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Peay Vineyards Sonoma Coast Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir 2007

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
  • W&S95
  • V94
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Winemaker Notes

The 2007 Scallop Shelf delivers on the promise of the vintage and our vineyard site. The vines are now 10 years old and have begun to shake off some of their baby fat to reveal more complex, non-fruit based aromas. The nose balances scents of orange pekoe tea, copper and peppery matsutake mushroom with classic pinot notes of cherry and ham. It is an elegant nose with medium concentration and a bright red hue that you can see through.

The mouth also has medium intensity and weight with added flavors of rose hips and black tea. The fruit is more akin to dried blood oranges and plums (not prunes, think pluots!) with clean acidity, a focused mid-palate and moderate tannins. As is customary with the Scallop Shelf, the finish is long. This is a complex wine with finesse. It offers immediate pleasure and may also be aged for 10+ years if you desire aged Pinot characteristics. If you allow a long decant, darker flavors of licorice will come to the fore though a 30-minute decant will allow the aromas to coalesce.

Critical Acclaim

W&S 95
Wine & Spirits

Scallop Shelf takes its name from the fossils found in the soil at this old fruit orchard, a vineyard site four miles from the Pacific. It's a blend of six clones, emphasizing the spicy red fruit character of the Pommard clone, which, when it hits on the far Sonoma Coast, makes some of the region's most distinctive pinot noirs. The wine is transparent in color and in its strawberry-like fruit, bright and intense against the smoky conifer minerality of the soil. There's a weave of energy to it, tart and brash as a young wine, growing more focused and refined with air. Cellar this for five years, then serve with grilled arctic char and hen of the woods mushrooms.

V 94
Vinous / Antonio Galloni

Vivid red. Ripe black raspberry and cherry aromas are brightened by sexy mineral and floral qualities. Energetic, juicy red and dark berry flavors are impressively pure and framed by silky tannins. Gains weight with air and finishes with excellent clarity and sweet persistence. I really like this wine's marriage of richness and vivacity.

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Peay Vineyards

Peay Vineyards

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Peay Vineyards, , California
Peay Vineyards
Peay Vineyards is a first-generation family winery. Husband and wife, Nick Peay & Vanessa Wong, grow and make the wine and brother, Andy Peay, and his wife Ami, sell the wine and run the business.

All wines are made from grapes grown on our 53-acre estate vineyard located above a river gorge in the far northwestern corner of the Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean at Sea Ranch. We sit in the chilly inversion layer with fog and wind from the Ocean maintaining cool temperatures with plenty of sunlight.

Winemaker Vanessa Wong left her position as winemaker at Peter Michael Winery in 2001 to launch Peay Vineyards. Formerly she worked at Château Lafite-Rothschild, Domaine Jean Gros and Hirsch Winery.

We farm organically and maintain our licenses for fish friendly farming and integrated pest management. The health of our vineyard dictates these approaches to farming and making wine. We also run on bio-diesel at the vineyard and solar power at both the vineyard and winery.

A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines...

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A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice...

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

LSB101488_2007 Item# 101488

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