EnRoute 2007 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Les Pommiers

When Dirk Hampson joined Far Niente Winery in 1982 as assistant winemaker, he and owner Gil Nickel made a small quantity of Pinot Noir from some of the vines at Chateau Chevalier, a historic property in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District that Nickel had purchased. Ultimately, they abandoned the project, feeling that it compromised the winery’s original mission to make Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. But when the Far Niente partners bought Graton Vineyard in the Green Valley area of the Russian River Valley in 2005, they revived the concept, founding EnRoute Winery, which is devoted exclusively to the production of boutique Pinot Noir. The winery’s inaugural release, the EnRoute 2007 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Les Pommiers (www.enroutewinery.com, $50) is lavishly textured and redolent of raspberry, pomegranate, rose hip, and cranberry.

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