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Flat front label of wine

MacPhail Raye's Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from North Coast, California
  • WE94
14.3% ABV
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14.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This stunning red-head smells and tastes of the Pommard clone right off the bat. Her aroma is rich in strawberries and raspberries. There is a creaminess about her that suggests a ripe, complex dark cherry and earthy notes. On the palate she is round and focued and hints at cream soda with a hidden acidity. Great structure – gaining depth and weight on the lingering finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
A sweet, soft, harmonious Pinot Noir. Feels so gentle in the mouth, it hardly has any weight, yet it’s a very serious wine. The flavors are enormous, suggesting ripe wild cherries, raspberry liqueur and baking spices, finished with perfectly applied, smoky oak, and brightened with fine acidity. A wine of great charm, it should continue to develop in the bottle for six years.
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MacPhail

MacPhail

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MacPhail, North Coast, California
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James MacPhail grew up just north of San Francisco in Marin County where, since the 1880s, members of his father’s family have been pillars of the local business community. James’ mother was raised on a dairy farm in western Sonoma County; she remained tied to her Tomales Bay community, regularly engaging James in the lives of the region's farming families. A passion for business and a love for the land are at the center of MacPhail family life.

In 2002, James launched his own brand: MacPhail Family Wines. The wine business satisfies James' interest in the land, his penchant for the artistic and his pledge to service. He selects and works with growers who share his commitment to sustainable farming and understand the significance of terroir-based, singular quality wine. "My dream has been to make something from the earth that I can share with others," he says.

After making wine for six vintages in rented space, James took a step few small producers take — he built his own winery — in his back yard. Reflecting James' respect for the environment, the understated building takes advantage of natural light and night-cooling fans. The winery recycles all wastewater in a constructed wetlands. James makes wine – naturally, in small batches, by hand. He is a believer in traditional, old world techniques and minimal intervention.

Grower/winemaker James MacPhail is also the sales and marketing director. His business model is based on maintaining personal relationships with the individuals who purchase his wine as well as the restaurants and wine shops that sell his MacPhail Pinot Noir. "I take very seriously the honor of being a part of people’s tables."

With a group of dedicated growers under contract, a winery just steps from his kitchen and delicious wines in the cellar, James has made Healdsburg home for both business and family. In this small community, wine brings people together every day, enhancing both food and friendship. "This home matches my vision," says James. "It is located in a winegrowing region with a long history of agriculture and small family farming."

North Coast

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Encompassing the grape-growing regions located north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano. Napa and Sonoma get all of the attention, but there are a few other counties producing great wine in Northern California. Two notable examples are Mendocino and Lake County, the northernmost winegrowing regions in the state. These AVAs are very different, both from their neighbors to the south and from one another.

Mendocino benefits from the cooling fog of the Pacific Ocean and is able to successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. There is a significant focus here on organic viticulture. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc are the dominant varieties. Both regions are excellent sources of high-quality but affordable California wines in a wide range of styles.

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.

YNG147729_2009 Item# 115513