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Sanford Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
    0% ABV
    • WE91
    • TP95
    • W&S91
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The 2006 Sanford Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir is a blend from their estate vineyard, La Rinconada, and the historic Sanford and Benedict Vineyard next door. A mix of vineyard blocks and several different clones gives this wine added complexity.

    The wine is deep violet red in color and is bursting with raspberry, black cherry, pepper and clove on the nose. The palate delivers dusty berry flavors framed nicely by bright acidity and supple tannins. The wine was allowed to age in French Oak barrels (30% new oak) for 10 months where it gained concentration and picked up hints of vanilla and licorice.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Sanford

    Sanford Winery

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    Sanford Winery, , California
    Sanford
    In Santa Barbara wine country, it all started with Sanford Winery. Recognizing a magical combination of climate and soil conditions, the Sanford & Benedict vineyard was plated in 1971, and the resulting wines are now the benchmark of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Pinot Noir has thrived in the Sta. Rita Hills ever since, and ranks among the best and most distinctive in the world. Sanford's estate vineyards - Rancho La Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict - lie within the 100 square mile AVA, and they rely exclusively on these vineyards for their luscious, signature Pinot Noir. The area owes its magic to an unusual east-west mountain valley that runs from the vineyards to the Pacific Ocean; ideal for cool-climate varietals.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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 many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    FED35954_2006 Item# 94761

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