Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Cloudy Afternoon at Inman Family Wines – Santa Rosa, California

Although there was some heavy over cast while on a return trip to the Bay Area I decided to drop in on a small winery in Santa Rosa, take some pictures, taste some wine, eat my lunch and then get back on the road to home. I was looking for something off the beaten path that I hoped would surprise me with some great Pinot Noir, and as I wandered into the tasting room at Inman Family Wines I was not disappointed.

Inman Family Wines was established in the year 2000 with the planting of their organically farmed Olivet Grange Vineyard and it is the result of the winemaker Kathleen Inman’s love of Pinot Noir and the soil that produces it.  But it all started back in 1998 when Kathleen Inman returned to the United States from England with her family and resettled in California in 1998 to indulge her passion for Pinot Noir. Then n 1999 the Inmans acquired an old, 10.5 acre farm in the Russian River Valley and developed the 7.4 acre Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris organically farmed Olivet Grange Vineyard. In 2002 Kathleen produced her first wine under the Inman Family Wines label. Then in late 2010, the Inman Family Winery at Olivet Grange was opened that is founded on solid sensitive farming techniques which includes organic farming, using only organic fertilizer, and the winery is a solar powered building made primarily of recycled materials. Inman Family Winery wines are produced exclusively with wine grapes from the Russian River Valley and made in an acid-driven, balanced style. I was also pleased to find that they serve their wines in Pinot Noir stemware!

My first tasting 2010 Russian River Pinot Gris. On the nose I picked up Honeysuckle, lemon zest and on the palate it has a dry minerality with a prolonged lemon zest finish. This wine sells for $30 a bottle.

My next pour was the 2010 “Endless Crush” Rosé of Pinot Noir. Light peach in color, on the nose I picked up some faint cranberry (although I warmed the glass in my hand I think the wine may have been too cold), a hint of strawberry, a whiff of watermelon. The nose is confirmed on the palate along with bright acidity and a clean finish. This wine sells for $30 a bottle.

My third tasting was the 2007 OGV Estate Pinot Noir. This is an absolutely fabulous wine as I could pick up its bouquet without even putting the glass up to nose. The perfume of raspberry, cola, cinnamon, and root beer leap out of the glass and on to your palate. This is a wine you could spend hours enjoying just sniffing it from the glass. On the palate the nose is echoed with a really long finish. This wine sells for $56 a bottle and I brought one home.

My next red wine was the 2008 OGV Estate Pinot Noir and I have to say… I wasn’t as impressed as I was with the ’07. The 2008 vintage was a difficult year for many wineries and although I have found some gems over the summer I’ve also come across a lot of “ho hum” wines. This is wine is not as intense but I did manage to pick up on the nose some faint cranberry, red currant and rose petals. This wine also sells for $56 a bottle.

My final wine was the 2008 Thorn Ridge Ranch Pinot Noir and in case you are wondering… yes, I was spitting the wine into a cup. The profile of this wine is sort of a half way between the 2007 and 2008 OGV Estate Pinot Noir in terms of its intensity, concentration and density. The nose and flavor profile is more earthy and dark berry – blackberry and cherry and a hint of dried herbs. This wine also sells for $56 a bottle.

If you are a Pinot Noir fan as Kathleen is, and as I am, then if you are in the Santa Rosa area you’ll want to visit Inman Family Wines.

For more information or to visit:

Inman Family Wines
3900 Piner Road
Santa Rosa, CA. 95401
Phone: 1-707-293-9576
Tasting Room Hours:
Thursday through Monday 11am - 4pm