It’s always a pleasure to discover hidden small gems of producers in the wine industry, and even more so to share them with readers. Thanks to the advent of custom crush, virtual and urban wineries, there are many, small passionate artisans springing up. Sonoma County has become a wealth of these, but you must keep your ear and eye to the ground.
Thanks to networking and social media, I was to meet Peter Alig, who works now with Von Holt. When he asked if I’d like sample to review, I agreed, always eager to try a new, small producer.
About Von Holt Wines
This is a micro-winery: a 600-case producer of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Syrah from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River. Founder, San Francisco native Chris Von Holt, is a retired U.S. Secret Service agent. After traveling the world on the protective detail of the Vice President, and sampling local food and wine along the way, he decided to found his own wine brand upon his retirement. His story is quite fascinating, read more here. http://www.vonholtwines.com/The-Von-Holts.
You can watch a short video of Chris’ below. He had me at ‘low alcohol, good minerality & acidity.’
The stories of partner/wife Pamela Miller, the administrative master of Von Holt Wines, and John Fones, Winemaker, are also interesting, classic Sonoma wine siren stories, and ones I can relate to all too well.
A Focus on Cool Climate
They had me at the get go with their focus cool climate Pinot Noir and Syrah. Pinot Noir of course naturally prefers cooler climate, and I am most fond of wines from cooler vineyards in Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Willamette Valley. Russian River can fit this profile as well, depending on the microclimate and the wine grower.
The 2010 and 2011 vintages have certainly helped this aspect. Working with vineyards in cooler climates takes some guts, patience, and stamina, I have deep respect for those growers and vintners that focus here.
Syrah does well in both cool and warm climates, and produces great wines in both, but very distinctive. My personal preference, especially for Syrah unblended with other Rhone varietals, is for the higher acidity, leaner wines that cool climates produce.
This review will be focus the Pinot Noir, look for Syrah in a Tasting Note also this week. Sneak Preview: The 2008 Hoppe-Kelley Syrah from RRV is amazing, and a steal at $20. I have tasted both Syrah’s and Pinots and am very impressed, and plan to put some in my cellar.
Special Reader Incentive – Free Shipping, One Week Only
Von Holt has been nice enough, no strings attached, or kickbacks extended, to offer readers to have shipping included with their order of any of their 4 wines. Use code
at checkout. Expires one week from today, December 5th.
Wine Review – Von Holt 2009 Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley
A blend of Pinot Noir from two vineyards, Suacci and Ketcham.
To The Eye: Ruby, brick red color. Translucent.
On The Nose: Red fruit leaps out of the glass. Cranberry, cherry, and a hint of earth, and green, like tomato vine.
In The Mouth: Bright and lively. The cranberry carries over, and is joined by pomegranate. Excellent acidity that begs for some food, combined with pleasant mouth feel mid palate, and a lingering mouth watering finish. A wonderful Pinot Noir, and proof the Russian River Valley can produce elegant Pinot Noir that isn’t an over ripe fruit bomb, and compete with the likes of Anderson Valley, Willamette, and Sonoma Coast.
Recommendation: 92 points. Highly Recommend. Buy. If you can, purchase one to enjoy now, and 1-2 more to give an extra year to see how it develops in the bottle. With the acidity this wine should age nicely. $32 online. Media Sample (although I intend to re-order.)
Wine Geek Info:
- Harvest DateSeptember 9, 2009; Bottling Date: August 24, 2010
- TA 6.3
- PH 3.6
- Clones are Pommard, 828, 115 and 777
- 11 months in French Oak Barrels (25% new)
- Fermentation: Native primary and maloactic fermentation
- Alcohol %13.7
- 225 cases made