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Schrader Turns to Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Dec 21, 2007 11:15am ET

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.

(To inquire about joining the mailing list for Schrader wines, visit the winery's website at www.schradercellars.com.)

Richard Gangel
San Francisco —  December 21, 2007 2:30pm ET
I look forward to the new Pinot Noir, having been a fan of Schrader's Cabs for years. Are you aware of the wine he came out with last year called Fuccawee? Yes, that's the name. The brochure that he included with the wine, playing on the name, was quite funny.
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  December 21, 2007 7:46pm ET
That's exciting news James. Hopefully I'll get an offering for it. Hey, when will we see your reviews of Schrader's 2005 bottlings? I'm antsy to crack one of my CCS or T6's open but I want to minimize the infanticide if one is more ready to go than the other.
Jeff Perry
San Francisco —  December 23, 2007 3:30am ET
A $65 pinot, from an unproven pinot producer. No Thanks! $45 Swan Trenton Estate, here I come. Or some of the great 05 under-$40 Burgs.

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