Cattleya Wines Cuvee Number One Pinot Noir 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Pinot Noir Cuvee Number One comes all from the Pommard and 115 clones in the Lakeview Vineyard and sees a tiny amount of stems followed by 11 months in 50% new oak. Beautiful blue fruits, wild strawberries, scorched earth, and charcoal notes flow to a medium-bodied, vibrant Pinot Noir that stays fresh and focused on the palate. With good acidity and ripe tannins, it will keep for over a decade.
Very dark and full aromas of deep-red-cherry fruit combine with loamy soil, crushed slate and scarlet rose petals on the intense nose of this bottling. A grippy structure frames the elegant yet strong sip, where flavors of dark pomegranate and cherry are spiced by cocoa dust.
Cattleya made quite a splash with its pair of first-rate Sauvignon Blancs in last-month’s issue of CGCW, and it comes up aces once again with this lithe and lively, very well-crafted Pinot. Both fully ripe and impeccably balanced, it manages to be rich, substantially fruity and light on its feet all at once with an unwavering focus on deep, fully ripe, varietal cherries and is enriched by the judicious appointment of creamy oak. For all of its considerable immediate charm, it is a wine that will only get better with age, and we see it improving for another three to five years and anticipate that it will provide lovely drinking for at least twice as long.
In her words: Since my early teenage years, my dream has been to make wine.
At a very young age I was fortunate enough to begin learning how to make wine in France. I trained myself while working with some amazing winemakers who showed me the importance of loving the land, how to respect the farming itself, and to focus on the many details that go into making each drop of wine in each and every bottle.
While studying in Bordeaux and Cognac I learned the required viticulture, enology and microbiology (“wine science”); but most importantly, I was also exposed to the many rituals involved in winemaking–things like pruning, harvesting and bottling–that feel so special and meaningful each season. I told myself that one day a bottle of wine would be infused with the longings of my soul through fruit produced from a specific terroir that spoke to my heart. That place I have found.
Situated on the foggier and colder western edge of the Russian River Valley, almost abutting the Sonoma Coast appellation, Green Valley is one of California’s most reputable Chardonnay and Pinot noir producing regions. It is also a wonderful source of sparkling wines made from these varieties.
Goldridge soils abound throughout the Green Valley appellation. This fine, dark, sandy loam and fractured sandstone is derived from the remains of ancient inland seabeds dating back three to five million years. It is valuable for high quality grape growing because of its excellent drainage and low fertility.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
Tasting Notes for Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a dry red wine, typically diominated by red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles showing black plum and more delicate styles of Pinot giving citrus qualities. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age Pinot Noir can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice and dried fruit.
Perfect Food Pairings for Pinot Noir
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of salmon or texture of tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Sommelier Secrets for Pinot Noir
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.