I’ve wanted to do a Rivers Marie Summa OV vertical for sometime and we finally got the opportunity last night. Thomas Rivers Brown and Will Segui of Rivers Marie made the trek to Sacramento last night with 9 vintages of Summa Old Vines and the whole 2010 lineup which was released just a few days ago. The event was held at the historic Elks Tower Penthouse in downtown Sacramento, the perfect venue for such a grand event. I would like to personally thank Thomas for making the trek and supplying all the wines for this event. Also would like to thanks Michael Chandler of Rail Bridge Cellars for organizing the venue and food.
We started with the whole 2010 lineup which was just released this past Tuesday. The chardonnay seems to get better every year for my tastes. Half new oak, full malolactic and all natural acid. Full rich mouth presence with lemon custard, yellow citrus fruit and fresh bracing acidity. After the chard was the famous qpr year in and year out, Sonoma coast. Definitely on the riper side when compared to the other bottlings but such a nice pinot for sub $30. I can’t think of another domestic pinot that delivers so much for its price point. After these we then went to the Summa, Gioia and Occidental. I was excited to try the summa returning in 2010. The lightest of the three in this flight with the classic citrus peel orange and red fruit. The Gioia had a lovely middle palate richness with a fleshy texture and dense black cherry fruit. The Occidental has the classic blue pinot fruit, darkest of the bunch, the most concentrated and stacked with pinot sap.
We then moved onto the main event…
Thomas mentioned that he did this Summa OV vertical a week ago out of 750ml. He thought that he didn’t give the wines last week a long enough decant so he made sure that the mags we were drinking tonight saw a good amount of air time.
Flight #1 (02/03/04)
The 2002 Summa OV seemed to have the most bricking on the edges when compared to the others in this flight. Warm nose of earth and dark cherry. Palate has a decent amount of ripeness and freshness with pinot sap. Ready to go and drinking nicely now, doesn’t really see it getting any better. The 03 was a warm vintage overall and had some big heat spikes towards the end which didn’t hit the pinot as most of it was in by then. The lowest alcohol of this flight 13.5%. Gorgeous nose of red fruit, strawberry with some piney and citrus peel. Palate is what stole the show for me. Crazy delicate and even with great concentration and density. Seems almost weightless in the mouth with flavors that flow front to back. Lovely, silky and fresh, drinking great now. The 04 was a head scratcher for me and seems to need more time. Darkest of the flight, nose was a bit closed at first but it started to give off maybe a bit of reduction. More of the black and blue fruit profile with some tar like notes. Palate was pretty locked up but gave off a bit of the darker fruits and maybe some creosote. Thomas mentioned that he thinks it needs more time and I would have to agree.
Flight #2 (05/06/07)
I have never had the 2005 and was very excited to try it. There was rain at flowering which led to a super small crop this year, somewhere around 200 pounds per acre. Only a quarter barrel was made, 50 or so bottles released to the mailing list. The magnums are even more rare, only a handful bottled with none released to the list. The 2005 was my favorite of the tasting and the best Rivers Marie pinot I have ever had. Nose is absolutely captivating silky, soft and gentle red fruits with a wonderful sappiness. Nose seems to have layers upon layers of red fruits, gentle oak toast, pine resin and black tea. It continues in the mouth with perfect balance and even more layers of gorgeous bottle sweet red fruits, rolling tobacco and warm woody elements. Glossy texture with a nice acidic backbone, integrated tannins, weightless sensation but stacked with some good fruit, richness and structure. This is really something special; I plan on holding my lone bottle a bit more. The 2006 seemed similar in character to the 2004. Deep and dark on the nose which seemed a bit closed at first. Fruit trended more towards the black side of the spectrum with some noticeable oak on the nose. Dense and dark on the palate which seems quiet and not giving off much, might need some more time like the 2004. I was also excited to try the 2007 as I haven’t had it since release. The whole 2007 lineup IMO, still needs time as it is the most structured and concentrated vintage out of the bunch at this stage. The nose is loaded with raw and powerful red fruits, baking spice with the signature summa citrus note. Dense, layered and ripe palate with great structure, acid and fruit warrant some serious ageing with this wine. This is definitely a few years off, needs time but tons of promise here, should be fun to watch over the years.
Flight #3 (08/09/10)
As we got into the more recent vintages, the wines gained some similarity. The 2008 had the dark and cool nose. Black and red fruits, seems rich and weighty on the nose with some wood and spice. I really like the cool almost menthol blue fruit profile mixed with some red that is going on here. A lovely rich and silky mouthfeel with some light tannins that are nicely integrated. Sappy texture continues towards the back, nice concentration. I had the 2009 out of magnum a year or so ago, it was fun to see where this was going. Nose is full of the tart cranberry red fruits with some pretty good levels of ripeness and tartness. Palate isn’t as full and rich as the 2008, not as weighty but still has loads of fresh acid tart red fruits, bit of oak toast, pinot spice and some sappiness. I really like the weight and fleshiness of the 2009, great stuff. We capped off the evening with the 2010 which wasn’t served from magnum, two 750ml bottles decanted together and then poured back in the bottle. Soft delicate nose that seems to gain in the glass. Dark red fruit profile that was a bit shy for most of the night. Lovely mouthfeel with a more pronounced acid streak and tannin structure with the fruit hiding, this is clearly going to need some time.
I really like all of the Rivers Marie wines and it was fun to see how their flagship Summa Old Vines has been ageing through the years. All the wines have natural acidity and do not seem “pillowy” or “best drunk within a year of release”
The spectacular views of Sacramento from the 14th floor penthouse suite
The crew, Glenn, Cris, me, Will & Rick