If there is a red “It” grape, Pinot Noir is, well, it! You will find wine drinkers who are passionate about the grape. Me? Not so much. I like a wine that’s a bit more “dark and brooding.” Pinot always seems too perfect, but thanks to Masút Vineyard and Winery, I have discovered that Pinot can also put forth that tantalizing dark and brooding nature that I love.
Masút Vineyard and Winery was established in 2009 by Ben and Jake Fetzer, sons of Robert Fetzer, one of the most experienced grape growers in Mendocino County, California. Their grandparents, Barney and Kathleen Fetzer moved to the region in the 1950s and established Fetzer Vineyards in the late 1960s. The family produced certified organic wine in the Redwood Valley for over 20 years with the boys growing up among the vines.
|Ben, Robert and Jake Fetzer|
After Brown and Foreman purchased the Fetzer brand in 1991, Robert Fetzer began a new wine chapter for the family. In 1994, he purchased 1,200 acres of coastal mountains and named it Masút Ranch. Pinot Noir was his grape of choice, thanks to the prevalent hillsides, sunny location, and the fast draining soil. Tragically, Robert Fetzer died in a river rafting accident in 2006, but his two sons are carrying on the family legacy.
After petitioning for a new viticultural area to be called Eagle Peak Mendocino County, the brothers converted a barn on the property into a winery, and began winemaking in earnest. The vineyard is closely tended with all pruning, canopy management and harvesting done by hand. Masút Vineyard and Winery was launched in 2009 with its prime focus on certified organic estate grown Pinot Noir. The first release was in 2011.
The flagship wine is the Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir. According to the winemaker’s notes, the grapes were harvested early, hand-sorted and whole-berry destemmed into open top fermenters. After 14 to 18 days of fermentation, the wine was aged for 15 months, on the lees, in French oak.
That’s what you’ll get with the Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014. This wine puts forth a cherry nose with hints of oak. The intense berry, cerise, coke flavors hit mid-mouth leaving traces of anise that gives you pause – pause to consider what could happen if given a bit more time to age. The term masút is an Indian word that means “dark, rich earth,” and you get a suggestion of that alluring earthy flavor with each sip.
Pair this Pinot with lamb, beef, game meats or grilled salmon. (I served it with a venison roast and veggies that played well with the earthy tones of the wine. Nice!) Priced at $45 a bottle, it is available at Masút Vineyard and Winery.