1997 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir
Olivet Lane Vineyard is a small, twenty-five-year-old vineyard located on rolling benchlands in the Russian River Valley. Over the past eight years, while working closely with the vineyard, I have developed enormous respect for the powerful, velvety Pinot Noirs produced from Olivet Lane grapes, vintage after vintage. The most esteemed winemakers of Sonoma County covet this rich, fleshy fruit.
Because extraordinary fruit deserves exceptional care, I used labor intensive winemaking techniques with these grapes. I call my approach Methode it L'Ancienne. Beginning with a high proportion of whole clusters, I cold soaked the grapes prior to fermentation in small, open-top vessels. During fermentation I punched down the cap of grape skins and whole berries by hand. These time-honored, traditional Burgundian practices capture the intense qualities of the fruit and build a solid core of rich texture. I aged the wine for eleven months in French oak, selecting eighty-five percent new barrels.
A classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, this wine meets my expectations with a brilliant garnet hue, overflowing Bing cherry aromas and luscious texture. Deep flavors of berry fruit, chocolate and toasted hazelnut envelop the palate, lingering through an impressive finish.
"While most wine drinkers agree about the virtues of Pinot Noir, few can agree on where the best Pinot Noir is grown in California. Russian River Valley in Sonoma County is one of the top choices. Olivet Lane, a small vineyard on bench land in the Russian River Valley, has supplied some top Pinot Noir grapes to various wineries over the years. Edwards has a long-term relationship with the vineyard owners, and considers grapes from Olivet Lane among the best in Russian River Valley. Gerald Boyd, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 15, 1999