From the coldest site, the 2012 Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard reveals a dark ruby color along with lots of spice box, pomegranate, red currants, smoky herbs and forest floor notes. Savory with excellent richness and vibrant acidity, it can be drunk over the next 5-6 years. Part of the Jackson Family empire, Hartford Court is run with incredible enthusiasm and competence by Don Hartford and his winemaker, Jeff Stewart. One of the bright shining stars in California winedom, their Chardonnays are clearly Burgundian, but with sensational purity and ripeness. The Pinot Noirs are among the finest of Northern California, and Hartford Court’s Zinfandels rank alongside such top Zinfandel producers as Turley, Limerick Lane and Carlisle. (RP)
Vivid red. Cherry-cola, iron and sexy oak spices on the fragrant nose, with a minerally nuance building with air. Concentrated but lithe and precise, offering juicy dark berry and cherry compote flavors and a touch of exotic spices. The cola and mineral qualities come back on the finish, which shows excellent clarity and silky tannins. "A grower's dream" is how Don Hartford described the 2012 vintage, "but a winery's nightmare if they weren't ready for the huge crop.If one didn't keep track of how much fruit they were going to get then they didn't have the manpower to process it or enough tanks to hold it," which meant that there was a hugely active market for the selling of excess, high-quality grapes "but not enough wineries equipped to take it."As for his own winery's take on the vintage, he described it as "a great crop, great fruit, beautiful wines," which is a familiar refrain by now.Hartford especially likes the balance of fruit to tannins because it makes the wines "drinkable now for those who want that.But they aren't fragile, so they should age nicely too." (ST)
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