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Spring Release: 2008 Russian River Pinot Noir from Amber Ridge Vineyard by valleyfog

2008 Waits-Mast Family Cellars Amber Ridge Pinot Noir

For our Spring release, Waits-Mast Family Cellars welcomes back an old friend — pinot noir from the Amber Ridge Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. This wine holds a special place in our heart as it was the one that got us hooked into making pinot noir. Our first venture into winemaking was in 2005 when we decided to make one barrel of pinot noir purely for the learning experience — and to drink and share some really good wine that had our name on the label.

Jumping into this whole winemaking thing was a big investment for us at the time and we spent hours tasting different barrel samples from various vineyards before finally arriving on Amber Ridge, an up-and-coming vineyard in Russian River Valley, as our choice. So, we jumped in and got our hands dirty to make this wine, and it ended up being an incredibly nuanced, aromatic and elegant pinot noir.

Suffice it to say, it exceeded our expectations. It also exceeded the expectations of our friends, who loved it so much they wanted to buy cases of the stuff.

This was the defining moment that took Waits-Mast from one barrel to a 200-case production micro-boutique brand that we are today. Okay, not quite the humongous rise to stardom, but a lot of good things have happened to us since we made that first wine – notably lots of other amazing wines that we have made since then.

When we finally got our hands on these grapes again, it was 2008. The 2008 harvest came in a little early on September 3rd and the clusters were small to medium and looked beautiful. The base clones for this wine are 115 and 667, together providing elegance and structure, respectively. To punch up the fruit a bit, we blended in a small percentage of 777 clone just before going into bottle.

The 2008 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir was bottled in September of 2009 after 12 months of barrel-aging in 33% new French oak. The nose pops with strawberry and red cherry and a little baking spice, along with hints of herbs. On the palate is the classic Amber Ridge that we love: sweet cherry, lush fruit, and a smooth, creamy finish. This wine is drinking very well right now and stands on its own by the glass or paired with pan-roasted pork tenderloin with Asian five-spice seasonings.

2008 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir

The 2008 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir is priced at $44/bottle and is now available in our online store. Enjoy!

Technical specifications:

Clones: 115/667/777

Alcohol content: 14.4% by volume

Fruit: 100% whole berry (no stems)

Fermentation: native yeast

Barrel aging: 12 months in French oak, 33% new (Francois Freres, MT)

Bottled: September, 2009

Production: 25 cases

Drink now through 2015

Price: $44/bottle

Release date: April 11, 2010

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