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2010 Scherrer “Big Brother” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA

$59.99 $49.99

100% pinot noir from two vineyards in the northern Sonoma Coast, one in Annapolis and the other in Bodega.  Big Brother is a study in contrast: ripe but elegant, sturdy but agile, stolid but clever, yin but yang.  Obviously it leads us to wax verbose, but not without purpose; when such contrapuntal descriptors arrive in your head as a result of something in your mouth, that’s your brain trying to make sense of what we inelegantly call extract (best defined as everything in wine that isn’t acid, water, alcohol or sugar).  Fine and complex extract is a function of vine-age and proper farming, and the 2010 Big Brother is lousy with it.  Sure, it’s yummy, but it’s also a fun wine to think about.  146 cases produced.

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If you’ve had time to read through a few of these entries, you may have noticed that Kickshaw values producers with long, multi-generational relationships to the vineyards they farm, and so it will come as no surprise to find out that Fred Scherrer is our kind of guy.  In 1899 his great-grandfather, a Swiss immigrant, bought the land in Alexander Valley that Fred still farms today; his grandfather farmed it too, and planted some zinfandel vines among the fig and plum trees on the hillside.  Those vines are over a hundred years old now (Fred bottled his first wine from them), and for seventy of those Fred’s father Ed tended them and Scherrer Vineyard fruit became some of the most highly-coveted in the valley.  After a short stint at Greenwood Ridge in Mendocino, in 1988 Fred became an assistant winemaker for Tom Dehlinger at his eponymous winery and soon took over the winemaking, guiding it through its heyday in the nineties; he began bottling wine under the Scherrer name in 1991 and left Dehlinger after the 1997 harvest.  If Fred were more of a shameless self-promoter, he and his wife Judi could probably sell what little wine they make to a select clientele for twice as much money, but that just isn’t their way; he’s been accused by friends of working very hard not to sell his wine.  Change comes slowly to the Scherrer winery in Sebastopol, the rewards of which are waiting for you in these bottles.

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