2012 Pinot Noir “Ketcham Estate” vineyard

American Viticultural Area
Russian River Valley
Aged 20 months in 100% French oak, 28% new barrels
Dijon: 666, 777, 115
Total acidity
6.6 g/l
<.05 g/l
Serving temp.
Best from
Best until
Medium-weight dishes like roasted pork loin, fall spiced sweet potatoes, stuffed mushroom caps, grilled plank salmon, or while browsing your favorite cookbooks
Where to buy
Harvest Wine & Spirits
B Town Wine & Spirits
Our bottle price
$ 35
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Our case price
$ 357
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The fruit for this vintage came from the acclaimed “Ketcham Estates” in the Russian River Valley. We have had the pleasure to work with Mark Ketcham for 3 years now, and to be certain; his spot is sweet for Pinot Noir. A beautiful little hidden gem at the base of a natural rise, his estate has spectacular afternoon breezes which keep the grapes cooler and dry, keeping the sugars in check, while letting the fruit hang as long as needed. For this vintage, we used three of his Dijon clones, the 667, 777, and 115. Harvested on September 21, the fruit was perfectly ripe.


Still just this side of Oz, the Russian River also had a spectacular growing season in 2012. With balanced ripening, long days and cool nights, the grapes achieved beautiful balance. Hand harvested at 5 AM, the grapes were put on a refrigerated truck in ½-ton macro bins and sped away to Boulder.


Pinot is a fickle grape; it shows its displeasure when handled roughly or often. It prefers a gentle touch and as little manipulations as possible. We gently destemmed the Pinot after sorting clusters, and did no crushing at all. We left ¼ of the clusters whole to add structure and tannin to the fermenting wines. Pinot is also notoriously fickle in the color category, having few Anthocyanins for hue. We added in a small amount of oak powder, which gives the available anthocyanins extra bonding sites with which to achieve stability. In all French oak, 28% new, the wine spent 19 months. We only racked this wine twice, choosing to let the wine achieve clarity with time. No fining, no filtration of any kind, we are minimalists when it comes to Pinot. 100% Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley.

Tasting Notes

A very juicy nose of Cranberries, Cherries and Cream. The palate is bright and round, with black and bing fruit, orange peel and cranberry. I love the long, full palate, lingering with a spicy, earthy finish. This wine is a nice bridge between those Masculine and Feminine Pinots. It drinks very big and voluptuous, due to the wonderful growing conditions in Sonoma county, but has lots of bright, high tones due to the clonal selection and natural acidity of the harvest, and the wood is beautifully integrated to give support without being overbearing. A very seductive, intriguing wine.