Yep, the pioneering family of the Sonoma Coast is at it again, this time with Masut Winery & Vineyards. Ben & Jake Fetzer grew up on the vineyard, amongst the vines of Mendocino County. After the family winery was sold in 1992, their father Bobby bought a new property in Redwood Valley and started over. Here, Bobby, Ben & Jake focused on high quality organically grown Pinot Noir, naming it Masut – after the local Pomo Indian name for rich dark earth.
Sadly, Bobby left this world too early. Frankly, I would want to go out like he did – living large, rafting the whitewater. Ben & Jake were determined to carry on the family name, and started the Masut winery label in 2009, using only estate grown grapes.
The 2009 Estate Pinot Noir was aged in 55% new French oak. It is a dark ruby, and tons of earthy goodness on the palate. This is the opposite of a huge meaty Pinot Noir, and is a great example of how the cool climate of Redwood Valley produces subtle, different pinot noirs. Dark berries and forest floor with a bit of coffee and bacon fat show through the medium body. It has a touch more wood than I usually like but the earthiness is a welcome change from a puddle of pinot fruit bombs. There is a sprinkling of nutmeg on top of the black cherry pie that really interested me. After opening up a bit, I liked it more; there is something I just don’t like about Mendocino Pinot Noir though. While there are many examples from Mendocino Ridge’s “Islands in the Sky” AVA that I adore, Redwood Valley is just not pinot country to me. I’ve had some mind blowing cabs from that way, but this is just not my fave.
I think it’s a touch over priced at $40 but if you can find it for $25 I’d definitely try it just to get an example of what the cool, damn climate in California can yield. I was lucky enough to get two bottles, so I think I’ll lay the other one day and see how it develops over the next few months.
Thanks for sending me this great example of Mendocino fruit!