Producer

Kosta Browne

Country

UNITED STATES

Region of production

Sonoma County

Appellations

Russian River Valley
Sonoma Coast
Santa Lucia Highlands

Founded

1997

Climate

Mediterranean, influenced by ocean currents and rolling hills, resulting in diverse microclimates and a large diurnal temperature variation

Soil composition

Clay, sand or volcanic, depending on the plot

Vineyard

Grapes are sourced from several hundred hectares; the winery owns a few dozen hectares

Agriculture

Biodynamic and organic

Production Volume

25,000 bottles;
88% reds,
12% whites

Varieties Grown

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Ages of Vines

20 years old, on average

Behind the Wines

Nico Cueva

For Nico Cueva, all roads lead… to wine. He spent his childhood among the vines and taught organic agriculture before branching out into the wine business. He honed his craft by visiting vineyards, ultimately becoming a seasoned winemaker. He has been working for Kosta Browne since 2011.

Dan Kosta and Michael Browne: fans of Pinot Noir

“We were just as drawn to the stories behind these two ex-sommeliers as we were to the wine. Without any formal training, Kosta and Browne followed their passion and palates, learning winemaking through trial and error. And they don’t disappoint—the fruit of their labour earned them Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year for 2011.”
— Pierre-Adrien Fleurant, Director of Galleon
Access the wines of this producer

Sonoma Coast

When people think of California wineries, they see vast, sunlit vineyards... and it's generally true. But this side of the coast has mountains, valleys and fog from the Pacific; temperatures fluctuate between hot and cold, which has a positive effect on the grapes. The resulting wines are remarkably diverse.

One of the region’s flagship vineyards is none other than Gap’s Crown. Kosta Browne has been sourcing their grapes from the property since 2006 (they were used for the 2009 vintage, selected as Wine Spectator’s 2011 Wine of the Year). The vines, planted to encourage even sunlight exposure, also benefit from a late-season fog that allows the grapes to ripen slowly, resulting in more balanced and evolved flavours.

Russian River Valley

While the vineyards in this small appellation may differ one from the other, most of them share a common influence—the cool air from the Pacific Coast that rolls inland along the Russian River. The resulting fog cools down the vines at night, offering them a respite from hot daytime temperatures. This is the heartland of California Pinot Noir.

Santa Lucia Highlands

East of the coast, Santa Lucia Highlands is relatively new—its first vineyards were developed in the 1970s. The vines are generally above an elevation of 300 m, so they can benefit from the ocean breezes and fog coming in from Monterey Bay. Pinot Noir excels on these hillsides, which is what led Kosta Browne to the region.

CIRQ: It’s showtime!

We discovered CIRQ, the estate’s latest label, at the New York Wine Experience in October 2015. The name CIRQ is inspired by the time its founder, Michael Browne, spent in the circus as a child. Browne developed two Pinot Noirs with grapes from two vineyards that he found and cultivated himself. Both sites are west of the Russian River Valley and are above the fog line at an elevation of 230 m. But their personalities set them apart: Treehouse has volcanic soil and receives more sunlight than surrounding areas, while Bootlegger’s Hill, surrounded by redwood and fir trees, produces a more red-fruited wine. We were drawn to Treehouse’s intensity as much as we were to Bootlegger’s elegance.

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