If you appreciated Pinot Noir

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If you appreciated Pinot Noir Powered By Docstoc
					 w ine country | Harry Stoll
                                   Through the Glass Lightly
                                  Nothing Noir about Pinot Noir
               f you appreciated Pinot Noir                                            the color. She finishes it off with a tad of
               before they made that old                                               sangio for color and a bit of spice.
               movie, don’t hate on it for be-                                            According to, “Pinot
       ing successful. Of course, you might                                            Noir seems to reflect more pronounced
       be tempted to say, “Oh my yes, I’ve                                             Gout de Terroir, or flavor of the soil,
       known and admired this divine wine                                              than other black grape types, making
       for years. Didn’t they make a movie                                             vineyard site selection a critical factor.”
       about it recently?” Try not to be con-                                          It often picks up from the terroir what
       descending and merely enjoy that                                                the French call “barnyard tastes,” which
       more people are enjoying it.                                                    we have niced up to “earthiness.” Which-
           New to it, old to it, it matters not,                                       ever, there’s myriad flavors coming out of
       this is a regal wine, with an enticing                                          Pinot Noir.
       olfactory opening act, a wide range                                                In addition, it has three times the
       of tastes in the smooth, profound,                                              amount of resveratol than other variet-
       main act, and a memorable denoue-                                               ies. Surely you know that makes it very
       ment. It’s princely, pricey perhaps, but worth it.            healthy and worth drinking for that alone.
           Pinot Noir translates to “dark pine nuts.” The grapes         Pinot has a huge range of aromas and tastes, typically
       have the shape of those tiny tasty treats but of course       black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, suffering sassafras,
       are much larger and more noir. This is not noir as            and much more. It’s how good it feels rolling around
       in film Noir; there’s nothing gloomy about this fine          your mouth that separates it from other wines. Call
       wine. And, In fact, the color is not noir, it’s one of the    it liquid silk or polished velvet or whatever you wish,
       lighter shades of red wine, often described as “garnet.”      you’ll love its balancing act that is neither too tannic or
       Preventing that coloring from going to orange alert is        too acidic.
       one of the winemaker’s problems in dealing with this              Classy Prince Pinot likes classy food. Easy on the
       finicky but rewarding grape.                                  spices. Mild is best but not wimpy. Try Meryl Streep
           I thank for much of what follows.            recipes such as Coq au Vin , Boeuf Bourginon, and Cas-
           The Romans cultivated and vinified Pinot Noir from        soulet . Salmon, swordfish, get the idea?
       the 1st Century AD. The wine from France’s Côte d’Or,             It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, its variety of tastes go
       which some have translated to “painted door,” but             well with all of the goodies you load onto the groaning
       actually means something else, traditionally has the          table.
       highest reputation, and deservedly so. Yet many other             Here are some Pinot Noirs from Livermore Valley
       regions have been successful with it. In California, the      wineries:
       Santa Maria Valley (whence the Pinot Noir poured by               2006 Page Mill Winery Santa Maria Valley ($34). Me-
       Sharon Oh), the Russian River Valley, Carneros, Ander-        dium and elegant. This is the 19th vintage from the Ben
       son Valley, and the Pinnacles and Santa Lucia High-           Nacido Vineyard.
       lands in Monterey County grow good Pinot Noir grapes.             2007 Crooked Vine Winery Livermore Valley Del Ar-
           Most of the Pinot Noir produced by Livermore Valley       royo Vineyard ($30). Lovely color. Seriously sensuous.
       wineries is from grapes grown in those areas. However,        You figure out the flavors.
       it is also grown here with much success, notably at Te-           2006 Wente Reliz Creek Monterey Arroyo Seco
       nuta Vineyards at the west end of the valley and at Del       ($17.56). Deep fruit flavor and liquid silk.
       Arroyo Vineyards at the east end.                                 2006 La Rochelle Santa Cruz Mountains ($48). A
           About 12 wineries here make Pinot Noir even though        ménage a trois of a smooth but strong velvet structure,
       it’s difficult. Hal Liske, owner/winemaker of el Sol will     raspberry blossoms, and pomegranate fruitiness.
       try just about anything but won’t try Pinot.                      2006 Charles R. ($36). A pinch of cinnamon dusts the
           Steven Mirassou, owner of La Rochelle, has Pinot          black cherries laid on the velvet blanket. You’ll close
       Noir DNA. His great-great-great-grandfather is widely         your eyes.
       credited with bringing it to California. The Mirassou’s           2003 Deer Ridge Vineyards Russian River ($30). Born
       vinified it for 150 years. You can taste several Pinots       in a world-class vineyard, aromas and flavors of rose
       with patés, tapenades, and cheeses for $20 (a deal) in        petals, wild berry fruit and rich vanilla will compliment
       his sit-down tasting room.                                    many dishes as well as the hostess.
           Jaime Dowell, winemaker at Crooked Vine, said it’s            2005 Tenuta Vineyards Livermore Valley Tenuta
       finicky to grow, being reactive to temperatures, mold         Vineyard ($32). They’re going wild over this one and so
       and sunburn. Perhaps the growers rub each cluster with        will you.
       sunscreen, as if it’s a child with delicate skin, but whom        2007 White Crane Reserve Monterey Santa Lucia
       you know is going to grow up smart and artistic.              Highlands ($45.06). Overpriced but definitely worth $45.
           Crooked Vine grapes are grown at Del Arroyo Vine-         Lovely and loves just about any food
       yard. In the winery, Dowell says, the big feat is to retain

18   November 2009   See what’s

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