The 2000 vintage was moderately warm—certainly warmer than the previous two El Niño vintages. Particularly important is the revailing weather during bloom, as the success of pollination and the seeds that result can indicate the structure of the vintage. Luckily, the spring of 2000 was clear and mild, with less rain than we had become accustomed to lately.
Cloves, sandalwood and sweet pipe tobacco meld with deep black cherry and other ripe red fruits. Appetizing bacon and delicate mushroom contrast with the fruit and complete the complex aroma, resulting in a very full and sweet-textured Pinot Noir with grace and power. The tannins should give this wine plenty of time to improve by developing bottle-aged character. We expect it to hit its stride in the fall of 2002 and be good through the decade. Try it with braised beef short ribs. -Michael Terrien, Winemaker
Alcohol: 14.4% by volume
Situated just two miles from San Francisco Bay in the Carneros District of Napa Valley, Acacia Vineyard is distinguished by a cool microclimate dominated by wind and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean, and by shallow, dense clay soils. While these difficult growing conditions limit grape production, they result in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes of rare power and complexity.
Founded in 1979, Acacia made one of the first Pinot Noirs in the Carneros District. Today Acacia is a leader in the new Carneros by handcrafting compelling Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that defy conventional winemaking wisdom and consistently exceed expectations. A firm winemaking approach to Pinot Noir highlights the bold character of Carneros fruit while capturing the grape's earthy complexity and silky texture. Acacia's Carneros Chardonnay is ripe and crisp.
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Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.