DRNK Pinot Noir, Cavers Cuvée, Russian River Valley

A bottle of 2016 DRNK Pinot Noir, Cavers Cuvée, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

DRNK Pinot Noir features fruit hand selected from four of Russian River Valley’s best vineyards, crafted by a winemaker whose five generations of pedigree in Sonoma have made him somewhat of a legend. So, yeah. In a word, the Cavers Cuvée is good.

The Featured Wine of Episode 93: Pairs With The Best Wines of Summer.

Retail Price: $75.00

Wine Spies Price: $19

You may remember that I featured another DRNK wine three weeks ago in these very pages. (Unless you’re like me, and you don’t remember what you ate for breakfast this morning). It was the DRNK Chardonnay, another stunning Russian River Valley offering from this Sonoma winery. I figured the pinot noir would be of the same high caliber, and I wasn’t disappointed.

DRNK is a small family-run operation started by winemaker Ryan Kunde with his wife Katie and her parents. Together their initials spell DRNK – hence the name. Ryan is a die-hard RRV guy who tends to each block in his vineyards with insane detail. He even uses drones to examine certain blocks for potential canopy problems or variability. 

The 2016 DRNK Pinot Noir Cavers Cuvée is bold, lush, and ripe, just how you like those Russian River pinots. Stacked with layers of fruit – dark cherries, cassis, juicy crushed raspberry, baking spices, a touch of orange peel, and a kiss of forest floor. Immensely drinkable, and a total crowd-pleaser. And with a few years of bottle age on it, this pinot as it its prime.

The 4 vineyards handpicked for this Reserve Cuvée are choice sources of top-notch Russian River Valley fruit right from the heart of the coolest sector within, Green Valley. They include Widdoes, owned and farmed by the famous Dutton clan and heralded by the likes of Andy Smith (of DuMOL), Kirk Venge (of Bacio Divino) and Sean Capiaux (ex- Peter Michael) and Hallberg (Gary Farrell and Etude come to mind) as the two standouts that make up the core. We’re talking the upper echelon of RRV here. 

The Critics Rave For DRNK Pinot:

92 Points – James Suckling 

“A light and bright array of ripe strawberries and a smoothly delivered palate that has immediate appeal, offering bright strawberries and wild cherries with very approachable style. Drink now.” 

DRNK Pinot Noir Tasting & Production Notes

Look: Limpid ruby with a candy apple red glow on the brilliant wide rim 

Smell: Stacked with layers of earth and fruit: dark cherries, cassis, juicy crushed raspberry, baking spices, orange peel

Taste: More of the nose but more intense on the raspberries, pomegranate, cranberry, marzipan, and dried mushrooms 

Finish: Long, bold, lush, and ripe, just how you like those Russian River Pinots. . . 

Pairing: Immensely drinkable, and a total crowd-pleaser that would make a great cut of salmon even greater 

WINEMAKER: Ryan Knude 

VARIETAL: Pinot Noir 

VINTAGE: 2016 

APPELLATION: Green Valley of Russian River Valley 

VINEYARDS: Widdoes (45%), Baron (30%), Perry (17%), and Hallberg (8%) Vineyards 

ALCOHOL: 14.3% 

TOTAL ACIDITY: 5.78 g/L 

PH: 3.64 

BOTTLING :August 4, 2017 

AGING: 11 months 

BARRELS: 30% new French oak 

About the DRNK Winery

Winemaking is in Ryan Kunde’s blood, as he brings a rich legacy to DRNK, with five generations of vineyard stewardship in Sonoma County dating back to the 1880s. Ryan is guided by a philosophy that blends an understanding of the land and tradition with evolving science and data that allows for precision winemaking. 

Located in an idyllic setting, atop the Laguna Ridge in the heart of the Russian River Valley, DRNK Winery is home to a beautiful 300-foot wine cave. One of only four caves in the Russian River Valley, this is where the wine is cellared and private tours and tastings are held. 

Ryan is guided by a philosophy that blends an understanding of the land and tradition with evolving science and data that allows for precision winemaking. He is passionate about discovering new vineyard sites and specific meso-effects within each vineyard block and takes great pride in showcasing the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s vineyards. 

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