In the same way that our parents have never told us who their favorite child is (we all have our suspicions), we cannot tell you which of our current offerings is our favorite. We love them all equally, but we love them for different reasons. The 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has been very popular thus far, and it is easy to see why.
In the Beginning…
There was a deal. Much like the cabernet, we came by the pinot through a connection to a winery we’ve visited and enjoyed many times over the years. It just so happened that 2013 was a bountiful year and voila! A deal was struck. We settled on a fair price, but were asked not to reveal the source, since you are buying at a steep discount from what it is offered at the winery.
In a nutshell...
Good pinot may be fruity, with delightful notes of cranberry, raspberry, and cherry, and hints of spice like cinnamon and caraway. It may be earthy - a delightful blend of vanilla, clove, caramel, or possibly even mushrooms, leather, and smoke.
Our 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir belongs to this latter category, bursting with notes of cedar and tobacco that give way to vanilla and subtle spice. The array of flavors combined with its full body and smooth finish make it an all-around crowd pleaser.
Note: Pinot noir is not as big and bold or as tannic as, say, a cabernet. Accordingly, it does not have the same longevity in the bottle and should be enjoyed within five to eight years past its vintage.
In the Words of Tina Turner…
What’s Sonoma Coast got to do with it?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we point out that while we do not reveal the name of the winery who so artfully crafted the Claudine Pinot Noir, we do state clearly on the label that the wine hails from the Sonoma Coast. Now, California wine country being as complex and diverse as it is, that simple pinpoint may not mean much without a little explanation.
In our previous blog post we delved into the somewhat daunting world of California American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. We discussed our cabernet sauvignon and the Diamond Mountain AVA from which it hails. But our pinot noir is from the Sonoma Coast AVA, located within the Sonoma County wine region of California. You may think of Sonoma County as Napa’s lesser-known but very well-reputed “little brother.” (Brian, in particular, enjoys this analogy.)
As its name suggests, Sonoma Coast sits along the Pacific Ocean, stretching from San Pablo Bay in the south to the Mendocino County border to the north. Vineyards grown in this AVA sit primarily above the fog line and enjoy relatively warm temperatures as well as abundant rainfall. Because grapes are allowed to ripen gradually without much fear of dramatic swings in temperature, the resulting juice is remarkably balanced in terms of sugar and acidity.
What to eat with what you drink...
Pinot Noir is a natural for food pairing. Its medium acidity means it can accompany lighter fish or vegetable-based dishes, while its complexity allows it to stand up to heartier meals, like pulled pork or risotto. Given the intense earthy notes on the 2013 Claudine Pinot, we have found it pairs flawlessly with salmon, particularly when grilled on cedar planks.
Let us know what you like pairing with our pinot by leaving a comment below.
The Claudine Wines Team
As the recipient of many well-intentioned but unused wine gifts, I feel compelled to act on behalf of all wine drinkers at this time, it being the season of giving and all.