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george wine company, vintage IV

Regular readers of the PinotFile will know the story of george wine company. George Levkoff had his wine epiphany when a friend brought a 1991 and 1992 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir to share at dinner. Four years later, he left his job as a bond trader on Wall Street and headed west to Sonoma. He interned at Williams Selyem from 1999 to 2002, learning the winemaking process. He also worked at the smaller Brogan Cellars which was more closely modeled after the type of winery he hoped to have for himself. With grapes from David Hirsch of Sonoma Coast’s Hirsch Vineyard, he released 150 cases of his inaugural Pinot Noirs in 2003 (Block 3A from the Pommard clone and Block 4A from the Mt. Eden clone). The wines immediately caught the attention of top sommeliers at restaurants in Las Vegas and New York and his Pinot Noir has become quite a cult wine. I have been a fan from the beginning, entranced by the elegance and sensuality that his wines exhibit.

Vintage II (2004) consisted of 125 cases of Hirsch Block 3A and Block 4A Pinot Noir and 125 cases of Martinelli Nuptial Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Vintage III (2005) yields were minuscule at Hirsch and george only made tiny amounts of Hirsch Pinot Noir along with the Martinelli Nuptial Vineyard Pinot Noir. The Vintage IV (2006) offering has just come out. With this latest vintage, george has achieved his initial goal of producing 500 cases of Pinot Noir. The releases include the 2006 george Martinelli Nuptial Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (300 cases), 2006 george Leras Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (100 cases - farmed by Nick Leras since 1957) and 2006 george Marta Ella Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (100 cases - this vineyard is adjacent to, and owned by Benovia Winery and is managed by well-respected viticulturist Daniel Roberts). The three Pinot Noirs are sold in either a 6-pack ($300)or 12-pack ($600) mixture of the three wines.

Now george has a thing for small case, but his wines are good with a capital G. He is a one-man show and his wines show his imprint from start to finish. He sorts the grapes by hand, does the punch-downs, crafts the wine (100% new Francois Freres French oak), bottles the wine, hand-numbers each bottle, and personally delivers the wine to many customers.

I have not tasted the 2006 Pinot Noirs, but here is a recent tasting note from last year’s vintage.

2005 george wine company Vintage III Nuptial Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 322 cases, $50. · I went ga-ga over this one. Terrific and alluring aromas of Bing cherry, sandalwood, root beer and toast. Juicy flavors of cherry cola, mocha and spice including cinnamon and sassafras. Although light in color and body, it packs a wallop. Elegant, feminine and balanced beautifully. Pinot Noir all decked out in its finest lingerie. You’ll need a cold shower after drinking this one.

george wine company is located in Healdsburg (the wine is made at Moshin on Westside Road in the Russian River Valley). The wines are sold exclusively to a mailing list at 707- 495-7783. If you can’t snag some, the following restaurants have it: Aureole Restaurant, Charlie Palmer Steak, Delmonico Steakhouse, Le Cirque, Michael Mina Bellagio, Postrio, Spago all in Las Vegas, BLT Steak, Buddakan, Café Boulud, Gotham Bar & Grill, craft, db Bistro moderne, Eleven Madison Park all in New York City, and Campanile, CUT, Cyrus, Dry Creek Kitchen, Jardinere, Madrona Manor, Restaurant Gary Danko, and XYZ, all in California.

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