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TAZ Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2005

Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    "The TAZ Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir is a 'best-of-both-worlds' wine. It takes two distinct expressions of Santa Barbara County and blends them into a balanced wine with plenty of nuance.

    The first component of the blend comes from our North Canyon Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. This vineyard lies at the northern edge of Santa Barbara, butting up to the San Luis Obispo County line. The Pinot Noir from North Canyon is soft and silky with delicate floral notes and red fruit character. The lots from North Canyon Vineyard are complemented by grapes from our Fiddlestix Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, located at the southern end of Santa Barbara County.

    Fiddlestix Pinot Noir is big and lush; it lends structure and core of dark berry fruit to the blend. I love the juxtaposition of the two regions in this wine.

    The 2005 growing season yielded exceptional fruit. I believe that great wines are created in the vineyard. We typically farm less than two tons per acre, and this year was no different. About a quarter of this blend was aged in new French oak, while the rest of the lots went into neutral barrels. I like to let the fruit shine, using just a hint of new oak to spice things up. To me, this wine showcases the true varietal character of Pinot Noir."
    - Natasha Boffman, Winemaker

    Critical Acclaim

    TAZ
    TAZ, , California
    TAZ
    TAZ Vineyards, like many artisan producers in Santa Barbara County, is located in a winemaker's cooperative warehouse in Santa Maria. Vision and fervent passion earned Bob "Taz" Steinhauer the Tasmanian devil nickname. From the vineyards to the scale houses, this nickname stuck as he feverishly led the development of some of California's most notable vineyards. While his legendary career spanned four decades of grape growing in the Napa Valley, it was the rustic spirit of Santa Barbara that stole his heart. Perfect soils and climate led him to this spectacular region to plant vineyards.

    "Taz" Steinhauer is considered a pioneer whose unswerving dedication to unlocking the secrets of the Central Coast over the past several years has contributed directly to the rising acclaim for wines from the region. He shared his passion and his insights broadly with local growers, always pushing for higher levels of quality and an approach that allowed each vineyard to evolve to its fullest viticultural expression.

    Burgundy

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    A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide, Burgundy is a perennial favorite of many wine lovers. After centuries of winemaking, the Burgundians have determined precisely which grape clone grows best on which plot of land, determined by the soil type, the elevation, and the angle in relation to the sun—this is a region firmly rooted in tradition and the concept of ‘terroir’ reigns supreme here. Because of the Napoleonic Code requiring equal distribution of property and land among all heirs, vineyard ownership in Burgundy is extremely fragmented, with some growers responsible for just one row or even one vine. This system has led to the predominance of the "negociant"—a merchant who purchases fruit from many different growers to vinify and bottle together.

    Burgundy’s cool, marginal climate and Jurassic limestone soils are perfect for the production of elegant, savory, and mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with plenty of acidity. Vintage variation is of particular importance here, as weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable. Spring frost and hail are near-universal risks. The Côte d’Or, a long and narrow escarpment, forms the heart of the region, split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. The former is home to many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines, while Chardonnay plays a much more prominent role in the latter, though outstanding red, white, and rosé are all produced throughout. Other key appellations include the Côte Chalonnaise, home to great value Pinot Noir and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne; the Mâconnais, producing soft and round inexpensive Chardonnay; and Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy and an acidity-lover’s Chardonnay paradise.

    Chardonnay

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    One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

    CLW19994_2005 Item# 91566

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