The 2005 vintage was challenging for many Sonoma Coast vineyards as a June rain stunted many of the berries from developing which decreasing the crop. For the Pinotage harvest at Fort Ross it meant yield was only about half a ton an acre. However these small clusters and grapes produced a wine that is very concentrated in flavor and color.
Color was dark ruby with no signs of flocculants or sediments. This wine benefits from time exposed to air. The initial pour was a bit weak on the nose but after a hour in the decanter it really opened up with aromas of black berries and spice. The taste also benefits from from air as the initial biting tannins were replaced with a well balanced mouthfeel and a smooth long finish.
The owners of Fort Ross, Linda and Lester Schwarz came to the US from South Africa over 40 years ago and transplanted their Pinotage bud-wood directly from South Africa instead of buying from other sources already in the US.
Only 100 cases of this wine were made. I’m happy I have one more bottle in the cellar.