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Saintsbury Brown Ranch Pinot Noir 1999

Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
  • WS88
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Winemaker Notes

Ten years ago, we bought 40 acres of cow pasture and turned it into the vineyard we call the Brown Ranch. The name comes from the family that had owned it for more than a century. In 1991 we planted it to new Dijon selections of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The first harvest at the Brown Ranch was 1995. As soon as we tasted the wines, we knew we had something remarkable on our hands. The Brown Ranch has turned out to be a wonderful site for both cultivars.

Because all of our vineyard lots are fermented and aged separately we are able to track their progress in the cellar as individual wine lots. From the Brown Ranch there are eight different lots: three different clones are grafted to different rootstocks on two different soil types.

The ranch has a combination of typical Carneros clay loams as well as some more volcanic soil types and steeper hillsides. Yields typically range from 3 to 4.5 tons/acre (45-65 hl/ha). Though each has unique character, overall, the eight lots from this ranch show more rich earthiness and black fruit than the more red fruit characters of other lots in our cellar.

Late in 1996, tasting through the barrels, we decided to blend and bottle by itself a small amount from the very best of these lots. This became our first bottling of the "Brown Ranch" Pinot Noir. The wine is offered in six-bottle wooden cases, with a new package design that pays tribute to George Saintsbury.

We look forward to continuing the tradition of this bottling honoring both our namesake and the vineyard so integral to the future quality of Saintsbury wines.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 88
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Saintsbury

Saintsbury

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Saintsbury, , California
Saintsbury
Saintsbury specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay is fermented and aged in barrels coopered in Burgundy. Three styles of Pinot Noir are produced: "Garnet" is a fresh, lively wine full of cherry and raspberry fruit; the wine simply called Carneros Pinot Noir is a more classic rendition; and the Reserve Pinot Noir is the richest and most fully flavored of the vintage.

Languedoc-Roussillon

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An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality, value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Provence. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.

Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc. International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.

Grenache

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Full-bodied but light in both color and tannin, Grenache loves the sun. It thrives in hot climates where it can easily achieve full ripeness. Grenache is best known in the Southern Rhône, where its plush texture and ample alcohol are tamed by savory Syrah and structured Mourvèdre, most notably in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache originates in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha and is important throughout the country, particularly in Rioja, where it is blended with the more austere Tempranillo, and in Priorat in tandem with savory Cariñena (Carignan). It is also responsible for dry, fruity rosés in Navarra. In Sardinia, the variety is known as Cannonau and produces bold, rustic reds. In California, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and playing a supporting role in Rhône-style blends.

In the Glass

In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with red fruit flavors ranging from strawberry to cherry to dark berry. Richer examples can also show plum, chocolate, and licorice.

Perfect Pairings

Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. With its uncomplicated, friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb loin chops or spicy Italian sausages. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not be fazed by a good chili kick.

Sommelier Secret

Sardinia’s Cannonau is often revered for its association with a long, healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, and they credit this antioxidant-rich wine—along with their healthy Mediterranean diet—for their impressive longevity.

ALL9126041_1999 Item# 25033

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