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TAZ Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
    14.5% ABV
    • WE91
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    14.5% ABV

    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 depth and complexity. The first component of the blend comes from our North Canyon Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley at the northern edge of Santa Barbara. This vineyard yields a soft and silky Pinot with delicate floral notes and red fruit character. The lots from North Canyon Vineyard are complemented by grapes from our Fiddlestix Vineyard in the Sta. 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.

    Critical Acclaim

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    TAZ
    TAZ, Central Coast, California
    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.

    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

    Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

    While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

    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.

    SWS253901_2009 Item# 114350