92 POINTS, Smart Buy - The Pinot Report
90 POINTS - Wine Spectator
The Russian River Valley provides an ideal Pinot growing climate, with foggy morning to moderate temperatures, but plenty of afternoon sun to ensure the grapes ripen. The result is expressive, balanced wines that highlight the elegance of Pinot Noir.
The 2008 Athair Russian River Pinot Noir is ruby garnet in color, with a nose that starts with aromas of cherry candy and gala apple, but slowly darkens with exposure to air, landing upon cola, blueberry, and vanilla. The palate shows a similar contrast between light and dark, with black cherry, cranberry, anise, pepper and cedar. Fruit forward with good acidity, this has plenty of freshness, yet with a deep core of spice and tannin. This wine wonderfully expresses the “terroir” of the Russian River Valley, with bright red fruit dominating but accompanied by earthy undertones. It’s wonderful to taste a wine and know immediately where it comes from.
As a Sonoma based company, we are of course proud hat one of our AVAs, the Russian River Valley, has become widely recognized as a source of some of the finest Pinot Noir in the New World. Yet, with that renown comes the inevitable increase in demand, and soon, price. This has made it difficult to find good RRV Pinot for less than $40, so we are thrilled that we are able to offer this beautiful example at just $28, it’s an unbelievable bargain! With its bracing acidity and medium body, this is a perfect candidate to put in the fridge for half an hour and serve slightly chilled on one of the last warm nights of the summer.
Variety: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Date Harvested: September 2008
Cases Produced: 919
Tom Keith, President
In 1977, Tom Keith discovered the Threshold of Heaven, Sonoma Valley, California. Over the past thirty years, while raising his three children here, he honed his skills as an amateur winemaker. The fruits of his labor and his passion for winemaking led to medals being awarded for all of his varietals, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. After 34 years of operating an International Men's Apparel business, Tom had an "Ah-Ha" moment and made a major life change. He had an opportunity to follow his dreams, which were to direct his energies into the wine industry. It is with this purpose that he and his son-in-law, Jim, began the journey with Pinot Noir as their first release in 2006.
Jim McMahon, Winemaker
Jim McMahon was raised in Sonoma and attended college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, majoring in Biology. Trying to find a career that built upon his major, Jim explored the wine industry. After working his first harvest in 1997 at a Central Coast Winery, it was apparent to him that he had found his niche. He moved home to the Sonoma Valley and started working at Kenwood Winery. It was at Kenwood that Jim received his ‘formal’ training in winemaking. Starting as a lab tech, he soon moved up the ranks to Assistant Winemaker. After almost nine years at Kenwood, Jim decided it was time to move on to a different winery and a different valley, which brought him to Luna Vineyards in Napa. Jim is currently the Winemaker at Luna.
Learn more at www.athairwine.com.