I’ve got another wine secret for you. Remember my first post about Bailiwick Wines — a completely under-the-radar Sonoma winery discovered at a local discount grocer? Well, they’re back on the blog and better than ever with this Pinot Noir made from Alexander Valley grapes. Burgundian purists, hold on to your berets — Bailiwick Wines 2014 Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir can compete with the Frenchiest.

About the Wine: I really can’t tell you too much about Bailiwick — I can’t tell if they’re going out of business or are just a couple of quiet guys. So I’ll just keep this section quite short and say…

The Bailiwick 2011 Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from Londer Vineyard located in Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Only 200 cases were made.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: The Bailiwick 2011 Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir emits very little aroma from the bottle. If you’re super curious, stick your nose just above (or slightly inside) and inhale. There’s a savory scent, like the umami of sautéed mushrooms.

In the glass the Pinot Noir is a dusty tan red, like rusty metal pipe water. And yet, there’s an iridescence to it, as that mucky color is very much translucent.

Initial aromas include black cherry, wet red rose petals, and thorny bushes. On the palate the wine is beautifully floral with flavors of those damp red roses sensed on the nose along with pink cherry blossoms. But these bushes do have thorns — there’s a rustic earthiness that constantly comes through paralleling every perfumy note. I can’t help it, this wine is an angry rose bush being pushed about by wind and rain. There’s some kick-up from the ground that flies in the face of the flower — something got in her eye: There’s a spice kick to this wine — nearly indecipherable, it’s the sneaky attack of a white pepper.

The background flavors of the Bailiwick Pinot Noir harkens back to that umami. There’s a meatiness, but it’s the soft-textured, delicate meatiness of a well-cooked portobello mushroom. Well-cooked, but not well-washed, you can still taste the soil from where the shroom was foraged.

For all of these crazy tasting notes, the Bailiwick Pinot Noir is a very light-bodied wine. The gluggability rating for this is off the charts. I almost don’t want to say that, though, because the sheer elegance of this wine should not be rated on a gluggable scale.

The tannins are present but soft. Acid is a consistent thin line from start to finish. The fruit to earth to savory elements are all equal ratios.

Food Pairing: I paired the Bailiwick 2011 Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir with a very simple salmon pasta, served with red sauce, sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and onion. The acid in the tomatoes enhanced the fruit elements in the wine while the mushrooms (obviously) enhanced the earthy components. What I really enjoyed was the medium to light body of the wine — it was the perfect wine to cut through the fatty fish and the glutinous pasta.

Perfect pairing? I’d say so, but I could also see creating a more refined, elevated dish in celebration of this Pinot Noir. One ingredient I wouldn’t change, however, is the salmon.

More Info: If you haven’t yet read my post on the Bailiwick Wines 2013 Sonoma County Pinot Noir definitely do. It’s certainly the Londer Vineyards more casual counterpart. I received the Bailiwick 2011 Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir as a gift. (Cheers, Dave!) Retail: $44 For more information about Bailiwick and to purchase their wines directly, visit the Bailiwick Wines website.


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