Walt La Brisa Pinot Noir 2017
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The 2017 Pinot Noir La Brisa comes from a handful of sites on the Sonoma Coast and spent ten months in 40% new French oak. It's made in decent quantities and offers a first-rate bouquet of spice black cherries, wild strawberries, incense, forest floor, and spice. Rounded, nicely textured, balanced, and undeniably well-made, as well as delicious, it's ideal for readers looking for a high-quality Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir that offers fruit and texture.
WALT is dedicated to the production of premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Pacific Coast's most distinctive vineyard sites, spanning nearly 1000 miles and including Sta. Rita Hills, Sonoma County, Anderson Valley, and the Willamette Valley. Their philosophy is that of precision, non-interventionist winemaking, thereby allowing the wines to naturally and honestly express the character of the site where the wines are grown. Under the artisanship of Director of Winemaking Steve Leveque and Winemaker Megan Gunderson, WALT Wines will continue to evolve and develop.
Located in the heart of Sonoma, just off the historic Sonoma Plaza, WALT Wines focuses on sourcing Pinot Noir fruit from premiere appellations stretching from Oregon's Willamette Valley to the Santa Rita Hills in California to craft the finest wines possible.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.
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.
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.