Fulcrum “Floodgate Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma.



100% Pinot Noir



  • Good Pinot Noir is hard to find. Actually that’s an understatement. Good Pinot is a NIGHTMARE to find, and when you do find it you end up paying a premium. Sure, you can find Pinot for under $15 retail; but to be absolutely truthful, they generally don’t do the grape justice. I’m not saying that you ALWAYS have to spend upwards of $50 on a bottle (the price of this wine) to gain an insight into what Pinot Noir is capable of, but I’ve found over the years that people form an opinion (oftentimes a negative one) based solely on their experience with “El Cheapo Pinot” brands.

    My advice to those who’ve yet to “really get into” Pinot Noir, is to first try a few premium bottles from the wineries doing it right (as we have here), if you’re looking to form a solid opinion on what the grape should taste like. Then you can start to explore from there.
    I promise you’ll thank me later!

  • David Rossi is the main man, actually the ONLY man, behind Fulcrum wines. His wife Christinna assists in the sales of marketing. And that’s it! You’re talking about a two person team here!
    Needless to say, David Rossi of course lives very close to the vineyards which he sources his grapes from, and even closer to the winery where he’s making his wines…….right?
    WRONG! David and his wife actually live in New Jersey, and regularly make the commute over to California to check on the progress of the grapes, make the wine (out of a custom crush facility) and everything else you can imagine (and some things you can’t) that goes into producing a cult Pinot Noir label. He’s obviously a passionate dude when it comes to his wines….and maybe also slightly insane
  • Each bottle of Fulcrum wine comes carefully wrapped in tissue paper and encased in a paper collar that has a seal depicting an acrobat juggling. Only 1,140 bottles (190 cases) of the Fulcrum Floodgate Pinot 2010 have been produced.
  • The Pinot Noir grape…how do I put this politelyermmmm….is kind of a….gigolo. The grape has been “spreading its seed” around the world, mainly in the Burgundy region of France, for centuries. To illustrate this, there are thought to be around over 1,000 different Pinot Noir clones in the world. By comparison, prudish Cabernet Sauvignon only has 12 identifiable clones. 

    So why are clones so important? Well, different clones produce very slight variations within grape varieties. It’s something which true Pinot lovers get really nerdy about!
    With the Fulcrum Floodgate Vineyard Pinot we’re dealing with clone #667. This particular clone is best suited to cooler climates, in order to keep its sugar and tannin levels in balance. 667 is known for its cranberry and pomegranate fruit flavors, as well as a significant clove and nutmeg spice component.




Sonoma Wine MapPlace

  • The Russian River Valley is easily the most well-known AVA in Sonoma. The cool and quite often fog covered region only started to gain recognition after 1970, when wineries started naming the actual RR appellation on the front label of their bottles.
  • The Russian River Valley has rose to fame in a relatively short period of time, and has become well-known for its premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even some sparkling wines which, at their best, can give some of the bubblies coming out of Champagne a run for their money.
  • The Floodgate Vineyard is located right in the heart of the Russian River Valley’s most revered Pinot Noir sub-appellation known as the “Middle Reach.” It’s within this appellation where the region’s most prestigious vineyards call home, and where the most respected producers source their fruit.
  • In the Burgundy wine region of France, winemakers and grape growers argue that they “produce” Pinot Noir (the main red grape of the region). They simply say Pinot Noir is a “vehicle” for them to express their local geography and the individual characteristics of an individual site, since Pinot is extremely prone to even the slightest variance in terrior.



Skewing towards darker fruit than most people have come to recognize in Pinot. Yes, there’s a little cranberry and raspberry there, but it’s hidden behind dark cherries and currant flavors. Silky smooth and multi-layered, with a fair amount of baking spice. Unfiltered and unfined…just as I like it.
It kind-of seems like a shame to be drinking this wine right now, as I’d love to see what it’s capable of if laid-down for at least 3-5 years. The tannins and acid levels are definitely out in full-force; so it you’re going to pop it open now, make sure you aerate/decant first. These are the kind of wines I like writing about.



Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce since it’s that time of year, but I’d personally love to throw some rosemary-crusted lamb chops at this wine and see what it has to say about it!



$54 (available from select retailers and also FulcrumWines.com).


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