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TR Elliott Winery - Russian River Valley - Sonoma


92 Points, Pinot Report - 91 Points, Allen Meadow’s Burghound

Ted Elliott takes his thirty years of wine experience and begins the “Queste” for producing the perfect bottle of hand-crafted, small lot Pinot Noir made from prime Russian River Valley grapes.

Theodore R (“Ted”) Elliott is no stranger to the wine business. From establishing a number of world-class wineries to leading specialized wine programs for some of the world’s best producers, Ted Elliott has become a big name in the Sonoma wine world and brings over 30 years of experience to his latest entity, TR Elliott Winery. Founded in 2002, the namesake TR Elliott Winery was formed to produce exclusively Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. With Ted’s previous winemaking experience and familiarity with the area, he knew this region was especially well-suited to the varietal and wanted to create a brand that was representative of the best that Russian River Pinot could be. Located in the heart of Sonoma County, California, this ultraboutique winery sources from premium vineyards with ideal soils and climate to create Pinot Noir of superior quality.

Although Ted has worked with a number of vineyards since his winery’s inception, the last few vintages have been primarily focused on the Hallberg Vineyard, located along the rolling hills that stretch from Forestville to Sebastopol, and the O’Connell Vineyard, found in the Vine Hill region of Russian River Valley and owned by Ted’s good friends, Jan and Dan O’Connell. Each site provides stunning Pinot Noir fruit that, when blended together, beautifully represent what the Russian River Valley is all about.

Ted began his appreciation for wine in the 1960’s while stationed in Hawaii with his Naval Scuba Diving Unit. He took wine classes in his free time at the nearby University and continued his study of wine production and marketing at Stanford University when he returned to the mainland. Ted went on to work at the San Francisco office of Deloitte and Touche and consulted with a number of small wineries. While working with Phil Woodward, founder of the Chalone Wine Group, Ted was inspired to break into the industry himself, and purchased a Sonoma County property just north of San Francisco. With the help of his mentor and support of his family, Ted cofounded Carmenet Winery, a single vineyard that produced Cabernet Sauvignon, and thus was the beginning of Ted’s wine career.

After Carmenet merged into the Chalone Wine Group in 1983, Ted found his way to one of the world’s best known wine producers, Sonoma-Cutrer. Holding every executive position from general manager to executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ted spent 19 years at Sonoma-Cutrer and was indispensable in the day-to-day operations of the winery. After leading Sonoma-Cutrer’s Pinot Noir program for the harvests of 2000 and 2001, Ted was inspired to produce his own Pinots and thus began the development of TR Elliott Winery. Ted produced his first TR Elliott Pinot Noir in 2002, a cuvee from three vineyards (Spear Ranch Vineyard, Saralee’s Vineyard, and Goldridge Vineyard) and the wine was just as brilliant as Ted had hoped for. He released just one Pinot the following vintage (a cuvee of Vine Hill Vineyard and Goldridge Vineyard), and then starting in 2004 debuted his two proprietary names, Queste and Three Plumes - each a blend from two Pinot Noir vineyards in the Russian River Valley appellation. He has continued producing just two Pinots each vintage (one additional Pinot, named Burgonet, was introduced in 2007) to ensure focus on each detail and that he is making the right decisions, for his specialized namesake winery.

As Ted has said, “There are no small decisions. Every choice in the wine business is a long-term decision. From barrel-selection to vineyard planting, you need to be thinking in terms of five, ten, even fifteen years. It’s my job to find a way to execute the big ideas while maintaining our commitment to the smallest details.” With just about 1,000 cases being produced each vintage, TR Elliott Winery is tiny in winery standards, and the wines in turn have become incredibly highly allocated. Outside of a few specialty wine shops and high-end restaurants, TR Elliott Wines are almost impossible to find.

We hope you enjoy this latest achievement from one of Sonoma’s most celebrated veteran winemakers, a Pinot Noir that truly embodies ultra premium Russian River Valley winemaking. Enjoy!



Ted Elliott

Winemaker and winery owner Ted Elliott is actually the Grand Nephew of President Theodore Roosevelt (on his mother’s side), and is no stranger to being a leader and building a life around something he believes in. In Ted’s case, it’s growing and crafting world-class Pinot Noir from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. Aside from his career in the wine industry, Ted is also very active in a number of volunteer programs in the community. Along with Brice Jones, he cofounded the WCC Charitable Foundation, which benefits children in life-threatening circumstances. He has also served as the past Trustee and Chair of the Sonoma County Day School, and on boards and committees of other non-profit organizations as well. Currently, Ted Elliott lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Peggy and enjoys help at the winery from his brother Lauren and niece Elizabeth.

About The Region

Ted Elliott sources his premium Pinot Noir fruit from the Russian River Valley’s Hallberg Vineyard and O’Connell Vineyard. Planted exclusively to Pinot Noir, the Hallberg Vineyard was actually cofounded by Ted Elliott in the late 1990’s with a handful of associates from Sonoma-Cutrer Winery, and it has since become the main fruit source for TR Elliott Wines. The O’Connell Vineyard, located in the Vine Hill region of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, is owned by Jan and Dan O’Connell who are committed to excellence and extremely high standards. Ted Elliott works closely with the couple when selecting vineyard blocks and specific vine rows for his specially crafted Pinot Noir cuvees. Although there is a broad range of wines produced in the Russian River Valley, it is often the cool-climate Pinot Noirs that garner the most attention. This finicky grape achieves greatness in only a handful of places worldwide, and the Russian River is one of those ideal spots.


Chicken stuffed with Prunes & Nuts in Blackberry Sauce


Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
18 cloves of garlic
1 large onion, cut into 12 wedges
1 cup marsala
1 basket blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
2/3 cup pitted chopped prunes
12 boneless chicken thighs
3 Tbs. chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper


Instructions

Put blackberries, water and sugar in a small pot. Heat until sugar dissolves (about 3 min.). Add balsamic and cook over low heat for another 3 minutes. Toss chicken thighs with chopped garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mix nuts and prunes together and stuff chicken legs with mixture. Tie legs with string. Heat the other 1/4 cup olive oil in large saute pan over med. heat. Add garlic cloves and onions. Saute until golden. Add chicken thighs and slowly brown on all sides and cook through. About 15 min. Turn heat on high. Pour marsala over chicken breast, tilt pan until wine catches on fire. Allow to flambe until alcohol is burnt off (about 20 seconds). Pour blackberry sauce over chicken and lightly mix. Place thigh on platter and spoon over sauce. Enjoy!



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