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Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
  • JS92
  • WW91
  • WE90
14% ABV
  • JS92
  • WE91
  • WW92
  • WE90
  • WE92
  • WE90
  • BH88
  • WS87
  • WS88
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4.4 7 Ratings
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4.4 7 Ratings
14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Pretty, dense aromas of rose petal, dark cherries, cocoa, anise, and cardamom. Sweet cherry and plum entry with a zesty mid palate reminiscent of baking spices, leading into an opulent, elegant, lingering finish.

The richness of this wine pairs well with fatty, rich meats, such as lamb, duck, and stewed curries, as well as artisanal cheeses and wild mushrooms.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 92
James Suckling
Shows some finesse among many full-throttle Carneros pinot noirs. Full body, medium, soft and polished tannins and a juicy finish. Lots of nut and cedar undertones. Drink or hold.
WW 91
Wilfred Wong of
I am often perplexed when I taste and evaluate Pinot Noir—there are no real prototypes of this grape variety. The wines' nuances run the gamut from tart red to very deep black fruits. In the end, one must go with the hedonistic approach and just let each individual wine reveal itself. The 2014 Saintsbury Pinot Noir does an excellent job of showing off its Napa Carneros roots—ripe fruits that run between red and black, textures that are rather substantial, and herbs that show just an accent of savoriness. (Tasted: June 26, 2017, San Francisco, CA) CA)
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Earthy compost and sage provide a rustic undertone to this well-made wine, dotted in cranberry, green tea and a hint of menthol. Medium bodied, it offers velvety texture and body within a graceful structure.
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Saintsbury, Carneros, California
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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.


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Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. The cooling winds from the abutting San Pablo Bay, combined with lots of midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing wines with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.

This cooler pocket of California lends itself to growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Carneros is an important source of sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne as well.

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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.

ALL6241044_2014 Item# 175396