Perhaps not the best-known pinot noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley (there's an awful lot of famous competition, you know), W.E. Bottoms Vineyard has really been making a name for itself over the past few vintages. This tiny, 3.5-acre site is tucked into the shade of the trees near Occidental in Western Sonoma County. It has a clear Russian River bouquet of fresh, creamy cherries underscored by just a hint of cigar box, followed by secondary aromas of mushroom and soft herbs with a little air. More site-specific on the palate, the wine's flavors tend toward forest floor with sour cherry and raspberry notes. With bright acidity knitting all the components together, you'll not want to miss this fresh, lively wine from up-and-comer Ryan Zepaltas. According to Wine Spectator: "Firm and fleshy, with a mix of spice, cola, cherry and berry fruit that's well-focused, elegant and well-proportioned, ending with a mix of cola and rhubarb. Drink now through 2011." (11/07) According to Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Amber-edged red. Spicy redcurrant and cherry aromas are complicated by cured tobacco and minerals. Tangy and sharply focused, offering zesty red fruit flavors and a brisk orange peel quality. Wound-up right now; my sample only loosened up after being open for a day." (May/June '08)
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