Eight Wine Experts Explore PMCP’s High-Elevation Vineyards, Discover the AVA’s Cabernet Sauvignon-based Wines
Cloverdale, Calif. (June 15, 2015)—Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Winegrowers hosted a full-day immersive tour and tasting panel on Monday, June 8 to introduce the young appellation to local restaurant sommeliers, wine educators and journalists.
“Our aim in hosting this tour is to create awareness of the appellation’s distinctiveness amongst Northern California-based wine industry influencers, taking them into the vineyards where the wines begin and introducing them to the people behind these new wines,” said Barry Hoffner, President of Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Winegrowers Association. “Hosting the tour and tasting together was a vital way for participants to see our special terroir and uniqueness, then be able to identify the special qualities that appear in the resulting wines.”
Participants toured Silverwood Ranch’s Upper Ridge Vineyards (leased to Imagery Estate Winery) and visited various lookout points to see most of the appellation’s vineyards. The highlight was a steep drive to the top of Pine Mountain, elevation 3,000’, for a commanding and impressive panoramic view which included Napa’s Mount Saint Helena, Sonoma’s Geyser Peak, and Mount Konocti–some of the North Coast’s highest mountains–in addition to the town of Cloverdale and the entire Alexander Valley.
Over lunch, the group tasted a selection of wines from Imagery Estate and met with local growers and winemakers, including Joe Benziger, who spoke of how the unique characteristics of the AVA provide Imagery’s wines their balanced qualities of deep fruit, bright acid and soft tannins. Recently, Imagery Estate has garnered attention for its Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak wines, many made from uncommon varieties such as teroldego, lagrein, muscat canelli and more.
The tour ended at Francis Ford Coppola Winery where Master Sommelier Sur Lucero, National Director of Wine Education at Jackson Family Wines, led a formal tasting of six cabernet sauvignon-based wines made from Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak grapes.
Lise Asimont, Director of Grower Relations at Francis Ford Coppola, spoke about the region’s soil and microclimate. She describes Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak as a, “a sunny mountain above the fog,” because the fog line stops at 1,600’ elevation, where the AVA starts. Asimont says, “With every 1000 feet of elevation that we gain, we also gain three to four percent of increased UV intensity, so the vines are super involved in this photo-intensive environment, creating higher-colored wines, greater structure, and more beauty.”
About Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak
Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak is the highest elevation AVA straddling Sonoma and Mendocino counties, officially recognized in November 2011. Of the region’s 310 planted acres, nearly 80 percent are cabernet sauvignon; 16 additional varieties comprise the other 20 percent. The appellation begins at 1,600’ elevation and extends up to 3,000’ elevation, and a distinct diurnal variation causes temperatures to be warmer at night at higher altitude and cooler at the lower altitudes. Temperatures are also affected by marine inversion. Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak winegrowers employ best practices and next practices in sustainable, organic and bio-dynamic farming methods in order to preserve the region’s abundant nature and its unique suitability for producing ultra-premium winegrapes. www.pinemountainava.org