We were very honored the 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was chosen by master sommelier Kevin Vogt as his number one wine of 2020. Vogt, his wife Lynda, and Daniel Pressey operate the acclaimed Napa Valley wine shop Wine Country Connection.
Kanzler’s Russian River Pinot is flawlessly balanced and epitomizes cool-climate, domestic Pinot Noir at the highest level, making it the appropriate choice as my number 1 wine in 2020. Even after tasting around 5,000 wines this year, Kanzler is fresh on my mind. Their team utilizes top-level farming practices, skilled winemaking, and they source from some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in California. At $60, this is one of the finest domestic Pinot Noirs that I’ve tasted.
THE WINERY: The winery’s Estate Vineyard in Sebastapol has well-drained Goldridge soils and a fog blanket from the Pacific that’s ideal for growing Pinot Noir. Their vineyard caught the eye of Kosta Browne, who’s made a single-vineyard Pinot from Kanzler for nearly 20 consecutive vintages. This 2018 is primarily Estate fruit and includes almost 25% fruit from Walker Station Vineyard, a source for Paul Hobbs for years.
WINEMAKING: Kanzler set out to make the best Pinot possible from their Estate. To meet their goal, they exercise everything from meticulous farming to double-hand sorting. They also utilize partial whole-cluster fermentation for added depth. Their winemaking is gentle, precise, and skilled, and the results are simply stunning.
TASTING NOTES: This gorgeous Pinot Noir begins with a deep, rich, concentrated nose including tart candied red fruits, opulent black fruits, fresh sage, delicate rose petals, and gunflint. On the palate, it combines compact, bright fruit featuring focused Burgundy plums, ripe Bing cherries, tart pomegranates, dried currants, and baking spices. Its finish is decadent, very alluring and complex with an incredible intensity that’s powerful, lush and long, along with an incredible balance that gives me goosebumps.