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Ken Brown Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
  • WW92
14.4% ABV
  • WW92
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14.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine is a superb representation of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir featuring vibrant fruit aromatics and an intensely rich profile. Expressive aromas of dark cherry and black raspberry are highlighted by hints of stone, herbes de Provence and subtle French oak. On the palate, intense dark cherry and spice components give way to a velvety mid-palate and lush, lingering finish. The wine’s plush tannins and balanced acid profile suggest this Pinot Noir is poised to age gracefully for years to come.

Critical Acclaim

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Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: In my book of books, Ken Brown (the winemaker) is an artist. Throughout the decades of tasting his wines from both Byron and his venture named after the man himself, his wines are as exceptionally honest. The 2014 shows excellent elegance and style, and is perfect for New World and Old World wine drinkers alike. TASTING NOTES: The wine's color is a beautiful garnet, aromas are wild and expressive of dried strawberries and brown leaves; the palate presents smooth textures, and the finish is crisp. (Tasted: February 8, 2018, San Francisco, CA)
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Ken Brown

Ken Brown

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Ken Brown, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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Our Focus at Ken Brown Wines is on very small lots of Pinot Noir from the finest vineyards of Sta. Rita Hills. The wines are produced at our winery in Buellton at the gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, and most lots consist of 250 cases or less. Total annual production is only about 2,000 cases. I work with growers, many of whom I've known for years, to hand select vineyard blocks for our program. Some of the remarkable vineyards we work with include Cargasacchi, Clos Pepe, Rio Vista and Sanford & Benedict. We also produce limited bottlings of Chardonnay and Syrah. My wife, Deborah, and I make up the staff of Ken Brown Wines, and we enjoy the close relationships we have with our wines and our customers.

Most of my career has been spent pursuing the elusive traits that make great Pinot Noir. From my early days at Zaca Mesa Winery to my 20-year tenure at Byron Vineyard to our small family operation at Ken Brown Wines, I have continued to experiment with clones, rootstocks, soils and winemaking techniques, exploring the tremendous potential for Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County.

Sta. Rita Hills

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A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.

The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot noir, thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.

Pinot Noir

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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).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and 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 Secret

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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.

WWH143732_2014 Item# 174794