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Sonoma-Cutrer® Introduces Latest Winemaker’s Release


Vintage 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with Woodford Reserve® Barrel Finish

WINDSOR, Calif., April 6, 2020 Sonoma-Cutrer, known for producing world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the esteemed Russian River Valley, today announced the introduction of its Vintage 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with Woodford Reserve® Barrel Finish as part of its acclaimed Winemaker’s Release series.

The Sonoma-Cutrer® Owsley and Vine Hill vineyards in the Russian River Valley provided the Pinot Noir for this vintage. The Owsley vineyard, with its dramatic temperature changes from warm days to cool, foggy nights, created concentrated and complex flavors in the grapes. Vine Hill vineyard, with its more than 400-feet elevation change, allowed each ridge, slope, and valley in the vineyard to contribute unique characteristics to the grapes. Combined with a variety of soils and clones, high-density spacing and rootstocks that limit excessive vine growth, the vineyards provided a beautiful variety of elegant fruit.

Grapes were hand-picked and sorted before a gentle destemming. During the four-day cold soak and the eight to twelve-day fermentation, the wine was punched down by hand in small, open-top fermenters. On completion of fermentation the wine was gently basket pressed and gravity racked into the barrels. This Pinot Noir was aged in a one-third regimen of new, one-year and two-year old French oak. After maturing for 11 months, the final blend was assembled. The blend was then further aged another four months in freshly emptied Woodford Reserve® Bourbon barrels, one of Kentucky’s premiere bourbon distillers.

“The first time we trialed finishing maturation of our Pinot in Woodford Reserve® barrels, I thought we were crazy,” said Mick Schroeter, Sonoma-Cutrer Director of Winemaking. “We did our first trial in 2016 and a second follow-up trial in 2017 before we got the right amount of aging and amazing bourbon notes, which enhanced our V’18 Winemaker’s Release. I have to say, we are thrilled with the final result!”

“This wine really is in a class by itself,” adds Tracy Thornsberry, Senior Brand Manager for Sonoma-Cutrer. “While we are certainly not the first winery to age a red wine in bourbon barrels, we know of no other winery that has done that with 100% Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and used barrels from a distiller with the same caliber as Woodford Reserve®.”

The Winemakers Release is a series of limited-production wines offered annually and consisting of unique expressions that showcase the craftsmanship and innovation of Sonoma-Cutrer. Sonoma-Cutrer’s V’18 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Woodford Reserve® Barrel Finish is available now in select markets and online at SonomaCutrer.com for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Tasting Notes for this Winemaker’s Release

The V’18 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with Woodford Reserve® Barrel Finish has a beautiful, rich ruby-purple hue.  The wine expresses aromas and flavors of lush red and black berry fruit. As you swirl the wine in your glass, you will open up scents of vanilla, baking spices, brown sugar & maple from the Woodford Reserve® barrels mingling with licorice, dark chocolate, black tea with just a hint of earth.  On the palate, you will find the wine to be wonderfully rich and juicy with soft tannins that add to its intensity. Sumptuous black cherry flavors mingle with the balanced acidity to make this deliciously enjoyable and an incredibly unique expression of Pinot Noir.