One of Napa Valley's Cabernet icons, Fred Schrader, formerly of Colgin-Schrader Cellars and now the proprietor of Schrader winery, is venturing into the Pinot Noir business. His Cabernets have risen to the top in Napa Valley, and he and his winemaker, Thomas Brown, think 2006 will be the best vintage yet for their To-Kalon Cabernets. Two 2006 barrel samples he poured earlier this week were stunning. But now he’s on to Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
I tried a barrel sample of his 2006 Aston Estate Pinot for the second time this year and it’s a beauty, both rich and savory, polished and complex, with a broad expansive finish. It’s being released next year for $65.
Aston Estate is on the true Sonoma Coast, a 15-acre vineyard planted in 2001 near the hamlet of Annapolis, atop an inland ridge from Sea Ranch. Schrader’s partners in this new venture include his winemaker, Thomas Brown, and Chuck Sweeney of Vine Cliff. The vineyard is new but the fruit is impressive—this is a Pinot to watch.
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