Echelon Pinot Noir 2001

    750ML / 0% ABV
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    750ML / 0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The Santa Lucia Bench in the Salinas Valley, where this Pinot Noir is grown, is becoming a prominent winegrowing region and we are lucky to have long-term contracts for grapes from this area. The deep, rocky loam soils and eastern orientation make it ideal for growing Pinot Noir. The 1999 Pinot Noir appeared a bit reticent at first, compared to the 1998 and 1997 vintages. I should have had faith. Pinot Noir rewards faith. Upon bottling, it opened up; the color deepened and the fruit and flesh became visible. It was delicious! Mostly when you bottle Pinot Noir it turns dumb on you. This one hit the bottle and began to sing. Jammy flavors open to bright berry fruit and subtle cinnamon and spice notes.

    Pinot Noir is a most useful wine at mealtime. There is virtually no food it won't match or contrast with well. When you don't know which wine to serve, Pinot Noir's the one to reach for. It rarely disappoints. It is a dry wine that particularly loves grilled, smoked or salty foods. It's a little known fact that it pairs very well with Mexican food, though I'm sure a Burgundian would blanch at the suggestion.

    -Larry Brooks, Consulting Winemaker

    Critical Acclaim

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    Echelon

    Echelon Vineyards

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    Echelon Vineyards, California
    Echelon Vineyards Winery Image
    Combining the best fruit from friends’ and neighbors’ vineyards, Echelon produces serious wines for everyday drinking. To obtain this exceptional fruit, Echelon pioneered the development of long-term contracts with growers in emerging regions, including areas within California’s Central Coast and the Clarksburg appellation’s Esperanza Vineyard. Echelon’s winery is located in San Miguel, in the heart of the Central Coast, near many of its vineyard sources. This state-of-the-art facility enables Echelon to take advantage of the latest technology throughout the winemaking process.

    Echelon’s superb grapes and gentle winemaking result in fresh, fruit-forward wines. Beautifully balanced and pleasingly complex, these impressive premium wines are easy on the palate and the budget.

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    Let’s start with the obvious – Central Coast Pinot Noir is an incredibly broad category. This of course is because the Central Coast appellation is enormous, and it contains several stellar Pinot Noir regions within it, all of them kept cool by elevation or proximity to the ocean (or both). So we’ll break things down a bit with a brief look at each of these: Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey and the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Maria Valley and Sta. Rita Hills. These are not the only Central Coast sources of good Pinot Noir, but they are the major ones. So let’s get started.

    In the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, just west of Silicon Valley, producers craft excellent Pinot in spite of serious challenges. The land is mountainous, rugged and can be foggy, the topsoil is thin and poor and yields tend to be low. Yet Pinots from the likes of David Bruce, Martin Ray, Mount Eden and Thomas Fogarty exhibit undeniable quality, along with bright red fruit, minerality, earth and herbal hints.

    Just south lies the large Monterey appellation. Monterey Pinot Noir is grown in coastal areas, taking optimal advantage of the cooling effect of the Pacific. The most highly regarded of these is the Santa Lucia Highlands. Situated on hilly benchlands south of the city of Monterey, this central coast region relies on a long growing season, night and morning fog and consistent afternoon winds to produce world class Pinot Noir. Attributes include intense, rich fruit, subtle earthy notes, spice and a silky texture. Look for producers like Siduri, Kosta Browne, Talbott and Lucienne.

    The Santa Maria Valley in northern Santa Barbara County (a section of it falls into southern San Luis Obispo County) is also a haven for quality Pinot Noir. A mere 15 miles from the Pacific, the valley runs east-west, creating a natural tunnel through which ocean breezes and fog flow. This effect lengthens the growing season and promotes both ripeness and development of acidity, lending Santa Maria Valley Pinots their characteristic full flavor, balance and elegance. The famous Bien Nacido Vineyard is located here, and notable producers include Cambria, Foxen, Byron and Au Bon Climat.

    Finally, we arrive at the Sta. Rita Hills, also in Santa Barbara County. Located in the western part of the Santa Ynez Valley, it too benefits from an east-west orientation that leads to the same conditions mentioned above. Once again the result is extended hang time for the grapes, which can be tasted in the vibrant, ripe red fruits evident in these Pinots, along with dense coloration and an impression of richness and intensity. Try wines from producers like Ken Brown, Ampelos, Fess Parker and Melville.

    As you can see, California’s Central Coast offers a wealth of options for any lover of Pinot Noir. Cheers!

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    NDF615914_2001 Item# 52662

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