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Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • WE89
14.2% ABV
  • TP92
  • WE91
  • WE92
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The wine's color when young is often compared to that of garnet, frequently being much lighter than that of other red wines. It has aromas of red fruits (raspberries, strawberries, black cherries) with hints of violets and spice. It is rich and complex but also relatively light.

The wine's acidity frames it nicely and will pair well with a number of dishes including pork, chicken, beef and game. The tannins are well-integrated and lead to a long, silky smooth finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 89
Wine Enthusiast
An interesting and challenging wine. Shows some funky, mushroomy notes, along with flavors of cherries, cola, rhubarb and green tomato jam, accompanied by high acidity. It’s Burgundian, in its own way, and could develop in the bottle.
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Terlato Family Vineyards

Terlato Family Vineyards

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Terlato Family Vineyards, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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When Anthony Terlato and his sons Bill and John became winery owners and vintners in 1996, they started with one goal in mind: excellence. The concept was to produce wines that were consistent in quality and as important as those the Terlato family imported and marketed during the last half century. The bar was already set high, because they are associated with the best. The Terlatos invested in vineyards, and state-of-the-art equipment at each of their four wineries in California. Through friendships cultivated over the past fifty years with numerous vineyard and winery owners, they were able to assemble a top notch management team and an elite wine-producing group. This investment resulted in quantum leaps of quality at each of their properties. Now, with the pieces in place, they challenged the winemakers to produce best in class wines for each of the most important grape varieties in the most important appellations in California. This is the vision brought to their namesake label, Terlato Family Vineyards.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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.

SWS313416_2008 Item# 117568