91 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.
It's becoming a yearly tradition for us at to receive that latest release of Athair's Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and with 2009 being widely regarded as another phenomenal vintage for Sonoma Pinot Noir on the heels of the fantastic 2007 vintage, it is a great time to be drinking California Pinot! This latest release from Athair represents another success for this new producer, even being recognized in Wine Spectator with a 91-point score.
The 2009 Athair RRV Pinot Noir is dark ruby in color. The nose is lifted and floral, with classic Russian River black cherry aromas and a hint of gingerbread. The palate is fleshy and full, with blackberry, cherry, and spice flavors opening to reveal a subtle earth and forest floor notes. Full bodied and lush, this is a perfect Pinot for fans of bigger style pinot that maintains balance and grace. This would be perfect with a range of food pairings, especially with earthy dishes featuring mushrooms.
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.