2021 addendum to April 2020 posting: Re-tasted with Gary Luchtel then took it home to make video below. Youthful glow remains. Has the same arousing aromatics noted last year as well as its bright, intense berry/darker citrus and herbal tea flavors. It was a most enjoyable drink. That said, I’ve recalibrated my optimum drinking zone to 2023 and beyond.
April 2020: Grabs you with its sweet, ripe dark red cherry nose, quickly moving to framboise, blood orange and red roses. More of the same in the taste along with coriander, black licorice and a careful touch of French oak (2/3rd new). My top takeaways from this wine were 1. how tasty it already is for a high-quality young Pinot Noir, 2. how much better it will get over the next 1-2 years and 3. the unmistakable taste of blood orange on the back palate. Wine scribes like me often toss around the descriptor of blood orange frivolously, but the blood orange taste is really there in the Fortunati Pinot Noir 2018.
Gary and Ellen Luchtel planted Fortunati Vineyards in the early 2000s and launched the brand a few years later. Most of their wines are estate fruit from their 10+ acres in the Oak Knoll District (everything except Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel). Gary is a self-taught winemaker, graduating from home-winemaking when he started Surh-Luchtel Cellars in the 1990s. Fortunati is 100% Direct to Consumer. If you visit and taste with Gary and/or Ellen, you will undoubtedly walk away with a case or two of their small production wines. Check out all the Fortunati Wines we recommend here.
The name Fortunati is derived from a combination of Ellen’s Italian heritage and Gary’s nick name, Lucky.