Woodenhead Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2013
While the wild, wooded hills of the Russian River Valley, California, aren’t quite so wild anymore, there is still a chance to catch the heretofore unknown passion-project of a homegrown Pinot Noir maker. Woodenhead is one such example, where they make amazing Pinot in just what might be California’s best terroir for it.
Nikolai Stez, winemaker at Woodenhead, first learned ferementation from his immigrant Russian parents making bread and fruit drinks (there is a reason this place in California is named the Russian River Valley). While parental tutelage helped him through the basics, it was his 17-year stint at ultra-famous and cult winery Williams Selyem working for Burt Williams as assistant winemaker that confirmed his passion for Pinot. If you have any doubt about this wine, know that Williams Selyem Pinots start at $80 and climb to $300 a bottle – and here is the guy who did all the grunt work making those wines for 17 years.
The other half of the Woodenhead party is Zina Bower. Bitten by the wine bug in 1982, Zina founded the tasting room at Hop Kiln, met up with Nik at Williams Selyem and bounced over to Diamond Creek. Not a B grade resume to say the least. When she and Nik decided to become business partners, they founded Woodenhead together, dedicated to making unique lots of Pinot Noir through the hard labor of love.
Today, not only do we have one of their specialty Pinots, we have it in a back vintage – ready to drink now – at an astounding price. Here it is:
To me, Russian River Valley is all about its smooth, textural mouthfeel that revolves around the pure fruit character of raspberries. This wine is nothing short of an exemplar of that terroir expression. Added to the fruit expression of raspberries are black cherries, warm spices, and a touch of toasty new French oak. The palate is rich and densely woven while still being soft and supple. At six years of age, this wine is at its peak expression of its dominant fruit character and is simply scrumptious to enjoy right now.
Even better, we got it at one heck of a deal price. Cheers!