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Inman Family Winery

Owner(s) Kathleen Inman, Simon Inman
Web site www.inmanfamilywines.com
 
Link to this site

The story of Inman Family wines spans two decades and two continents. Kathleen Inman, owner and winemaker at Inman Family Winery, discovered wine in college while taking a wine appreciation class as an art history major at University of California at Santa Barbara. She found that most of the wines came from the Napa Valley where she grew up. While still in college, she took a summer job at Napa Creek Winery, working in the tasting room and in the cellar.

Englishman Simon Inman was visiting Napa Valley when he stepped into Napa Creek Winery’s tasting room and spied Kathleen McGowan. Being a little more discreet than Jack and Miles, he wrote a letter to the owner of Napa Creek Winery asking him to pass along a second letter to the “pretty blond assistant” to whom he had spoken briefly in the tasting room. Kathleen corresponded with Simon Inman for a year, then moved to England on an exchange program. She married Simon and for the next fifteen years lived in England where she worked as a finance executive and her husband as a lawyer.

Over the years in England, the Inmans developed a passion for both New World and Old World Pinot Noir. In 1998 they left their careers and arrived in California. She took winemaking classes at University of California at Davis while they looked for a suitable property to grow grapes. After searching for a year, they discovered a farm for sale located at the junction of Olivet and Piner Roads in the Russian River Valley. The Greeott family had owned the farm since the 1880s and a vineyard and winery had stood on the site until Prohibition. The Inmans acquired the property and named it Olivet Grange Vineyard, after the family’s English country home: The Grange at Elvington. (Note: because of a challenge from Australia’s famous wine label, Grange, the Inmans have had to display OGV instead of Olivet Grange Vineyard on the front label of their wines beginning with the 2005 vintage).

In 2000, 7.2 acres of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris were planted on the 10.45 acre property, using carefully selected rootstocks and clones (114, 115, 667, 777 and 828 for Pinot Noir, 145 for Pinot Gris) appropriate to their Russian River Valley location. From the start, farming of the vineyard has been organic using sustainable methods with the aim of promoting a healthy ecosystem Interestingly, Kathleen uses “Four-Course Compost,” which is obtained from high-end San Francisco restaurants and hotels.

Kathleen produces three excellent Pinot Noirs: an appellation blended Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, the estate Olivet Lane Vineyard (OGV) Pinot Noir, and a Pinot Noir sourced from Thorn Ridge Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. She tends to pick her fruit earlier than most of her neighbors, trying to maintain the natural acidity of the fruit and lower alcohol levels (usually less than 14.0%. The Pinot Gris is among the very best from California, the Rosè is a serious wine vinified as a Rosè, the Chardonnay from purchased grapes is bright and crisp, and a sparkling wine is being introduced in 2011.

All wines are bottled with screw top closures. The wine labels are made from bamboo and all packaging is recyclable. Production is about 2,800 cases per year.

The new winery on the estate is eco-friendly and one of the greenest in the Russian River Valley. The redwood used on the interior of the winery came from the original barn on the site, the building's solar system provides 98% of energy needs, forklifts and appliances are electric, gray water is recycled for use in the vineyard, flooring and counter tops are made from recycled materials, including the tasting bar, which is made from used wine bottles from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tasting is available at the winery Thursday through Sunday including an extended tasting with Kathleen Inman by appointment. The three bedroom farmhouse on the estate property is for rent and is a lovely place to stay while in the Russian River Valley (see Olivet Grange Farmhouse).

Reviewed Wines

2011 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Barrel sample. 50% whole cluster. · Brief sample was very appealing with bright fruity aromatics, concentrated flavors and dusty tannins. Terrific potential. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Inman Family Russian River Valley Chardonnay

12.6% alc., $35. 100% malolactic fermentation. · Light straw color in the glass. Tropical, apple and melon fruits accentuate the underlying citrus core of this crisp wine which finishes with a subtle nutty, lemon peel note. A bit austere for my taste, but well crafted. Good. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., unreleased. 50% whole cluster. · A striking wine displaying power without weight. Refreshingly fruity with flavors of red cherry and berry, but with an equally appealing savory side of herbs and brown spice. Quite approachable with ripe, fine-grain tannins. Finishes bold and long. Whole cluster brings this wine to a whole other level. Exceptional. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Inman Family “Endless Crush” Russian River Valley Rosé

