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Saintsbury Lee Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
  • CG91
  • WS90
  • WE90
14.5% ABV
  • WS90
  • WE92
  • WW92
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • WW91
  • WS92
  • WS93
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aromas of briary fruits, spice box, tobacco and rose hips. On the palate, layers of black cherry and plum flavors supported by lively acidity and fine tannins. Drink now through 2020.

Critical Acclaim

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CG 91
Connoisseurs' Guide
There is an extra measure of substance and size to be found in the Lee Vineyard offering, yet the wine maintains very good varietal focus in light of its ripeness and is a deep and involving expression of Pinot Noir. Its somewhat big-shouldered style directs it to drinking with more substantial fare, and, while it is fleshy and full, it is solidly structured and should improve for five or more years.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Strikes a nice balance between ripe, fresh cherry-berry fruit and minerally fresh earth touches, keeping its focus on the berry themes. The tannins are integrated. Drink now through 2020.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Ripe and delicious in fruit, this Pinot tastes like juicy raspberries, cherries and persimmons drizzled with brown sugar and vanilla. A touch of heat shows on the finish.
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Saintsbury

Saintsbury

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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.

Carneros

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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, 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.

WWH132557_2010 Item# 145516