When I was first introduced to Knez Winery, I knew they would be something special. It was no special occasion, or anything memoriable, it was just a bottle of fantastic pinot noir on the table one night at dinner. Sometimes, it’s the little things. I re-introduced to the label at a weekly tasting event at Arlequin Wine Merchant, where I had the chance to talk with the winemaker while I tasted the ones. Once again, I loved not just the Pinot Noir, but the Chardonnay as well. Fast forward to earlier this Spring, when I was meandering through Anderson Valley with my friend, we were working our way back south after a delightful day at Roederer, I stopped by The Madrones in Philo, a small collection of tasting rooms. Here, I was able to taste through the then current releases of the Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir, as well as a historical look back at two other vintages. Knez focuses on hand crafted, single vineyard wines influenced by the extreme climate of Anderson Valley, and the combination of marine influences, damn, cold, fog, and the soils of the area. With particular attention paid in the vineyard, winemaker Anthony Filiberti practices a more hands off winemaking approach, preferring to do as little intervention as possible. This old world philosophy encourages a sense of place to be developed in the wine, carrying the terroir over from vineyard to bottle. The Cerise Vineyard, where the Knez Pinot Noir is born, was planted in 1995 to ten clones. This mixture of clones, in 15 blocks, allows for careful selection and characteristics to be hand picked for each wine. 2009 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir A brilliant cranberry color with a mountain strawberry nose, and bold, bright red fruit. Strong acids with piquant notes of cranberry melt in to lightly scented vanilla flowers. As the palate opens, Bing cherry, ripe raspberries and rose petals appear. The mid palate reveals crushed minerals, cedar, and cardamon, cinnamon and anise, with a hint of violets. 2010 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir Dark and brooding, with a kiss of brown sugar, the 2010 is a deep garnet color with forest floor aromas and earthy, cedar notes. A touch of mint and wild berries blend with black cherry, deep raspberry and bergamot while dried lavender and white pepper dot the finish. Currently the 2013 is $34 in the tasting room. As these are library wines, I am unable to provide current pricing. Please contact the winery for more details. If you find yourself in Philo, be sure to stop in an taste the terroir at Knez!