$30. Almost sold out (a new release will be offered in April, 2013, with a new label). · Soft red color in the glass. Delightful aromas of fresh-picked strawberries and melon. Bright and crisp, with light flavors of red berries and a subtle herbal note. Very good. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Inman Family OGV “Endless Crush” Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., pH 3.24, TA 0.75, residual sugar 0.04. $30, screw cap. This is a rosé made intentionally, not a saigneé. Estate fruit. Aged and fermented in stainless steel. First produced in 2004 to commemorate the Inman’s 20th wedding anniversary, it is now produced every other year. · Light pink coral color in the glass. Intense aromas of red berries and blood oranges. Juicy, brisk and discreetly concentrated flavors of strawberries, raspberries and orange zest with a pleasingly refreshing finish. Among the best rosés made in California and highly recommended. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Inman Family Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $35. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Fresh aromas of cherries, strawberries and rhubarb. Nicely spiced mid weight cherry core with a lively cut of acidity and very soft, supple tannins. Not terribly complex, but a very solid, highly drinkable wine that is a very good value. Good (+). Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $63. Native, relatively cool fermentation, 20% whole cluster (first vintage with whole clusters in the fermenters). Aged 19 months with lees stirring in French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Well-endowed with aromatic and flavor interest displaying scents of ripe cherry, raspberry and allspice. Soft on the palate with an elegant array of cherry and cranberry fruits accentuated with subtle herbal and spice notes. Some dusty tannins add textural interest and support. Very good. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Inman Family Thorn Ridge Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $63. Farmed by Ted Klopp and his daughter Lauren Klopp William. Pommard, Swan and 777. Native fermentation, 100% destemmed, aged 19 months in 25% new French oak barrels, crossflow filtered and bottled. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic with intense dark red berry fruits and spice. Veers to the darker red and black fruit spectrum on the palate in a full-bodied style with underlying notes of savory herbs, tar and black tea. Good. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Inman Family “Endless Crush” Nature Sparkling Late Disgorged Russian River Valley Brut Rosé

