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Pinot Noir comes in many forms, but most bottlings are perfect for aperitif service and dining during the long summer. We will begin with a rosé of Pinot Noir and proceed through California examples with a Burgundian and a Chilean Pinot to follow.
2006 Fleur de California Vin Gris, Carneros
Owner, Francis Mahoney founded the Carneros Creek Winery in 1973 and sold the winery in 2004. Fleur de California is his new venture using fruit from his original Carneros District vineyards. This rosé of Carneros Pinot Noir is a fine expression of a bright, fresh, and flavorful rosé wine. Made in a crisp, dry style designed to accompany food, the wine displays aromas of strawberry and honeysuckle while exhibiting a mouthwatering finish that cleanses the palate.
2006 Aquinas Pinot Noir, Napa
Aquinas Napa Valley is named for Patron Saint Thomas Aquinas which is fitting, considering the wine inside delivers “truth and divinity, reason and revelation, refinement and expression, all at a vow-of-poverty price”, so sayeth the boys over at Don Sebastiani and Sons. The aroma is of cherry, pomegranate and strawberry fruit framed by lightly smoky oak seasoning and earthy nuances. The wine is well-structured, a middleweight Pinot that is tart and possesses fine tannins. The ripe cherry/red berry flavors combine with citrus rind and a bit of sweet spice before finishing very dusty dry like its valley of origin.
2005 Irony Pinot Noir, Monterey County
The grapes for this Monterey Pinot Noir were primarily sourced from the San Bernabe Vineyard where there are seven different blocks of Pinot Noir. Each block features different soils, rootstocks, clones and trellises, which serves to add complexity to the finished wine. It offers a balance of heady fruit notes and savory characteristics. Layers of sweet cherry, fresh raspberries, cola and earthy mushrooms make up the profile in this medium-bodied wine. There are vanilla and mineral notes in the lingering, soft finish.
2005 Bernardus Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vyd, Santa Barbara
While the Marinus Estate near Carmel produces the Bordeaux-style red wine is the centerpiece of owner Ben Pon’s reason d’être, the vineyard here is the truly wonderful Bien Nacido, in Santa Maria Valley. Cooling sea breezes protect the grapes that yield the intense red-fruit aromas and flavors, ideal for Pinot Noir. There are aromas of ripe cherries and red plums in the glass. Notes of spice and pepper, so typical of this vineyard, accent these aromas. On the palate are ripe, full, and intense flavors that mirror the aromas along with toasty oak nuances. The long, velvety structure promises a rewarding future, should you choose to age the bottle for several years.
2004 Vincent Girardin Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Cote de Beaune
Vincent Girardin is part of a winemaking family with roots back to the 17th century. He began his winemaking career in 1982 with only 2 hectares of vines. When his father retired, Vincent took over several additional hectares in Meursault while sourcing other varietal grapes throughout the Cote de Beaune. There is neither filtering nor fining of his wines which serves to capture the maximum expression of fruit and terroir.
2006 Cono Sur Pinot Noir, 20 Barrels, Casablanca Valley, Chile
This project strives to emulate the French method for fine Pinot Noir production. Although most of the method is modern, the grapes are still foot trodden which further enhances the old world character of Cono Sur’s wines. The name refers to the best 20 barrels set aside for this bottling each year. This is a full and rich wine with excellent fruit and elegant spicing from the 100% French Oak.