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Flat front label of wine

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

All Vintages
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 to just above Monterey county. Elevation ranges from just 800 feet to upwards of 3000, and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lay. Cool ocean winds and fog play an important role as well. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. 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, and Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for their distinct minerality and balanced acidity. Often these wines can be aged for many years. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

YNG197529_2009 Item# 118981