138 cases, $68. The Inman’s 25th wedding anniversary in 2009 was Kathleen’s impetus to create her first sparkling wine. This Méthode Champenoise version is from the OGV Estate. The wine is a Brut Nature with no sugar added in the final dosage. · Clear coral pink color in the glass. Very dry with appealing aromas and flavors of strawberries and cherries with hints of brioche, roasted huts and yeasty lees. This beauty can hold its own with any fine French Rosé Champagne and is beautifully packaged for celebrations. Exceptional. Reviewed March 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Inman Family Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 64 cases, $30, screw cap. Sourced from neighboring vineyards. Native fermentation, aged in 50% stainless steel and 50% French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light straw color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of lemon meringue, white peaches, straw and subtle oak. Well-composed and layered with flavors of baked green apples, lemon curd, pear, brioche and oak. Slightly creamy with bright acidity. Good (+). Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Inman Family Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $45, screw cap. Release August 2011. A blend of three vineyards. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. An enticing wine driven by black cherry and cola aromas and flavors with subtle undertones of red licorice and vanillin. Medium-weighted with supple tannins, smoothly textured and a juicy finish. A very nice representation of the appellation and a perfect daily drinker. Good (+). Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $56, screw cap. Release August 2011. First OGV with over 14% alc. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure, but attractive aromas of dark red berries and cherries with a hint of spice. Delicious medium-weight core of perfectly ripe dark red stone fruits with a subtle note of graham and rhubarb. A serious, hi-collared, and impeccably balanced wine with intense flavor, yet remaining crisp from bright acidity, and finishing with memorable aromatic persistence. Will continue to improve in the bottle for a few years as the tannins assume more polish and the oak settles in. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.70, $56, screw cap. 100% de-stemmed, 4-day cold soak, native and inoculated fermentation. Aged 17 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Red-fruited nose with aromas of ripe strawberries, spice box, brier and subtle oak. A demure wine with plenty of vim and vigor. Bright, hi-tone flavors of strawberries, cranberries and raspberries with undertones of clove and seasoned oak. Elegant and satiny with a firm tannic backbone ideal for aging. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2006 Inman Family Wines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $45, screw cap. A carefully selected cuvee from both the Olivet Grange Vineyard (52%) and Thorn Road Ranch Vineyard (48%) intended to display the essence of the Russian River Valley flavor profile. · Aromas of toasty Bing cherry lead to flavors of strawberries, cranberries and cherries with a touch of herbs. A straightforward Pinot Noir that is light and pleasant, lacking some mid palate length and ending with noticeable acidity that overshadows the fruit. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Inman Family Thorn Road Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $52, screw cap. From Ted Klopp’s ranch located between Sebastopol and Occidental. Goldridge soil, clones 667, 777, Pommard and Swan. · Moderate purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark berries, BBQ, boot leather and oak. Robust and intense dark fruit flavors of plum and cassis with supple tannins and bright acidity on the finish. A bulldozer wine with fancy rims. A completely different expression of Pinot Noir from the OGV series due to the Pommard and Swan clones and cool site. Good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2006 Inman Family Wines OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $52, screw cap. · Deep and alluring aromas of wild raspberry and cherry with a touch of flower petals and oak spice. A really lovely nose. Plenty of cherry and berry fruit flavor with complimentary earth, spice and wood notes. Very smooth and silky, bright and elegant. Still delicious and smooth the next day from a re-corked previously opened bottle. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Inman Family Wines Thorn Road Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $52. The first release from will vineyard located on a Sebastopol hillside farmed by the Klopp family. A field blend of Pommard, Swan, 667 and 777 clones. · Dreamy perfume of Bing cherries, sandalwood and ripe plum. Rich and full-bodied darker fruits. A little brooding but still retaining respectable elegance with silky tannins and a velvety mouth feel. A well-crafted wine that seduces with its aromatics. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $56, pH 3.80, screw cap. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Ripe dark red berries and cherries are featured on the shy nose. Vivid fruit core with complimentary flavors of blueberries, pomegranate and citrus, wrapped in moderately firm tannins. Silky textured and very charming. Very good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2005 Inman Family OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., screw cap. · Moderately light reddishpurple hue in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, pine and herbs. Darker red fruited in an elegant style with mild tannins and some persistence on the dry finish which leaves an aromatic impression of fresh herbs. A tad shallow on the mid palate and finish. Good (+). Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2005 Inman Family OGV Olivet Grange Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 750 cases, $45, screw cap. 2005 was a long, cool, even growing year. The wine is a blend of all clones grown in the vineyard. Aged 11 months in 35% new French oak. · This wine shows great purity of fruit. It is softer, lighter and “prettier” than the above wine with more red fruits evident, especially red raspberry. There are attractive spice and sandalwood notes. Beautifully balanced and a joy to drink. Reviewed November 20, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Inman Family Olivet Grange Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$45. (unreleased) · Perfumed with floral and cherry notes, enhanced with deft use of oak, this wine is rich, round and sweet. Finesse trumps over fruit heaviness. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 Inman Family Olivet Grange Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., screw cap. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Terrific aromatic presence with scents of Bing cherries, strawberries and baking spices. Delicious essence of red cherries with undertones of savory herbs and tar. Elegant and nicely balanced with some persistence on the finish. The lightest in weight of the wines in this tasting. Typical Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Very good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2004 Inman Family Olivet Grange Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 1,050 cases, $45, screw cap. The 2004 growing year was very warm which is reflected in this wine when tasted side by side with the 2005 vintage. · The aromatics are enchanting with deep, dark Pinot fruits and a sidecar of subtle oak The flavors follow suite, featuring succulent black cherries and a touch of herbs and clove. Tannins are well concealed and the finish is clean and satisfying. Reviewed November 20, 2007 ARTICLE »

2003 Inman Family Olivet Grange Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc.. First release. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, cut grass and dried herbs becoming more fruity over time in the glass. Fairly intense core of black cherry fruit with hints of tea and anise. Smooth on the palate with firm tannins and a crisp, slightly astringent finish. Good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »