...seems to remind me of a grand cru from Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits... ...nose of strawberries, black cherry liqueur, fresh porcini mushrooms and forest floor is followed by a dark, full-bodied, rich and concentrated wine...
Helen Turley and her husband John Wetlaufer are one of Napa Valley’s most famous couples. Both are winemakers and entrepreneurs who between them have consulted or worked for a significant number of the valley’s most prestigious wineries. They founded their own winery, Marcassin, in 1990 in the Russian River Valley where they cultivate fewer than 20 acres planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Marcassin Chardonnays are consistently among the finest produced in California – or anywhere in the world, according to Robert M. Parker J. – and the couple is also now producing highly-rated Pinot Noir. Parker has written that Turley and Wetlaufer “continue to rank at the top of the short list of producers making the world’s most prodigious, complex wines.” The total annual production at Marcassin is fewer than 2,000 cases and the wines are distributed only through the winery’s mailing list.
Sonoma Coast AVA runs from San Pablo Bay in the south to Mendocino County in the north. It includes 7,000 vineyard acres and earned AVA status in 1987. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean means it gets double the rainfall of nearby inland appellations and the ocean gives the appellation a relatively cool climate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can thrive in these conditions, and there are numerous producers making critically acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.