otago, New Zealand.
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