Michel-Schlumberger Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012
Benchland Wine Estate by Kerry Damskey
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Michel-Schlumberger 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Benchland Wine Estate by Kerry Damskey
UNIT SIZE: 750.00ml
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
GRAPE: Pinot Noir
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Sonoma Coast
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 14.70%
Probably the best Pinot Noir from Michel Schlumberger and winemaker Kerry Damskey. 2012 is a stunning vintage for Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and this wine from their Estate is a great example of the power and elegance of this picture perfect vintage. This consumer friendly 100% Pinot Noir spent 1 year in French Oak. A dark ruby red hue with flavorful aromas of primarily red fruit like cherries with blueberries and vanilla. Creamy red fruit on the palate, including cherry pie, pomegranate, red plum, blueberry, cranberry, and nutmeg. Suave, smooth and food friendly. Pair with veal chops, grilled salmon, cornish game hens, chicken dishes and striped bass. Best enjoyed now through 2019.
2012 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
100% Pinot Noir
Grown in the western edge of the Sonoma Coast appellation. The cool climate, tempered by ocean breezes and morning fog, creates perfect conditions to allow Pinot Noir grapes to develop very concentrated bright and fresh flavors.
Moderate summer and fall temperatures made for a very long ripening season. During this long “hang time” there was no appreciable rainfall, and the grapes were able to fully develop exceptionally concentrated flavors.
September 17th, 2012
Average brix: 25.8
TA: 0.62 g/100ml
The grapes were crushed into small fermenters. After cold-soaking to extract rich color, the must fermented on the skins for an additional two weeks to fully extract the flavor. After fermentation, the wine was pressed, settled, and racked into barrels. 100% malo-lactic fermentation
The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.
Color: Deep ruby
Aromas: Rich aromas of raspberry and blueberry, with notes of vanilla
Palate: Bright berry flavors, rich mouthfeel, vibrant fruit finish
Bottling Date: November 11, 2013
Cases Produced: 985
Final Technical Info
TA: 0.56 g/100ml
[Information provided by J.H.N]
Winemaker for Dutcher Crossing Winery
Kerry Damskey bounds into a room and within moments, knows the names and affiliations of everyone present. He is charismatic, energetic and leaves a lasting imprint on everyone he meets. Kerry personifies joy and lust for life. A self-described “mountain guy,” he is driven by the alchemy of great wines and a lifelong pursuit to capture the essence of hillside grapes through the artistry of winemaking. Specializing in small-lot wine production, his goal is to maximize the assets and uniqueness of each vineyard. At Dutcher Crossing Winery, he and proprietor Debra Mathy have established relationships with esteemed growers in Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys for the winery’s vineyard designated wines - all made from hillside fruit. “It’s the winemaker’s job to articulate a definable style for a wine, but you don’t create an identity - that must come from the grapes,” said Kerry. A strong advocate of blending, Kerry is advancing a new category in California with his Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah wines. Although the blend has been done for decades in Australia, it is a new concept in California. “The brightness and aromatics of Syrah are the perfect complement to the rich denseness of Cabernet Sauvignon,” said Kerry. “At Dutcher Crossing Winery, our signature wine is a vineyard designated Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah blend, the first of its kind in Dry Creek Valley.”
“In addition to our vineyard designated wines, our Proprietor’s Reserve is a concept where we utilize more of our estate vineyards; where the sum of the individual varieties and vineyards is more interesting and full than any single one. These wines highlight the art of blending,” he explained. The Proprietors Reserve wines are artfully created from grapes grown on Dutcher Crossing estate vines and other carefully chosen valley floor vineyards. These wines are serious yet innovative and approachable. With 30 years of experience as a winemaker, Kerry has definite preferences in addition to his unique blending techniques. “With our reds, everything is fermented in small, open-top tanks and punched down by hand. This gentle process eliminates the need for fining, resulting in elegant, full-bodied wines with soft tannins,” stated Kerry. He also believes in native yeast fermentations for most of his wines. “When wines that are fermented with cultured yeast are compared with wines made with native yeast, they are almost always more interesting.” Like all the greats in their respective fields, Kerry has winemaking and the vine in both his blood and his family roots. Through a series of serendipitous adventures, including a stint of living in a former chicken coop while helping plant the original vineyards at what is now Matanzas Creek Winery, Kerry found himself studying in Davis, with all his enthusiasm and joy for life. Things have blossomed from there into many ventures in vineyards and wineries around the world. With Dutcher Crossing, it is a passion for the region in which Kerry calls home, the unique blending that Debra Mathy fully embraces, and the quest for those perfect mountain vines that intrigue him and keep him lusting for both life and the perfect glass of wine. Kerry Damskey holds a B.S. in fermentation sciences from the University of California, Davis, is a graduate of the intensive program for small business at Stanford University School of Business, and is a candidate of the Institute of the Masters of Wine.
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.