2012, Pinot Noir, California, United States, 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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96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine has closed down significantly since I last tasted it a few months back, which is probably good news for its long-term potential. Deep veins of underlying minerality give the Cuvée Catherine its structure,… ...
AG 96
WS 93
RP 93
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Occidental Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvee Catherine 2012  (#332202)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

[ 96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine has closed down significantly since I last tasted it a few months back, which is probably good news for its long-term potential. Deep veins of underlying minerality give the Cuvée Catherine its structure, power and energy. At the same time, the 2012 is not a huge or obvious wine, at least not today. The flavor profile is distinctly red-toned, with hints of iron and mint that add nuance. Drink: 2016-2024. (Jan 2015) ] 96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine has closed down significantly since I last tasted it a few months back, which is probably good news for its long-term potential. Deep veins of underlying…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
AG 96
WS 93
RP 93
98 points Robert Parker: As good as the Cuvée Catherine is, there is another Occidental Pinot that is profound. There are 2,000 cases of the 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth. This wine reminded me of my earlier days in Burgundy tasting the Grand Cru Musigny. Incredible floral notes,… ...
RP 98
AG 97
Quick View Wishlist
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Occidental Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth 2012  (#322023)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

[ 98 points Robert Parker: As good as the Cuvée Catherine is, there is another Occidental Pinot that is profound. There are 2,000 cases of the 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth. This wine reminded me of my earlier days in Burgundy tasting the Grand Cru Musigny. Incredible floral notes, sweet raspberries and blueberries as well as wet rocks soar from the glass of this profound, medium to full-bodied, gorgeous Pinot Noir made from 100% Calera clone. Stunning ripeness, great acids, and terrific delineation are all present in this super-intense, fragrant, modern classic from Steve Kistler. It should drink well for at least a decade, possibly a lot longer. (Jan 2015) ] 98 points Robert Parker: As good as the Cuvée Catherine is, there is another Occidental Pinot that is profound. There are 2,000 cases of the 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth. This wine reminded me of my earlier days in Burgundy…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
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