Cobb 2008 Rice-Spivak & 2006 Emmaline Vineyard Pinot Noirs

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Cobb Pinot Noir Rice-Spivak Vineyard 2008

The Vineyard

This 6-acre vineyard is owned by Russell Rice and his wife, Dr. Helene Spivak. It is a few miles further inland than Cobb Wines’ other vineyards, but still influenced by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The soil is the Goldridge sandy loam found around much of this part of Sebastopol, California. However, extensive volcanic activity in the region’s past has laced the soil with an unusual amount of ash. This unique soil composition, together with a northern exposure, and the distinct varieties of Dijon and Swan pinot noir planted here, produce a characteristically aromatic, complex wine. Rice-Spivak is farmed by Cobb Wines’ longtime vineyard crew, and is the source for the Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir. These distinctive clones are planted in an unusual mix of sandy loam and volcanic ash. 450 cases made.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker’s notes: Aromas and flavors of high-toned fruit including raspberries, Bing and Rainer cherry, stone fruits, bergamot, orange melon; minerals and earth. Crisp, yet creamy mouth-feel; bright acidity on palate.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Josh Raynolds. “Bright red. Sexy aromas of candied red berries, cherry-cola, anise and fresh bay, with a hint of potpourri that gains strength with air. Juicy, penetrating raspberry and cherry flavors show increasing spiciness and weight as the wine opens in the glass. The finish strongly echoes the raspberry note and lingers with impressive clarity and persistence. This is balanced to age.” 92 Points

Harvest Notes

The 2008 growing season for the 2008 wines at our vineyards was another near-perfect event. The early season was mild. The pesky spring drizzle and fog that can reduce a crop – or if severe, eliminate it entirely – was minimal for a change. The coastal locations of our vineyards helped us avoid the hottest weather that arrived just prior to harvest, and the wildfire smoke that threatened all of us on the coast in late summer never reached our vineyards. Three bullets dodged. Not bad for farming

Technical Notes

450 cases produced
alcohol: 13.5%
3.31 pH
17 months in barrel
35% new French oak

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Cobb Pinot Noir Emmeline Vineyard 2006

The Vineyard

Emmaline Vineyard (“-line” rhymes with “vine”) is at the western margin of Sebastopol, California, very much influenced by the Pacific Ocean further to the west. The two Dijon varieties planted there are growing in Goldridge sandy loam, and like our other vineyards, produce about two tons per acre. However, the combination of the pinot noir varieties and the terroir of this small vineyard result in pinot noir wines that are characteristically delicate, beautifully complex, and with relatively low levels of alcohol.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker’s notes: Dark ruby color. Flavors and aromas of cherry-plum, raspberry, citrus, cranberry, and truffle; minerals and traces of clove, chocolate, and hazelnut. Has lovely finesse with clear acidity. A very complex and age-worthy wine.

Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences
Issue 23, July 16, 2009
“Exceptional”
“Faintly earthy notes add depth to cherry, dried roses, and a note of spice. Silky yet still crisp. A subtler wine with only 12.8% alcohol and a 3.3 pH. Limited amounts left of [this] extraordinary wine.”

Harvest Notes

Not only was the fruit quality in 2006 nearly perfect, all components of ripeness and flavor came together at a relatively low sugar level. This resulted in a lower alcohol pinot noir with complexity and finesse.

Technical Notes

166 cases produced. 16 months in barrel. 30% new French oak. 12.8% alcohol.

In 2001, two generations of the Cobb family came together to explore a shared passion for pinot noir with the founding of Cobb Wines. Focused exclusively on crafting single-vineyard, Sonoma Coast pinot noirs, Cobb Wines combines the winegrowing expertise of David Cobb —one of the pioneers of pinot noir viticulture on the far Sonoma Coast—with the winemaking talents of his son, noted pinot noir specialist Ross Cobb.

The original seeds for Cobb Wines were planted in 1989, when David began cultivating pinot noir vines at his sustainably farmed Coastlands Vineyard. A marine ecologist by trade, David spent years studying soils and climatological charts in his search for the ideal place to found his vineyard. His search led him to the ridgetops of the Sonoma Coast, where he believed he would be able to grow grapes perfectly suited to a more complex and graceful style of California pinot noir. On weekend and summer breaks from college, David would be joined in the vineyard by his son Ross, who quickly grew to love the hands-on work of growing wine grapes.

After graduating with a degree in agroecology and sustainable agriculture, Ross embarked on a winemaking career, learning his craft from an array of pinot noir winemakers on two continents. At the same time, Ross and David began making small, homemade lots of non-commercial pinot noir from Coastlands fruit. “We dug a little cellar out under the deck of our house at Coastlands,” says Ross. “We would punch down the wines in little open-top fermentors on the deck and then gravity flow the wine into barrel. Even though it was all very primitive, the wines showed promise, and each year we learned more.”

Though David’s original plan for Coastlands Vineyard was simply to sell grapes to a few artisan vintners, Ross had a different vision for Coastlands’ exceptional fruit. After spending nearly a decade developing his winemaking skills, he approached his parents with the idea of founding Cobb Wines—a goal that would allow David, Diane and Ross to guide every step of the winemaking process, from the planting of the vineyard to the crafting of a sophisticated, cool-climate style of pinot noir. This goal was realized in 2001, when David and Ross crafted 130 cases of Cobb Wines’ inaugural Coastlands Vineyard pinot noir. The wine sold out almost immediately, and continued to do so with each new vintage.

Since then, the Cobb Wines vineyard program has evolved to include four other hand-tended, independently owned vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. Though these vineyards share certain essential Sonoma Coast characteristics, they each have individual soil types, subtly different microclimates, and unique combinations of pinot noir selections. Not only does this diversity distinguish the Cobb Wines portfolio, it also ensures Ross and David access to excellent fruit every vintage.

In the winery, Ross focuses on a style of pinot noir that authentically reflects the terroir of each vineyard, striving for a more complex, aromatic, lower-alcohol expression of the varietal picked at lower Brix and aged with a modest amount of new French oak. By remaining true to this elegant and complex style, Cobb Wines has earned a reputation for crafting benchmark single-vineyard, Sonoma Coast pinot noirs.

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