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Guenoc Lake County Chardonnay 2011

Chardonnay from North Coast, California
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Winemaker Notes

Produced 100% from estate fruit, the 2011 Guenoc Lake County Chardonnay is an excellent representation of the quality obtained from Guenoc Valleys warm days and cool nights. The wine has aromas of stone fruit, like peach and apricot, mingling with pineapple and almond paste. The flavors are intense and echo the nose while displaying balance and elegance. The finish is long and offers a succulent creaminess.

Critical Acclaim

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Guenoc

Guenoc Estate Vineyards

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Guenoc Estate Vineyards, , California
Guenoc
Located 90 miles north of San Francisco, the 23,000 acre Guenoc Estate, claiming some of the oldest vineyards in California, includes the most northwestern area of Napa Valley, all of Guenoc Valley, and the southern extremes of Lake County. From 1888 to 1906 the Guenoc Estate was owned by internationally famous actress and vintner Lillie Langtry, who vowed to make "claret of the finest kind known in the country" in her California valley and placed her portrait on her estate produced bottles of wine. Today, the George Watts' portrait of Lillie Langtry has become the famous cameo trademark of Guenoc wines. In 1981, Guenoc Valley was recognized by the federal government as a separate and distinctive viticultural area, the first appellation under single-proprietorship in the United States. Traditional winemaking techniques and utilization of the best of French oak and highest quality stainless steel equipment allow winemaker Malcolm Seibly to create wines which continue to garner championship awards in both national and international competitions.

Sonoma Coast

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A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs from the San Pablo Bay to the Mendocino County border. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the “true” Sonoma Coast, marked by high rainfall, marine soils, cool temperatures, and saline ocean breezes, from which one can actually see the ocean—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, creating a diversity of wine styles. Contained within the appellation is the much smaller and more focused Fort Ross-Seaview AVA.

Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah, with high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and fruit that is rarely overripe. One of the most favorable sites within the region is the Petaluma Gap, where a break in the coastal mountain range allows Pacific winds and fog to funnel through and cool the vineyards.

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.

OPI33554_2011 Item# 119131

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