Hook & Ladder Vineyards2004 Pinot Noir
(Russian River Valley)
Roughly three years ago, the famed De Loach winery in Russian River Valley, burdened with growth it simply couldn’t manage, accepted a $17 million offer from the French wine company Boisset America. It allowed founder Cecil De Loach, a former fireman, to downsize with a new brand that he called Hook & Ladder. Son Michael De Loach stayed with Boisset for a time, and then rejoined his father.
The key to the success of the De Loaches would be 375 acres of prime vineyard land in the heart of the Russian River Valley off Olivet Road – mature vineyards that represented the heart of the De Loach brand.
This wine is a classic example of what De Loach rarely did as it grew in the 1990s: make a stylish, perfectly balanced, small-production Pinot Noir.
The aroma is marked by stylish red cherry and classic Russian River “clove and thyme” characteristics with berries (like strawberry) and it finishes on the fullness of fruit, but with only modest weight in the mouth. If the name were more recognizable, it would sell for $10 to $20 more!
Reviewed September 12, 2006 by Dan Berger.
Dan Berger has been reviewing wine for 30 years, always seeking character related to varietal type and regional identity. He has never used numbers to rank wine and doesn’t plan to start any time soon. He believes that weight and concentration aren’t the only worthy aspects of wine and is especially smitten by cool-climate and food-friendly wines that offer distinctiveness.