Slusser Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
$38 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $34.25)
Alta Orsa is the vision and labor of winemaker Martin Bernal-Hafner, Roger Peng, and Ricardo Garcia. As a small team, they strive to create unique, small-batch wines with a sense of place, a connection to the land, and minimal intervention winemaking techniques.
Martin, a native of Columbia, traveled to the Rhône Valley in 2007 for a winery apprenticeship and immersed himself in terroir-driven winemaking. There he discovered his passion and his lifelong craft. He later traveled to Argentina where he worked for Paul Hobbs in Mendoza, and then at Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol, California. His seven years under Hobbs gave him unparalleled experience in all aspects of wine production and winery management.
In early 2019, Martin and Roger teamed up to create Alta Orsa wines with the goal of crafting elegant and balanced wines reflecting their own values. Their goal is to highlight the unique character of their estate vineyard, as well as other North Coast appellation vineyards. Martin’s philosophy is born from respect for the land – allowing each site to speak for itself, taking a minimalist approach in the cellar, and focusing on the vineyard. As a vigneron, Martin’s goal is to capture the essence of the terroir; as a winemaker, his goal is to craft truly distinctive and unique wines.
The Alta Orsa Pinot Noir from Slusser Vineyard in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley displays aromatic notes of clove, nutmeg, fresh cranberries, fraise-des-bois, and forest floor. The light palate holds a firm frame of fine-grained tannins and perfumed flavors of dark cherry cola and white pepper, through the long complex finish. Alcohol 14.10%
Pinot Noir is exceptionally versatile – pair it with duck, chicken, pork, or mushroom dishes. Or, if you’re a Pinot fan like me, just savor a glass and enjoy the lovely acidity and ripe red fruit flavors.
Todd Wheeler – February 2022