California’s Mendocino County has become a destination for new world pinot noir lovers. Many of the well-made offerings emerging from there come from family owned, boutique wineries making small amounts of wine. Masút Vineyards and Winery, which was founded by third-generation vintners Ben and Jake Fetzer, fits that description. The Fetzer family has a long and distinguished history in Mendocino wine making. They’ve been making Pinot Noir under the Masút Vineyards and Winery name since the 2009 vintage. Having had the opportunity to taste each successive vintage, I’ve been nothing short of impressed each year. Here’s a look at the latest release of their flagship wine.
The Masút Vineyards and Winery 2012 Pinot Noir was produced entirely from fruit sourced from their Estate Vineyards in Mendocino County. This wine blends together three clones; Dijon 115 (73 percent), 777 (18 percent), and 113 (nine percent). The fruit was sorted by hand and whole-berry destemmed. Fermentation took place over 18 days. Barrel-aging followed over the next 10 months in entirely French oak of which 33 percent was new. 2,450 cases of this release were produced with a suggested retail price of $40. Rose petals, dark berry, leather, and mushroom aromas are all part of the gloriously perfumed nose that leads this pinot noir. The palate is layered with Bing cherries, interlaced with strawberry and raspberry characteristics. White pepper and gingerbread spices are present as well and provide an undercurrent to the well-balanced attack of fruit flavors. Earth and a hint of chicory emerge on the finish which has great length, marvelous depth, and impressive persistence. Somewhat firm tannins recede with a bit or air. If you’re drinking it now, decant it for about an hour so that all its marvelous charms can be fully revealed. The Masút Vineyards and Winery 2012 Pinot Noir is a cohesive, expressive, elegant, complex, and gloriously refined expression of Mendocino Pinot Noir.
Do you love Pinot Noir that is made with care and are you excited just thinking about a wine that speaks to both its place of origin and the specific conditions of a particular vintage? If your answer is yes, then this wine and the Masút wines in general are most definitely for you. Four vintages in, their Pinot is setting an impressive standard of consistent excellence. High quality, well-made Pinot Noir is rarely, if ever, cheap. The Masút Vineyards and Winery 2012 Estate Pinot isn’t inexpensive, but it’s a terrific value. Pinot of this quality often sells for quite a bit more. The Fetzer Brothers are four-for-four with their Pinot Noir. It’s impossible for me to recommend this wine and winery strongly enough. The bottom line is that Pinot Noir lovers owe it to themselves to taste this wine. Jump on their mailing list too and make sure you’re amongst the first to hear about their new releases.