2016 Flowers Sea View Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir

2016 Flowers Sea View Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir

¥14,080 (incl. tax)

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At an elevation of 500 m, the Sea View Ridge Vineyard offers a glorious view of the  Pacific Ocean but a harsh environment for a vineyard. The vines, a mix of Dijon, 777, Pommard, Calera and Swan clones planted in 1998 and farmed biodynamically, struggle in the impoverished soils, strong winds, and pelting winter rains. But out of adversity comes a wine that resonates with the ruggedness of the terroir – featuring bracing acidity, dense berry fruit, spice, and earthy minerality. 2016 was an excellent vintage that began with ample (and needed) winter rains and continued through a warm spring and mild summer of regular foggy cycles leading to even ripening of fruit. This is Pinot with the kind of brilliant acidity, vibrant minerality and hint of salinity only vineyards so close to the ocean can produce. Pour a glass and be patient: layers of nuance and mystery will unfold slowly from the glass. 


Winery Description

One trend in California winemaking has been a push toward growing grapes on increasingly marginal lands ever closer to the Pacific Ocean. The reasoning is simple: cooler temperatures allow grapes to ripen slowly while retaining acidity, which is particularly desirable in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay if they are to achieve Burgundian levels of excellence. But when Walt and Joan Flowers purchased land on a remote ridge in northern Sonoma County just two miles from the Pacific Ocean, they may have pushed the envelope just a little too far. After all, cool temperatures are less than welcome if grapes can’t get ripe. (Just ask the folks in Chablis or Champagne how easy it is to make wine in their respective climates!) Fortunately, it soon became clear that their 350 - 550 meter ridge really was a “warm site in a cool climate” – well above the fog line but cooled by ocean breezes. Moreover, the volatile geology of the Pacific coast has blessed their land with shallow soils teeming with sandstone, schist, greywacke and greenstone. Hence, the long growing season from the maritime climate coupled with the rocky soils that stress the vines results in low yields of intensely flavored grapes that grow in tight bunches of small berries – just perfect for making the kind of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that encouraged Walt and Joan Flowers to leave their home in Ohio to pursue a dream of making wine.  

 Situated upon two ridges in the northern part of the Sonoma Coast AVA, Flowers Vineyard and Winery grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in one of the highest vineyards on the United States. Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard (so named because the Native Americans used to gather there for the summer months) consists of 21 acres of Chardonnay and 8 acres of Pinot Noir that were planted in 1991. The Sea View Ridge Vineyard is somewhat higher in elevation and even closer to the ocean (though still “a warm spot in a cool climate); it was planted to 41 acres of Pinot Noir and a smidgen of Pinot Meunier in 1998. 

 In the vineyards and winery, Flowers employs a range of cutting edge methods. The vineyards are planted with 4 clones of Chardonnay and 11 clones of Pinot Noir and are farmed sustainably and organically without irrigation. The winery utilizes gravity instead of pumps to move wines from tank to barrel. Winemaking employs hand sorting, cold soaking, extended maceration, fermenting with native yeasts, aging in new French oak, lees aging and lees stirring (in the case of Chardonnay) and whole-cluster fermentation (for some Pinot Noirs). The results of such painstaking attention to detail are critically acclaimed wines that are aromatic and flavorful, complex and provocative and that have enough structure, acid and minerality to capture the essence of the extreme coastal terroir. 

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Sonoma Coast
Winery Flowers
Vintage 2016
Color Red
Varietal(s) Pinot Noir
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 30
Case Size 27.0 x 18.5 x 30.5
Alcohol 13.5%
Product Code FL16SRP

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

94 points – Jeb Dunnuck; 93 points – Wine Spectator.

Aromas of bing cherry and cranberry are accented with hints of bay leaf and cinnamon. The palate is rich, medium to full-bodied, lively and energetic with red plums, currant jelly, and earth notes, structured with silky tannins and bright acidity and a touch of coastal salinity emerging on the finish.  



Handpicked fruit was 95% destemmed (5% left as whole clusters) and fermented on native yeasts. It aged for 15 months in 25% new French oak. 

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