Sonoma Coast, California
Vinous 94 points!
"It's all about the site." That is the main motivator for Thomas Rivers Brown when it comes to his own personal project, Rivers-Marie. Thomas Rivers Brown, today one of California's foremost winemaker/consultants, makes mostly Cabernet-based wines for labels such as Schrader, Outpost and Maybach. Yet, it is his Rivers-Marie label, which he shares with his long-time partner Genevieve Marie Welsh, where Thomas expresses a more delicate and restrained style of winemaking that's inspired by his true love for traditional Burgundy and Barolo.
Rivers-Marie itself was launched in 2002 when Thomas made a tiny amount of wine from the legendary Summa Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast. Today, Rivers-Marie has grown to include not only a blended Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, but also several single-vineyard sites from in and around Occidental including Occidental Ridge, Willow Creek, Silver Eagle, and two separate bottlings from the Summa vineyard which Thomas and Genevieve purchased in 2010. In addition to Pinot, Thomas makes small amounts of Cabernet and Chardonnay.
For his Pinot Noirs, Brown is looking to Burgundy as a model. He tends to pick on the early side when there is good flavor and texture development but before the wines get blowsy and lose focus and site-specificity. He uses native yeasts and a little bit of whole cluster to give complexity. Aging occurs mostly in used barrels. Given this restrained approach, it is not surprising that the wines age beautifully.
River-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is comprised of Manzanita, Riddle and Lancel Creek vineyards plus declassified Summa, Occidental Ridge and Silver Eagle barrels. Aged for 14 months in neutral French oak.
"Once again, the Sonoma Coast Pinot overachieves, in 2018 even more so than normal. Black cherry, plum, spice, leather, licorice and menthol add to a real feeling of gravitas. This serious, dense Pinot is just lights-out, and shows how tremendously appealing the vintage is, even among appellation-level wines."-Vinous, 94 points!
Enjoy Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir with roast pork, grilled salmon, and rich vegetarian dishes.