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Davis Bynum Jane's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
Davis Bynum was the first winemaker in the Russian River Valley to produce a single vineyard Pinot Noir in the 1970s. He was amongst the region’s pioneers who realised the cool climate was ideally suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and he set out to emulate the Burgundian approach with a uniquely Californian twist. In 2007 the estate was taken over by Bynum’s great friend, Greg Morthole, who continues his mentor’s legacy by seeking to innovative while maintaining the highest possible quality standards.
This stunning single vineyard Pinot is made in a richer style with plenty of dark fruit character balanced by a crisp freshness. On the nose there are hints of cassis, blackberry, and ripe dark plums while the first sip reveals a full body, velvety texture, and very soft tannins. Following vinification the wine is aged in a combination of French and Hungarian oak for 11 months which adds subtle smoky and sweet spice notes.
The power and finesse of this wine make it a great match for rich duck dishes like Peking duck and smoked duck salads. It also shines alongside beetroot risottos, pasta served with mushrooms, and roasted pork.
Duckhorn Pinot Noir Goldeneye 2016
Recently named one of the world’s top 100 wineries by Wine & Spirits magazine for the seventh time, the Duckhorn story began with Dan and Margaret Duckhorn’s purchase of their first Californian vineyard in St Helena in 1976. Over the intervening forty years, the couple have built a stellar reputation for classy French varietals. In 1996 the Duckhorns founded Goldeneye winery amongst the coastal redwoods of the Anderson Valley which boasts perfect cool climate conditions ideal for Pinot Noir.
The pure essence of the varietal immediately leaps out of the glass with bright cherry, cranberry and blackberry aromas followed by undertones of sweet spice, sage and leather from the 16 months of ageing in oak barrels. A velvety texture, medium body and subtle tannins please the palate along with well-integrated oak influence and wild berry flavours. Chicken roasted with rosemary and sea salt would be an excellent match for the wine’s ripe berry and earthy notes.
This was an outstanding vintage for the Anderson Valley thanks to wet weather early in the spring which ensured the vines had sufficient water throughout the growing period and dry, warm conditions during the harvest. The result was a low yield of small berries which produced stellar wines with great concentration of flavour and silky smoothness in the mouth.
Hahn SLH Pinot Noir 2017
Nicky and Gaby Hahn founded Hahn Family Wines four decades ago after realising the exceptional viticultural potential of the land they had bought in California’s Monterey County. Grapes had been planted here by Spanish missionaries as early as the 1790s to make communion wine, but by the time the Hahn family came along the land had been converted to pasture for sheep and cattle.
After much hard work Nicky managed to get the Santa Lucia Highlands recognised as an AVA in 1991 due to their excellent terroir. Over the years the family has built a strong reputation for top quality single varietal wines and today the estate is run by Nicky and Gaby’s son, Philip.
Their SLH Pinot Noir is a classic estate wine crafted entirely from Santa Lucia fruit. Hahn’s talented winemakers carefully select ripe and expressive fruit which is fermented in open top vats. The young wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 11 months to add polish and complexity. The result is a refined and elegant wine with alluring dark berry notes seasoned with hints of dried herbs. Perfect to serve with duck dishes or charcuterie and mature hard cheeses.
Rochioli Estate Pinot Noir 2018
Highly allocated and hard to find, the Rochioli Estate Pinot Noir is sourced from the Russian River Valley, arguably the most famous Pinot Noir appellation in the United States. Bright red in color, this wine has pomegranate, raspberry, and candied redcurrant aromas, with a peppery spiciness jumping from the glass. Floral tones with ripe plum and black cherry continue on the palate, which has silky and slightly gripping tannins that may soften with a few years of time in the cellar. This is classic, high quality Russian River Pinot; bright, focused, and sappy red fruit flavors dominating, but with a seamless and long finish.
Fruit forward, medium bodied Pinot Noir such as this is perfect next to a roasted chicken with herb gremolata under the crisped skin. This would also be suitable the next day, with the leftovers made into a classic chicken salad sandwich. A great wine for lunch or dinner!
Rochioli Vineyards farms and sells grapes from their almost 100 year old, 162 acre estate to some of the greatest producers of Pinot Noir in California: Williams-Selyem, Gary Farrell, and many others. However, this 3rd generation winemaking family also crafts its own stellar Pinot Noir, most of which is only available through the mailing list. Through clonal selection, they have been able to take full advantage of their soil’s diversity, and craft stunning wines that are highly sought after.
Belle Glos Dairyman Pinot Noir 2017
Vivid ruby red in colour, the nose is pronounced with ripe black cherry, raspberry, plum and cranberry mixed with more subtle notes of vanilla, anise, thyme and a hint of smoke. The palate then follows up with fantastic ripe raspberry, cherry and cranberry wrapped around jammy black fruit, cedar notes, spice, cocoa, liquorice and oaky vanilla. Mouth feel is rich and rounded – silky tannins balanced with great acidity and alcohol provides a beautifully balanced wine. The finish is long, lingering and ends with a hint of spice.
Great to drink on its own or even better when paired with salmon, pork, pasta, beef, or ham.
The Belle Glos name comes from the winemaker, Joseph Wagner, who named it in honour of his grandmother Lorna Belle Glos Wagner who was the co-founder of Caymus.
The grapes were harvested early morning while still cool. Hand sorted and de-stemmed prior to a cold maceration in stainless steel tanks that can last up to 2 weeks. Only the free run juice is used which ensures top quality, superb wines. This juice was barrelled in French oak of which 60% was new, for 9 months prior to bottling.
Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Clos Pegase owns the 365 acre Mitsuko vineyard in Los Carneros which is named after founder Jan Shrem’s late wife. The site is home to a wealth of microclimates and soils planted with 8 different grape varieties. Thanks to extensive research and experimentation the varieties have been carefully matched to the best-suited zones on the property. This Pinot Noir is grown in an area which benefits from breezes from the nearby San Pablo Bay which help to modify the hot summer days and preserve freshness and elegance in the grapes.
The grapes are harvested early in the morning and then transported immediately to the winery so they arrive in peak condition. They are then vinified and matured in oak barrels for 9 months before bottling. The result is a complex and flavoursome Pinot with ample smooth tannins, a medium body and plenty of bright red fruit character along with hints of sweet spice, rhubarb and tobacco.
One of Napa’s top estates, Clos Pegase is best known for its stunning modern winery designed by architect Michael Graves and vast 20,000 square foot network of caves which are used as cellars. Set in the volcanic hills close to Calistoga, the estate has a total of 400 acres of prime Napa Valley vineyards.