1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast


Marcassin’s 1997 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is without a doubt one of the most compelling wines I tasted in 2020. At 23 years of age, it has aged exquisitely. Sweet, perfumed and riveting in its beauty, the 1997 is utterly captivating from the moment it is first opened. A whole range of sweet red/purplish berry fruit, spice and floral notes emerges effortlessly. The purity of the flavors is just mesmerizing. 

The Marcassin Estate is located in what is now the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, a northern part of the Sonoma Coast that includes Flowers, Hirsch, Failla, Wayfarer, Peter Michael and Morlet Family Vineyards. From what I have been able to piece together, the 1997 was made from the very first plantings on the property. The first Pinot went into the ground in 1995, using very tight meter by meter spacing that was subsequently modified to a more practical one meter between vines and two meters between rows. 

The 1997 Sonoma Coast Pinot is a captivating wine by any measure. That it was made from third leaf fruit is even more remarkable. Then again, there are cases where vineyards give exceptional results from the very beginning. Another example is the 1978 Conterno Monfortino, which was made from vines planted in 1974. Readers who can find the 1997 Marcassin should not hesitate, as it is a historic and early example of what is possible on the Sonoma Coast. Moreover, it is an utterly dazzling wine that satisfies both the intellectual and hedonistic senses. 97/Drink 2020-2025.