Number 100 on Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2004!
Fruit for the Carneros Pinot Noir was destemmed, but not crushed, and fermented warm to a maximum temperature of about 91°F. Once the structure, color and flavor of the wine appeared optimum, the tanks were drained and put down to barrel just barely sweet, so that the last couple Brix finished fermenting slowly in barrel over a matter of weeks. After nine months of barrel aging, the wine was racked and filtered with no fining before bottling.
The deep ruby red color is an initial clue as to the power of this wine. The nose exhibits a delicate balance between primary fruit and rich, meaty, savory notes. A deep, black cherry aroma intermingles with subtle blackberry, cassis, roasted meat, wet earth and Provençal herb notes. The wine is creamy and mouthfilling on entry with a strong cola impression at midpalate that leads to vanilla and tar on the long, broad, red cherry finish.
The bold flavors of a slow-roasted rosemary and garlic pork loin will highlight the wine's red fruit components while standing up to its rich flavors. As a side dish, a mushroom and pancetta ragout provides earth flavors and fat that will accentuate the earthiness of the wine and balance its firm structure.
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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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into 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.