Three Inman Pinot Noirs

Three sites, different effects

Three Inman Pinot Noirs

I recently reviewed three 2018 Inman Family Pinot Noir rosés sourced from different estates in the Russian River Valley: Inman’s own OGV vineyard, plus the neighboring Pratt Vine Hill and Pratt Sexton Road.

Here are the three reds winemaker Kathleen Inman produces from that same Pinot fruit. The vintage is 2016. Winemaking was nearly identical across the line: Grapes were harvested at night, de-stemmed, and fermented with wild yeasts. When dry, the wines were basket pressed and moved to barrels, mostly used, for aging. They were bottled filtered but unfined, and closed with screw caps.

As with the rosés, the results are quite different, owning in part to the range of clones and terroirs, and in part to the winemaker’s commitment to site-expressive winemaking.

2016 Inman Family Pinot Noir OGV Estate Russian River Valley

Fruit from Inman’s ten-and-a-half acre home OGV vineyard was fermented in a mix of vessels. The wine was kept cool during fermentation and punched down thrice daily. Once dry, it was moved to French oak barrels (15 percent new) and a single concrete egg. The result is raspberry-garnet with a clear rim. Aromatically this wine is the most tomato-y of the three — not green or hard or unripe, just pleasantly leafy. The fruit skews sharp: ripe raspberry, strawberry, almost rhubarb. The palate is a seamless wash of shiny fruits touched by spice. Extremely light-textured, it rinses clean at the finish.
13.8% abv | $73 (sample); 200 cases made

2016 Inman Family Pinot Noir Pratt Vine Hill Russian River Valley

The vines in Pratt Vine Hill are rooted in sandy, decomposed Goldridge soil, and the Pinot clones include Dijon 667, Mount Eden, Swan, and Martini. The wine aged in French oak, 15 percent new. The color is a punch of raspberry-red. Aromatically this is most floral wine, its ripe red fruit suffused with a sense of lavender-rose. It is less crystalline than the OGV bottling, the acidity somewhat softer, but this is not a reticent wine. The palate delivers a pop of cranberry-cherry but the finish is savory and dark. Curious and fey, it’s quite a bewitching wine.
14.8% abv | $68 (sample); 140 cases made

2016 Inman Family Pinot Noir Sexton Road Ranch Sonoma Coast

Sexton Road Ranch is about nine miles from the Pacific Ocean, and its elevation of 900 feet situates it in the Sonoma Coast appellation. The site is planted to a mix of clones, including Pommard and Dijon 777, 114, and 115. Inman has been working with this fruit since 2013. The grapes fermented in open-top stainless steel tanks, and the wine aged in French oak, 15 percent new. This is the darkest wine of the trio, its deep pink-garnet robe the least transparent. Aromatically, too, it’s dark, offering Pommard’s spice notes and woodsy sweetness. Its palate is rounded and polished, the black cherry fruits feel savory.
13.7% abv | $68 (sample); 180 cases made

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5 replies on “Three Inman Pinot Noirs”
  1. says: David B

    Filtered but not fined is unusual. Mostly see it the other way around. Any insights as to why they chose that path?

    1. I’m not sure, either. Perhaps she filtered so she wouldn’t have to use as much sulfite, but felt the wines did not need fining. I’ll reach out to Kathleen to see if she might weigh in.

  2. I make Pinot noir and Chardonnay using only the wild yeast and bacteria found on the grapes. I have a philosophy to make wines that represent the place they were grown; I don’t add water, acid, enzymes or tannins in the early stages of winemaking and no fining agents in the finishing stages. The ideal (and most economical) would be not to filter, however, I look at it as a necessity because of the lower SO2 and the wild yeasts and bacteria. The risk of rogue agents left in the wine raising their heads months or years after bottling could be fatal for the wine. I often say, albeit a bit risqué, it’s like “safe sex”, you may prefer not to practice it, but the consequences of not doing so in risky situations could be disastrous. 😜
    I use only crossflow filtration which is gentle on the wine and does not use diatomaceous earth which must first be mined and then disposed of after one use into landfill. Crossflow, whether ceramic or microfiber, membranes are used over and over again and therefore fit more comfortably with my personal eco-ethics.

  3. says: David B

    Thanks for the insight Kathleen. It makes perfect sense why you do the filtration.

    I always find it interesting to understand the reasoning behind the actions. It’s crucial to understanding the wines.

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