From Garage To The Top Of Sonoma
It’s hard to believe that Papapietro Perry winery started in a garage in San Francisco. Bruce Perry and Ben Papapietro were hobby winemakers. Along with their wives, they developed a love of Pinot Noir. The only way they could afford to enjoy it regularly was to make it themselves.
Papapietro Perry has been crafting wine for 30 years. Although the digs have changed, they have kept their production small in order to preserve their hands-on winemaking techniques.
The results are impressive. Wine Spectator has named them one of the top 20 Pinot Noir producers in Sonoma County. When I first tasted Papapietro Perry’s Pinot (that’s a tongue twister!) I was bowled over by the elegant flavors.
Winemaking And “Culinary Genius”
A quality bottle of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir deserves to be served with a suitable culinary treat. That’s what I had in mind, at least. The Green Dragon, my wife, was out shopping and must have found some bargains because she was late, late, late.
I grew impatient and started rustling the pots and pans. We had some nice chicken thighs, so I soaked them in milk, rolled them in Panko bread crumbs (along with some Gates poultry seasoning from Kansas City) and lightly grilled them in extra virgin olive oil. I finished them with a drizzle of orange juice and Sourwood honey.
I’m not sure that my Crispy Tuscan Chicken qualifies for the term culinary genius, but Green Dragon was pleased to see the entree had been cooked when she eventually returned. It was time to uncork.
Bring In The Clones
The Russian River Valley is one of Sonoma’s cooler regions and benefits from maritime air and morning fogs. These ideal conditions make Russian River Valley one of the truly great Pinot Noir regions in the world.
Papapietro Perry sources fruit from top growers in the Russian River and Anderson Valleys and Sonoma Coast. Their longstanding agreements allow them to be in the vineyard throughout the year, guiding the growing process. For the 2016 Pinot Noir, the grapes come from the Leras Family Vineyards.
The vineyard has Pommard clones as well as newer Beringer Heritage clones. The subtle differences in the grapes create an elegant wine. Clones are mutations of the mother grape which have slight variations in characteristics such as aroma and flavor. Papapietro Perry separates the different clones during fermentation and aging, giving them more blending options.
Their were 957 cases produced in addition to 16 cases of magnums. Each received 11 months of aging, half in new French oak and the rest in 1-2 year old French oak.
The result is a delightful blend of raspberry and stewed plum flavors wrapped in earthy notes. The acidity keeps it lithe and lively. The finish is smooth and elegant.
This is a wine to savor – and we did. Until the bottle ran out.
We’ve tasted a good deal of Sonoma Pinot. Papapietro Perry has now zoomed to the top of our favorites list. The 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir retails for $60 and is a delicious bargain.