With rich, lively fruit flavors of raspberries and plums, accents of peppery spice, silky tannins and just a hint of black truffle, this vineyard designated Pinot Noir is a uniquely Californian version of its Burgundian counterpart. Vintage Release: September 1998
Carneros, the portion of Napa Valley with the strongest maritime influences because of its location bordering San Pablo Bay, was recognized as a separate American Viticultural Area (AVA ) in 1983. Because of its shallow soils and microclimate, characterized by cool evenings and morning fogs that help maintain the acid and sugar balance in the grapes, it is considered Napa Valleys best growing area for Pinot Noir. Beringer acquired the Stanly Ranch vineyard in Carneros in the early 1990s, and winemaker Ed Sbragia released his first Pinot Noir from the vineyard with the 1994 vintage.
To make the wine, Ed chose whole-berry fermentation combined with gentle punch-down of the cap to retain the somewhat delicate, layered fruit and spice qualities of the Pinot Noir grapes. ""The Burgundians have been perfecting these techniques for years,"" Ed explains, ""and weve found that they go a long way to achieving maximum flavor without losing subtlety."" Following fermentation, Ed aged the wine for 20 months in French Nevers oak barrels, combining new and one-year-old barrels for flavor balance.
""To me, this wine demonstrates an important point about California Pinot Noir. Fruit is the watchword, and what I love in this wine is the interweaving flavors of raspberries, plums, peppery spice and a hint of black truffle. Oak aging enhances the spice notes, and the tannins are soft and silky, making you want to come back for more. Apart from the deeply earthy aromas and flavors of their French counterparts in Burgundy, the Pinots that we are making have their own distinctive personality.""
-Ed Sbragia, Winemaker