Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sanford Pinot Noir

Sanford Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills
Alc. 14.5%
$32.99 in Indianapolis

The Little Wooden Guy liked this. Too much California pinot strives to be something else these days, over-extracted over-oaked pinot monsters, exactly, in the Little Wooden Guy's humble opinion, what the delicate and wondrous pinot noir grape has to offer.

From the bottlenotes:

Sanford blazed a trail in Santa Barbara County more than 25 year ago, planting some of the first Pinot Noir in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. This Terlato Family winery has produced a string of award-winning estate-bottled wines ever since. The 2006 Pinot Noir demonstrates what makes Sanford wines sought the world over. It has the breeding, complexity, and style found in all the great wines of the world.

Night One

The nose on Night One was delicious. The Little Wooden Guy and I spent 20 minutes just enjoying the aromas wafting from the glass before taking our first sips. It offered rich black cherries and the slightly hay and musty smell of dried strawberries. The fruit was well-complemented by white pepper, asian spice, and anise. Then, at the very back of the sinuses, at the end of a long, lingering inhalation, just a little tickle at the back of your head, came a hint of smoke and candied orange peel.

On the palate the black cherries took the lead, followed by ripe strawberries. The texture was very soft,, creamy, and there was a taste of english black tea heavy with cream, as well as a hint of holiday spice. There was a definite midpalate, cream, earth, and increased tartness as the strawberries morphed into raspberries. Tannins were smooth and sweet, acid bright, and a strong vein of minerality was there throughout. The finish, I am sorry to say, was rather bitter, apple seeds and almond skins. The bitterness cut right through the creamy fruity sweetness, creating a sense of disappointment after such promise. The finish alone kept this good wine from being great.

Night Two

There was not much change from Night One to Night Two. It was, perhaps, a bit darker on the nose, with slightly reduced acid. The only other change was that the orange peel was a bit more prevalent. On the palate, too, little change. I had hoped the bitterness would subside but, alas, it did not. At least, not much.

Conclusion? This is good wine. The bitterness might work better, or be better masked, with food. That said the finish truly kept this from being something I could enthusiastically recommend at its price point.

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