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Vine Hill Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
  • WE90
13.9% ABV
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3.2 5 Ratings
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3.2 5 Ratings
13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Bright raspberry and cranberry fruit aromas mingle with earthy anise characters. Orange peel and tobacco accent flavors of blueberry and dark cherry. Notes of chocolate and vanilla compliment the fruit and interact nicely with the soft tannins and natural acidity of the wine.

Try pairing with an earthy Portobello Mushroom ravioli.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Rich and satisfying, it has a ton of cherry and cola fruit that is wrapped into firm tannins and made brisk with acidity. The finish is dry and spicy. Not an ager, but it’s a beautiful wine to drink now with a great steak.
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Vine Hill

Vine Hill Winery

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Vine Hill Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
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There is something really satisfying about seeing a long-held dream unfolding before your eyes. Such is the circumstance in which Nick Guerrero, Managing Partner of Vine Hill Winery finds himself. Nick and his team have embarked on a journey that continues a long tradition of winemaking in the historic Vine Hill Wine District. Established in 1867 by George and John Jarvis the wine district housed the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Company of which John Jarvis was the president until his death in 1892. Jarvis also founded Union Vineyard in 1877. It is this historic site that is today's Vine Hill Winery.

Nick sees himself as the team's "coach." He lets each individual create their own template for success and is always there to lend a guiding hand as needed. "Putting other's first" was not always Nick's mantra, but as he has evolved, so has his opinion on managing people. He believes that the winery environment engenders an individual's reach for excellence and the ability to collaborate for the common good. Nick understands that this opportunity cannot always be seized in larger, corporate environments, or on the manufacturing room floor. That is why he feels extremely lucky to be surrounded by such outstanding individuals in an environment where their greatest success is celebrating great winemaking and all the efforts that support this goal.

Santa Cruz Mountains

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A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.

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.

YNG197529_2009 Item# 118981