Ernest Pinot Noir

ernest the settler

Ernest Pinor Noir The Settler 2018
Ernest Pinot Noir The Wrangler 2018

Todd Gottula and Erin Brooks founded Ernest Vineyards in 2012 to craft wines of integrity and restraint from Sonoma Coast.  They focus on small vineyards and small-lot wines that offer a sense of place and purpose.  Todd and Erin pride themselves on making Burgundian-style wines with bright acid, low alcohol, and balanced flavor.

Ernest Vineyards works with 17 sites over 24 acres. More than half of these vineyards sit in colder climates; they have learned that lower air temperatures during the growing season create great tension in the wine. Their site-specific wines reflect this diversity of climate and terroir. But the Ernest approach is equally about style as it is about climate and terroir. They love the Burgundian style, so they strive to find sites that enable them to make those types of wines.

Once they find them, they craft wine that is high-acid and low alcohol. They also minimize the influence of oak. These three characteristics work in perfect balance—a much subtler approach to the overtly-ripe style that dominates the wine industry today. Some call this elegance. Ernest prefers the words, balanced and smooth.

Ernest Vineyards crafts Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made by winemaker Kent Humphrey (Eric Kent Wines).  

Located in northern Sonoma County, this winery represents the next phase for crush facilities—a facility for like-minded small producers to have access to the absolute best in production equipment combined with tasting rooms and event space for their guests. Opened in 2017, they call it Grand Cru. 

These are elegant, cool climate, prestige Pinot Noirs that normally sell for $60 plus!     

ernest the settler

Ernest Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Cleary Ranch The Settler  Downslope from his father’s Freestone Hill Vineyard, John Cleary and his family have their own parcel of West Sonoma Coast vineyard land: this 6-acre plot. Curiously, this particular vineyard exhibits a lower-than-expected conversion rate – we see a full point lower from this parcel than we see from fruit picked 100 yards up the hill meaning longer hang times for more flavor with lower alcohol. Fruit from this vineyard exhibits all of the classic notes that make Freestone and West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir famous.

The deep garnet hue of this wine belies its provenance from Dijon clones 777, 667 and 115. The Freestone aromatics begin with rose hips and flesh out to nice broad red fruit notes of Rainier cherries and Santa Rosa plums. Subtle and fresh attack with very fine tannin that supports the rolling, seductive red fruit and finishes on perfectly balanced acid. This wine pulls you into the glass.

The Settler has ruby red with slight opacity and purple hues. Sour cherry, raspberry, and pomegranate interlaced with earthier shiitake and floral undertones on the nose. Lush and juicy on the palate, with elegant, round tannins, assertive acidity and generosity of fruit informing a texture that is lean, subtle, and decadent simultaneously.  


2018 Grand Vent Vineyard The Wrangler Label

Ernest Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap Grand Vent The Wrangler  Wind dictates everything at this 15-acre vineyard in Sonoma County. The parcel sits in the mouth of the Petaluma Gap, where a blend of unique terroir, cool climate, and consistent wind yields long hang times that allow flavors to mature slowly and steadily. The majority of the vineyard is Pinot Noir with clones of Pommard 4, Dijon 113, and 667. In his book, A New California Wine, Jon Bonne describes the vineyard as “perhaps the most challenging vineyards [in all of California].” Considering the intense flavors of the grapes from this location, we’re happy to take on the challenge of working with grapes farmed from here.

Dense coloration hints at the intensity of this bold and enticing Pinot Noir with intriguing sappy aromas that include wild berries, rose hips, and wet earth.  The palate is lush yet savory with balanced acidity and present tannins with notes of dried herbs, forest floor, and a touch of tanned leather.

The Wrangler is full of brambly, rich, and ripe red-cherry aromas with a fresh strawberry edge that really pops. The palate is sappy and carries plenty of brightly lit berry flavor. Nicely defined tannins. 

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