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Pinot Noir Tasting

I mentioned in my last blog that I get together bi-weekly with some fellow wine nerds where we taste a number of wines.  Last week there were eight wines brought to the table, and three of them were Pinot Noir.

One was the 2012 Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne (or Burgundy in English).  Obviously from France’s Burgundy region, this wine has some dried red fruit, hints of anise and clove, lots of earthiness and a nice minerality.  This basic Bourgogne (which comes in at about $20) definitely needs food, and would go well with many different dishes.

We also tasted the 2011 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast.  This medium bodied wine has nice cherry, strawberry and cranberry.  While it is definitely a “New World” Pinot Noir, it isn’t too much.  It is true to it’s varietal and, though we were tasting the wines blindly, I knew immediately that this was indeed a Pinot Noir.  This wine also runs about $20.

My favorite Pinot of the day was the 2012 Au Bon Climat from Santa Barbara. Personally, I’m not a fan of the big, huge Pinot Noirs that so many New World wineries produce.  Thankfully for me, this is not one of them.  On the nose are ripe strawberry, cherry and some floral qualities.  The silky palate confirmed the fruit aromas and added a bit of baking spices.  This wine has some of the fruit ripeness known for Santa Barbara, but still has medium-low viscosity and reminds me more of a Côte de Beaune than a typical California Pinot Noir.  I very rarely actually swallow wines during our group wine tastings, but this was a wine I found difficult to spit!  In the  $20 to $25 range, this Pinot Noir is a great value.

Well respected and much awarded winemaker Jim Clendenen is the man behind Au Bon Climat.  Starting out as assistant winemaker at Zaca Mesa Winery back in the last 70s, he moved on to adventures in Australia and France.  Back in the U.S. in 1982, he started (with his now ex-partner Adam Tolmach) Au Bon Climat, which means “a well exposed vineyard”.

I suggest that you seek out the wines of Au Bon Climat.  I know that I will!

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