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Niner Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
    14.5% ABV
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    14.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This expressive wine opens with soft notes of potpourri intertwined with organic earth and a hint of spiced clove and citrus zest. The wine hits the palate with complex notes of dried rose petals and violets while showcasing fruit notes of cranberries which are married with wet earth and a hint of spice. This wine is a true representation of the vineyard in which the grapes were grown.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Niner
    Niner, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
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    Niner Wine Estates is a family company dedicated to the concept that truly great wine results from talented people controlling the entire winemaking process from the vineyard to the glass. Founder Richard Niner's attachment to farming started early as he grew up farming a small plot of land with his father in rural West Virginia. Niner then followed a somewhat unusual path from farm to vineyard: after putting himself through college and graduate school, he spent over 30 years investing in small businesses. In 1996, one of these business deals brought him to San Luis Obispo County, where he found a renewed passion for farming and saw a bright future in the local wine industry.

    At Niner Wine Estates they only make wine from grapes we grow ourselves. From vineyard to glass our entire team is working together with a singular goal in mind: to provide you with wines that combine within them a true expression of our vineyards and the creativity of our people. They farm three separate estate vineyards: Bootjack Ranch resting on the Eastern side of the Paso AVA, Heart Hill Vineyard settled on the Western side, and Jespersen Vineyard nestled in the Edna Valley AVA to the south. Each vineyard has very different soil profiles and climates resulting in three very unique representations of terroir.

    Santa Maria Valley

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    A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.

    Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

    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.

    CWL34201712_2012 Item# 129816