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Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
  • WE96
  • JD96
  • WW94
  • V94
  • RP93
13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Martin Ray planted Pinot Noir at Mount Eden in 1945. The budwood came from Paul Masson’s original vineyard near Mount Eden. Because Masson was a good friend of the Louis Latour family of Burgundy, it is likely the selection came from one of Latour’s finest vineyards and was brought by Masson to California during the 1880s. The faith Ray demonstrated in this difficult red wine variety, at a time when America had little appreciation of fine wine, was remarkable. Today, Pinot Noir vines occupy seven acres of the estate vineyard and typically yield a meager one to one-and-a-half tons per acre.

Due to the soils in the vineyard, the Estate Pinot Noirs’ elegant, transparent style is more Burgundian than Californian, emphasizing wild strawberry, earth, blueberry and dill varietal characters. Cellaring the wine from five to twelve years pays handsome rewards.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
Brilliantly fresh and snappy black raspberry aromas lead into a savory streak of mulberry-laced pork fat, hickory and tobacco smoke, with a hint of crushed slate on this wine’s fascinating and shape-shifting nose. Peppery spice grips the palate immediately, then splashes fresh red plum and pomegranate flavors around, finishing on white pepper, cracked nutmeg and unrelenting tension.
JD 96
Jeb Dunnuck

Seeing roughly one-third whole clusters and a mix of new and neutral oak, the 2015 Pinot Noir Estate is another terrific wine from this benchmark estate. Possessing a more structured, backward feel as well as a deep, powerful nose of black currants, charcoal, and scorched earth, this is a serious, age-worthy Pinot Noir that needs 3-4 years of bottle age yet will see its 20th birthday in fine form.

WW 94
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: For more than four decades, the Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir has been "desert island" wine. The 2015 vintage is a treat for the senses. TASTING NOTES: This wine is perky and sassy. Its aromas and flavors of pure red fruit and savory earth would make it a treat to serve with a slow-roasted rosemary-accented leg of lamb, and a few wine-loving friends to share the experience. (Tasted: August 20, 2018, San Francisco, CA)
V 94
Vinous
The 2015 Pinot Noir offers notable depth and textural richness, but it is also very closed in on itself. The aromatics and fruit density are both hugely promising, but readers should plan on being patient with the 2015, as it needs time. Whole cluster inflections from the 35% stems add savoriness throughout. The 2015 is a fabulous wine in the making. Harvest began between August 8 and 10, which is shockingly early.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 Pinot Noir from Domaine Eden is very pretty, offering up a youthfully expressive bouquet of red cherries, raspberries, currant leaf and candied peel. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, supple and succulent, without quite the depth, dimension and textural finesse of the Mount Eden bottling but nevertheless a very compelling Pinot Noir in its own right.
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Mount Eden Vineyards

Mount Eden Vineyards

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Mount Eden Vineyards, California
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Mount Eden Vineyards is a small historic wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Founded in 1945, it is recognized as one of the original “boutique” California winery properties, focusing on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, these low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced world-class wines for over a half-century. In 2007 Mount Eden acquired an additional 55 acre wine estate in the Saratoga foothills, which was christened Domaine Eden.

Mount Eden Vineyards also produces non-estate Chardonnays from the central coast, primarily Edna Valley. They have great success making Chardonnay from the Wolff Vineyard and are continually recognized as making outstanding wines from that region.

Since 1981 Jeffrey Patterson has guided the winemaking and grape growing at Mount Eden. His emphasis is on wine growing rather than winemaking; and an obsession with gentleness and naturalness in the handling of the grapes and wines is his ongoing passion.

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Santa Cruz Mountains

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A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.

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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, not Pinot noir. 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 Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

VVWUCT04R42_2015 Item# 512866