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Stephen Vincent Pinot Noir 2014
This would be an excellent accompaniment to lamb chops with a rosemary marinade, baked salmon in a lemon and butter sauce, or my favorite pairing, duck confit on a bed of wild mushroom risotto.
Stephen Vincent Situm, began his career in the wine business with the Gallo Sales Co. in 1962, logging 53 years of experience in the production, marketing, and sales of premium and ultra-premium wines. He has been instrumental in the building of many major brands including Robert Mondavi, J.Lohr, Vichon, Tepusquet Vineyard, Louis Roederer, Foppiano, Stephen Zellerbach, and Draper & Esquin. He is also a consulting partner on all winemaking decisions.
Founder of the early boutique winery, La Crema, Winemaker Bob Goyette grew in skill and experience at the Benziger Winery, combining his French Heritage with a New England upbringing. Bob brings his considerable experience to Stephen Vincent Wines. He lets traditional winemaking methods guide him while keeping an eye on the creative use of modern technology to create superior wines of great value for the current market.
Today, he leads the winemaking team at Stephen Vincent and Robert Goyette wineries. Included in the line are hand-crafted Sonoma County Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; and North Coast and Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. These youthful, fruit-forward wines are made to be enjoyed young, and often.
Since the beginning in January 2001, they have sold more than 350,000 cases in 46 states and 3 countries. Stephen Vincent Wines have garnered high scores from Robert Parker, and Gold and Double Gold Medals for their Crimson from the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.
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.
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.