Gold Medal - Long Beach Grand Cru Awards
Willowbrook Cellars was founded in 2001 by winemaker Joe Otos, at the staggeringly young age of 26. Since then Willowbrook has produced a small amount of Pinot Noir from an estate vineyard in the Russian River Valley, and a little more from surrounding areas. While this wine usually sells only to their mailing list and a few select restaurants and retailers, we were lucky enough to snag a small allocation of the 2007 Marin County Pinot, and we are offering it at an unbelievable price. Marin County hasn’t gotten a lot of attention for its vineyards to date, but this will surely change as more vineyards go in and the vines reach maturity. Sitting in between Sonoma County and San Francisco, and will a growing season hugely influenced by cold air and fog from the pacific ocean, this region will no doubt be home to some phenomenal cool-climate pinot noir.
We’ve talked at length about the remarkable 2007 vintage for California Pinot Noir, and wines like this show both why it was so special, and that these wines are starting to enter their prime drinking windows. The 2007 Willowbrook Marin county Pinot Noir is pale garnet in color. The nose jumps out of the glass, with cherry, berry, and vanilla aromas joined by Burgundian aromas of earth and mushroom typical for Pinot grown in a cool site. Bing cherry and raspberry flavors are joined by layers of earth and spice on the palate, with bright acidity carrying this depth of flavor through the finish. This is lovely Pinot Noir, and it showed better than several $40 and $50 Pinot's that we tasted alongside it, making it a nice deal at $34. Of course, when you can get it through WineHeist for just $20, the quality to price ratio on this Pinot is off the charts. For all fans of California Pinot with a slightly lighter hand, this is one to buy by the case and enjoy over the next several years.
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Marin County
Sugar: 24.8 Brix
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.