Hartford Court Pinot Noir Arrendell Vineyard 2012
Arrendell Vineyard sits in arguably the coldest spot in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley AVA. Each year this old-vine Pinot Noir vineyard, which was planted in 1975, struggles to ripen the one ton/acre crop of old heirloom Pinot Noir selections by Halloween. The cold meso-climate that results from cool air settling in this low-lying vineyard preserves natural acidity in the grapes and helps preserve the purity expression of the unique, ultra complex terroir in this wine. Natural acidity and density of distinct flavors that result from these adverse conditions also heighten the potential for extended aging of Arrendell Vineyard Pinot Noir bottlings.
WA 97: Another prodigious effort is the 2012 Pinot Noir Arrendell Vineyard (nearly 300 cases produced), which comes from a site planted with the Martini clone of Pinot Noir in 1975. According to Don Hartford, this vineyard struggles to produce one ton of fruit per acre. This dense ruby/purple-colored 2012 offers up a big, sweet kiss of blackcurrants, black cherries, camphor, forest floor and violets. Round, opulent, full-bodied and lush with stunning purity and texture as well as a multidimensional personality, this unfined, unfiltered beauty can be enjoyed over the next decade. Part of the Jackson Family empire, Hartford Court is run with incredible enthusiasm and competence by Don Hartford and his winemaker, Jeff Stewart. One of the bright shining stars in California winedom, their Chardonnays are clearly Burgundian, but with sensational purity and ripeness. The Pinot Noirs are among the finest of Northern California, and Hartford Court’s Zinfandels rank alongside such top Zinfandel producers as Turley, Limerick Lane and Carlisle.I tasted six impressive 2013 Chardonnays, which are generally aged for 15 months in 100% French oak, with a range of 33% to 44% new. Bottling is done without fining or filtration. I tasted seven bottled Pinot Noirs from the sensational 2012 vintage. All of them are aged in 100% French oak, with the percentage of new oak ranging from a low of 25% to a high of 40%. Most of these wines spend 16 months in barrel prior to being bottled. (12/2014)