Matt Armanino
June 14, 2008 | Matt Armanino

The Hunter, The Pointer, The Whitewing & The Ringneck

At Armanino Family Cellars, we are extremely excited to be bottling our first 4 wines over the next few months: The Hunter, The Pointer, The Whitewing and The Ringneck.

Collectively, these wines tell a story that is rooted in family tradition – it is a story about hunting of course, but more than that, it is a story about father and sons spending time together, doing what they love. It is about laughing and learning, spending time in the outdoors, sharing quality time as a family and creating great memories.

Individually, each of these wines tells a unique story of its own. Their story is intimately tied to the variety, vineyard and appellation from which they come. They are expressive, bold and full of character.

The Hunter - 2006 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

The grapes for The Hunter 2006 Cabernet come from a portion of the historic To Kalon Vineyard owned and managed by Andy Beckstoffer. To Kalon, which roughly translates to “the highest form of beauty” in Greek, is routinely recognized as one of the premier vineyards in California. The Wine Enthusiast has named the To Kalon Vineyard one of California’s 5 Best Single Vineyards (the only Cabernet vineyard on the list).

“To Kalon has been the source of some of California’s most famous wines for a century. It is one of the greatest homes of Cabernet Sauvignon in the New World.” - Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast, June 2005.

We expect The Hunter to represent the flagship of our valley floor Cabernet offerings for years to come and hope that you have a chance to enjoy this first offering.

Tasting Notes: The Hunter 2006 Cabernet has a phenomenal combination of power and silkiness. Made 100% from grapes from the To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, The Hunter is dense and opaque with a dark purple color and a deep violet rim. Supple and elegantly styled, with rich flavors built around a core of creamy oak, ripe currant, and black cherry flavors that are intense and complex without being heavy. The nose seduces with heady aromas of black cherry, mocha and dried herbs. Satiny, viscous and weighty in the mouth, the palate lavishes with flavors of cassis, tobacco and bitter cocoa around a classic core of cigar box and spice. Ripe tannins and toasty oak provide a long lasting, memorable finish. The Hunter 2006 Cabernet can be enjoyed now but will continue to improve for the next decade.

The Pointer - 2006 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

We source grapes from Ink Grade vineyard on Howell Mountain for The Pointer. The soil is composed of rich red clay and volcanic ash that stresses the vines and produces powerful small berries rich in flavor and mountain tannins. The Pointer is an assertive mountain Cabernet that impresses from the first sip and lingers on the pallet for a long, long time.

Tasting Notes: The Pointer is a classic Howell Mountain Cabernet marked by seductive aromas of black currant, blackberry and vanilla, with spice and toasty oak enhancing complexity. Medium-full in body, the mid-palate is marked by flavors of ripe black cherry, tea and spice. The silken finish is long and notable for its creaminess, revealing tight, chewy, mountain tannins and intense tobacco, blackberry and cherry flavors making a final statement. This rich and velvety wine may be enjoyed now or cellared for 10 years or more.

The Whitewing - 2007 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir

Very few vineyards have emerged on the Pinot Noir scene with the same splash as the Amber Ridge Vineyard. Amber Ridge’s notoriety has been fueled by an impressive amount of critical acclaim (and huge Wine Spectator scores) given to virtually all of the Pinot Noirs produced from this site. In fact, it is fair to say that this vineyard, which is located in the “upper reach” of the Russian River Valley (located immediately adjacent to the famed Gary Farrell Starr Ridge vineyard), is well on its way to becoming one of the up and coming stars of Sonoma County.

Tasting Notes: The Whitewing 2007 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir is a dark ruby red color and offers a vibrant nose of five spice, dark cherry and violet aromas that give way to sweet, round flavors of dark cherry, raspberry and vanilla. The prototypical Russian River pinot noir offers an impressive balance of luscious fruit and bright acidity that result in a lush, velvety mouth-feel and long lasting finish.

The Ringneck - 2007 La Encantada Pinot Noir

We are extremely excited to be able to make The Ringneck with grapes from this superb vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. La Encantada is organically farmed and home to six different Pinot clones. The vineyard lies on the very western edge of Santa Rita Hills, making it one of the coolest sites in the region. It is planted on a ridge which straddles the Santa Ynez River Valley and is open to the full impact of the cooling afternoon maritime breezes. The resulting grapes produce amazing dark and powerful pinot noirs loaded with rich flavors, earth and spice.

Tasting Notes: This impressive, dark pinot offers aromas of cherry, spice and pleasant earthiness. The entry is powerful and highlighted by deep, dark fruit flavors, forest floor, spice, and tobacco. This complex wine has an Impressive mid palate texture and a slightly rustic, quality that is reminiscent of a fine Burgundy. Although this wine can be enjoyed now with a hearty meal, its impressive balance of acidity, velvety tannins and full throttle flavors will allow it to continue to evolve for years to come.

We are excited to share these wines and their stories with you.



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