A winemaker’s treasure, the Windsor Gardens vineyard flourished in the northern region of the Russian River Valley. Planted to the Martini clone more than thirty years ago and farmed by a committed, responsive grower, the non-irrigated, old vines bore a fine crop, intensely flavored with sumptuous texture. For this wine I selected fruit from vines growing in my favorite location - a small knoll above the vineyard floor.
Grapes this priceless are deserving of the most gentle handling and labor-intensive treatment, an approach I call Méthode à l’Ancienne. I cold soak the grapes, twenty percent of which are whole clusters. The wine ferments in small, open-top tanks, allowing me to punch down the cap and capture the grapes’ deep flavors and dense texture. After pressing, the wine ages for ten months in barrels crafted exclusively by the coopers of Dargaud & Jaegle.
The wine’s fragrance is seductive, an intriguing chorus of black raspberry, cassis and incense cedar. Showing true concentration both in aroma and on the palate, this soft, velvety Pinot Noir is structured with graceful tannins. The lengthy finish carries a note of toast, the oak elevating the impact of the opulent fruit. The 2002 Windsor Gardens has perfect symmetry; its grace and power will develop fully over the coming years. To highlight this stunning wine, serve a smoked duck risotto followed by roasted leg of lamb with fresh mushroom stew.
There will be one last vintage from this noble vineyard. Following harvest 2003, a developer removed these precious vines and began building houses on the site.