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Flat front label of wine

Esser Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot Noir from California
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    Winemaker Notes

    The grapes for the 2006 Esser Pinot Noir were grown in six different coastal counties: Sonoma (14%), Mendocino (6%), Napa (8%), Solano (25%), Monterey (38%), and San Luis Obispo (9%). The blend benefits from the combination of sleeker, more refined components from Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino, and the more extracted, chunkier lots from Monterey, Solano, and San Luis Obsipo counties.

    Brilliant medium garnet in color, the wine's aromas are keynoted by violets, baked stone fruits and clove/allspice/fennel notes. With fine firm texture and fresh fruit flavors of cherry and plum backed by notes of spice cake and toasty oak, this is a wine that will pair beautifully with grilled salmon, poultry, and red meats; also delicious with light pastas and semi-soft cheeses.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Esser Vineyards

    Esser Vineyards

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    Esser Vineyards, California
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    German-born Manfred Esser began his career as a salesman for a large European winery; in 1974, he came to the United States. Esser joined Napa Valley's Cuvaison Winery as President in 1986 and, in a little over 10 years, made it one of the most successful estates in the industry. His unique approach to converting customers into "company ambassadors" has set an industry standard for client relations. Having achieved success at Cuvaison, Esser sold his partnership in 1998, fueled by the desire to begin a project of his own.

    Years of preparation went into the development of the Esser Vineyards brand. Working closely with Manfred Esser is renowned consulting winemaker Paul Moser, whose style received praise for eight consecutive years from Robert Parker as a "breath of fresh air" in the California wine market.

    Introduced in 2001, the Esser Vineyards portfolio launched with four California appellation wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Fashioned with the customer in mind, these fruit-forward, well-balanced wines offer style, value and elegance — the ultimate consumer-friendly California wines.

    California

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    Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

    Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

    Pinot Noir

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    One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

    In the Glass

    Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

    Perfect Pairings

    Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

    Sommelier Secret

    Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

    EMP609045_2006 Item# 90786