Amor Fati Pinot Noir 2012
Amor Fati means "love of fate" and fate has brought these wines. Small productions from estate-driven fruit growing from a single vineyard in coastal Santa Maria Valley, the wines have a strong cult following due to the elusive and intriguing wine styles and alluring labels based on William Blake’s sketches. Culty, illusive and beguiling, with extended hang time in the vineyard, these wines explode from the glass. Aggressive and engulfing, yet showcasing restrained balance on the palate; tannins are lush, round, unprecedented. Amor Fati translates in Latin to “the love of one’s fate.” In Santa Maria, harvest dates often push into late November and grape ripening is solely at the discretion of nature. Each year they wait and have faith. Labels are sketch renditions of William Blake’s 1793 work “The Marriage Of Heaven and Hell.” Look deep into the symmetrical label to find a naked woman embracing the hand of a mermaid and a small child, all while riding a pink dragon. Drink more to see more.
Santa Maria Valley lies mainly in northern Santa Barbara County, with a small portion of it overlapping southern San Luis Obispo County. It is close to the Pacific, and runs east-west, which means warmer air in the eastern end draws cool air off the ocean in the west, and brings it through the valley. This effect, combined with abundant sunshine, lengthens the growing season. The longer growing season leads to long hang time, which promotes both ripeness and optimal acidity levels in grape berries. As early as the 1970’s, Santa Maria Valley was recognized as being a superior source of wine grapes, certainly including Chardonnay and Syrah. But arguably the top variety here is Pinot Noir.
Originally a domain primarily of growers, including the Miller Family of the justifiably famous Bien Nacido Vineyard, this AVA is now home to over 30 wineries. Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir consistently offers full flavors of cherry, strawberry and raspberry, often accompanied by notes of spice, cola, vanilla and earth. They show impressive balance and elegance, as well as great versatility with food.