Red, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Santa Maria Valley, WINE

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Pinot Noir is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult varietal to cultivate and vinify. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards, and the thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds result in mostly lightly colored, medium-bodied, low-tannin wines. The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot noir can produce lends to its overall popularity but also to its misunderstanding. In the broadest terms, the wine tends to display aromas reminiscent of black and/or red cherry, raspberry and to a lesser extent currant and many other fine small red and black berry fruits. Traditional Pinot Noir is famous for its savory fleshiness and 'farmyard' aromas, but changing fashions, modern winemaking techniques, and new easier-to-grow clones have favored a lighter, more fruit-prominent, cleaner style.

Like many other red varietals, the character of the wine depends heavily on where the grapes are grown and how they are vinified, and these distinctions are largely reflected in a New World/Old World dichotomy. The Burgundy region in France, Pinot Noir's place of origin, is renowned for producing the most complex, ageworthy, and esoteric versions. These can range from dark, brooding, densely tannic wines to light, ethereally elegant wines of intensely perfumed character. Fruit profiles often differ as well, but the common denominator in all Burgundy Pinot Noir is the essence of the place in which it grows, coined as the term terroir. The finest examples, after years of proper aging, display haunting aromas and flavors that defy description using refrences of common reference points. The grape has also found highly unique expression in the vineyards of Germany, where it's known as Spätburgund. From the steep slopes of the Ahr Valley to the rolling, pastorl hills of the Pfalz, the country is producing wines with notably vibrant fruit and deep savory character, but also a rugged edge in which the stamp of terroir is also evident.

New World styles of Pinot Noir also vary in their specifics, but in general they are built on a bright, expressive fruit profile. California has several regions that excel with the varietal, most famously the Sonoma Coast AVA and its sub-AVA Russian River Valley. The wines typically display exuberant red cherry and strawberry notes along with the occasional savory spice elements. While these are cool climates by New World standards, Pinot Noir still achieves more consistent ripeness and more viscosity and body as a result. The AVAs of Santa Barbara County also produce outstanding versions with more concentrated savory profile, while Mendocino County's wines tend toward the dark-fruited, earthy profile. Oregon's Willamette Valley is perhaps the most old school of the New WOrld profiles, where fruit is less pronounced and an herbacious forest floor component imparts a touch of terroir on the wines. Perhaps the most exciting New World Pinot Noir wines are now coming from New Zealand, where the Central Otago and Martinborough regions are producing wines of dark fruit character with essentially cool-climate structure and texture, an intriguing, if non-traditional, combination.

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91 points Connoisseurs' Guide: Near subliminal notes of dried herbs and flowers sit ever so quietly to the side of ripe cherries and sweet oak in this nicely focused offering's solidly varietal, moderately deep aromas, and, the carefully composed flavors that follow are similarly centered on… ...
CG 91
AM 90
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Three Sticks Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard 2014  (#332278)

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California

91 points Connoisseurs' Guide: Near subliminal notes of dried herbs and flowers sit ever so quietly to the side of ripe cherries and sweet oak in this nicely focused offering's solidly varietal, moderately deep aromas, and, the carefully composed…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
93 points Wine Enthusiast: Vivacious on the nose, with hibiscus flowers, pomegranate, strawberry, rose petal and cola aromas, this bottling from a historic vineyard is both juicy and delicate at the same time. Vibrant flavors of cranberry, pomegranate, hibiscus and even red melon show on the palate,… ...
WE 93
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Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard 2014  (#331994)

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California

93 points Wine Enthusiast: Vivacious on the nose, with hibiscus flowers, pomegranate, strawberry, rose petal and cola aromas, this bottling from a historic vineyard is both juicy and delicate at the same time. Vibrant flavors of cranberry,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$49.95
$65.00
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91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lighter in the glass, this appellation blend shows pomegranate sorbet, cranberry skins, rose petals and wild herbs on the nose. The palate is crisp and tart with raspberry fruit that's lifted by chaparral spice and wild thyme. Alcohol 13.5%. (Dec 2018) ...
WE 91
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Foxen Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley 2016  (#333476)

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California

91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lighter in the glass, this appellation blend shows pomegranate sorbet, cranberry skins, rose petals and wild herbs on the nose. The palate is crisp and tart with raspberry fruit that's lifted by chaparral spice and wild…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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