I've been on the lookout for a Californian Pinot Noir; the Masut Winery comes with good heritage having been founded by Ben and Jake Fetzer from the family behind Fetzer Vineyards. In the early 1990s the family purchased this 1200 acre property calling it Masút, a Native American word meaning “dark, rich earth.”
They planted Pinot Noir in this untapped mountainous area but only produced their first vintage in 2011. They have been so successful at creating an original and quality wine that they persuaded the authorities to establish an Eagle Peak appellation or AVA in Mendocino County where they are the sole winery. They have 35 acres of Pinot Noir which straddle the western mountains at the headwaters of the Russian River and the aim is "to produce a Pinot Noir of the highest quality and expression."
A classic cool climate Pinot Noir nose - blueberry, sour cherry, raspberry and some blackberry with hints of classic mushroom/ "forest-floor" aromas. Flavours are just as complex and rich fruits dominate; the finish is long and dry with blueberries and bramble fruits. There is great balance - acidity is fairly high balancing the rich fruits and tannins are fine and well integrated. Though fuller in body than some Burgundies, this Pinot is medium-bodied rather than heavy with a really velvety smooth texture which makes it a very elegant wine.
* N.B. AVAs indicate the origin of a wine; there are however no regulations that need to be followed to use the classification as is the case in France for example.
This is a very food-friendly wine - recommended to drink with roast chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, duck, goose, pheasant, pigeon, veal, calves liver, lamb, pork, mushroom based dishes
"The 2016 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir shows intense red and dark fruits with hints of vanilla and anise, plush texture and spice. Seductive, silky and supple.."
92 points Wine Spectator Jun 2018
"Broad and fleshy, with layers of ripe, juicy cherry, plum and blueberry flavors. An engaging style that showcases zesty fruit in an elegant manner."
Luxe Getaways Mar 2019
"... Masut is a labor of love by the brothers, who do just about everything themselves. They make Pinot Noir the way they like it – a more rich and opulent style – and the 2016 Pinot Noir from their vineyards shows intense aromas with a silky, seductive palate. It’s a wine that demonstrates what can be achieved with Pinot Noir in the new Eagle Peak region."
One of six best cold weather wines Forbes Magazine Feb 2019
"... they’ve made a sumptuous but not plummy Pinot Noir, with 14.5% alcohol, that retains the flavor of the varietal and adds a boost of California power."
88 points, Recommended Decanter Feb 2020
"Buckets of ripe dark fruits with a touch of coffee on the nose. On the palate it is silky & exuberant."