Gold Medal - Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Pinot Noir from the stellar (and just entering its prime drinking window) 2007 vintage? Small, family owned winery scoring awards left and right while flying a little under the radar? Organically grown, minimally processed, vineyard driven wine? An unbelievable price? Yep, sounds like another WineHeist! This 2007 Willowbrook Estate Pinot Noir, from a hilltop vineyard in the Russian River Valley was our first taste from this producer, and we were blown away. Winemaker Joe Otos founded Willowbrook in 2007 when he was just 26 years old, and if this wine is any indication it was a vey wise decision to strike out on his own. Willowbrook is slowly expanding their production to include new bottlings of small lots of wine, and it will be exciting to follow the growth of this up and coming producer.
The 2007 Willowbrook Estate Pinot Noir is a light cranberry red color, with a hint of garnet. The nose is classic Russian River Pinot, with aromas of cherry, raspberry, blueberry, candied cranberry and violets. The palate is light and bright with Bing cherry, briar, and sweet cranberry flavors and a long, mocha finish. All this bright, fresh, lively fruit is perfectly balanced by just enough oak to add structure and length. This is a wonderful example of a Pinot Noir that finds a comfortable middle ground between the tart, lean European style and the candied, full throttle, and some might say, over-ripe, style sometimes found in California Pinot. Here there is a beautiful balance between all of the components in the wine, resulting in a wine with plenty of flavor that will pair with a wide variety of foods. With good California frequently pushing $50 or even $60 and up, at a WineHeist price of just $28 this is a huge bargain. Load up on this one and enjoy over the next 2-3 years!
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Sugar: 0.56 g/L
Fermentation: French Oak
Alcohol %: 14.3
Willowbrook started in 2001 as a dream of winemaker, Joe Otos, then 26 years old. This dream became reality after he teamed up with retired technology executives, John Tracy and Ed Sillari. Sillari and Tracy had recently moved to the wine country and had begun separately to explore opportunities to pursue their passion for wine. Sillari was involved in wine sales and Tracy had acquired a hilltop vineyard in Forestville. Their combined experiences were all the pieces needed to get Willowbrook Cellars started.
During the first few years production was limited to about 500 cases split between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Willowbrook began to increase its production of vineyard designate wines; seeking out interesting small vineyards each with its own microclimate and flavor profile.
Willowbrook Cellars wines may be found in gourmet restaurants and in specialty wine stores, but because of the small case production, most of the sales have been generated by word of mouth.
Learn more at www.willowbrookcellars.com.