Kistler Vineyards is a small family-owned winery located in the Russian River Valley specializing in Burgundian style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Since its first vintage in 1979, the winery has grown in size to produce 25,000 cases per year. Steve Kistler and Mark Bixler share the winemaking responsibilities, while Mark also acts as chemist and business manager. The winery, completed in 1992, is located on their Vine Hill Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Kistler’s fruit is sourced from various vineyards across Napa and Sonoma counties.
Kistler Pinot Noir is fermented in small open top fermenters and the free run juice is barrel aged and remains in barrel for fourteen to eighteen months until bottling.
The vineyard sources for the wines stretch from western Sonoma county, some five miles from the Pacific to Carneros, just north of San Francisco Bay. The majority of the vineyards are owned and farmed by Kistler Vineyards. The vineyards are meticulously farmed, in order to produce wines of intense focus, and natural balance. Yields average two and a half tons per acre. Both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are crafted utilizing classic Burgundian techniques. The wines are produced solely by native yeasts and the barrels are crafted from French. All of the wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Winery Notes: “Our approach to Pinot Noir is very similar to Chardonnay but we have two clones. For the last 25 years we’ve been working on selecting which of the two we preferred and we finally came to the conclusion that the answer was both. We’ve been planting our newer Pinot Noir Vineyards with a field mix of the two selections of late, giving deference to neither and laying the groundwork for our next generation of Pinot Noirs to be as transparent to site, and their relativity to each other, as are our Chardonnays. Both selections are marked by very low yields, small berries, great concentration and color in the fruit and a propensity to hold their natural acids during ripening.”
The wine is lifted and gracious, with expressive floral notes and bright red berry fruit. The purity of the flavors is quite remarkable. Today, the Sonoma Coast Pinot has developed into a wine of finesse and understatement rather than raciness…very pretty.