Must-Try Wine of Week: 2013 Castalia Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Terry Bering has been the cellar master at J. Rochioli Vineyards since 1990, and began crafting pinot noir with grapes from Rochioli Vineyard in 1992, under his Castalia label. Castalia refers to Apollo’s favorite spring on Mount Parnassus in ancient Greece that bestowed drinkers with the gifts of poetry and inspiration.

This iconic vineyard was one of the first plantings of pinot noir in Sonoma County, dating to 1969. Its pinot noirs are so highly valued that there is a long waiting list to buy these very expensive wines, which are offered by allocation. There are only two wineries that source grapes from Rochioli Vineyards and are permitted to put the Rochioli name on the label: Castalia and Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery.

Year in and year out, Castalia Pinot Noir is one of my favorites. The 2013 version has alluring aromas of fresh Bing cherries, sandalwood, spice, and vanilla. The entry attack of dark cherry fruit is intense, tenaciously grabbing on to the palate, and finishing with remarkable fruit brilliance. Highly enjoyable now, the wine will give you a “pinot high,” and benefits from decanting first, or spending a few years in the cellar.

Serve this quintessential Russian River Valley pinot with anything that flies (duck), swims (salmon), or walks (pork). Any dish with mushrooms, beets, or bacon will elevate the “pinot high.”

The 2013 Castalia Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is available in limited quantities at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa ($55) or directly from the winery in 6 and 12 bottle lots at Castalia Wines.

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