During my last Sonoma wine country trip, I stayed right in the heart of downtown Healdsburg. With loads of restaurants, tasting rooms, and boutique shops, it’s an absolute delight for all the senses. But I’m telling you right now, if I lived in town, Banshee would be my hangout spot. And that seems to be the general consensus at this quirky, casual, albeit a bit hipster, tasting room and lounge in downtown Healdsburg. 

And what can you expect from winemaker Noah Dorrance? Well today I bring you a Sonoma County Pinot Noir that fits right in with the cool-kid vibe of Banshee.

banshee_pinot-noir

Please Note: Due to a contract-related conflict, a full review of Banshee Wines will come at a later date on another site — exact link will be listed when available. Cheers!

About the Wine: Banshee Wines Sonoma County Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from 17 different vineyards located in the Sonoma County — including both Banshee-owned sites and partner vineyards. A majority of the grapes used (about 81%) hails from the coast side — something you’ll immediately recognize even in the aroma of Banshee Pinot Noir.

The grapes went through primary native yeast fermentation in open-top steel tanks for 14 to 21 days with about 3% maintaining whole cluster. The wine then aged in French oak barrels (20% new) for 11 months.

13.6% ABV

Flavor Profile: The Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir pours a bit darker than you’d expect for a Pinot Noir. There’s just the slightest tint of brown haloing around the perimeter as you tilt the glass. The aroma is a bit dark as well, but a fruit-filled darkness: think dried fruits that have been soaked in water, plumping up into juicy deliciousness. Swirl and sniff again and there’s the most delicate scent of deep reddish-black rose petals. Breathe a bit deeper and you can even smell the brambly, thorny bush.

Despite all that darkness on the eyes and nose of the wine, the palate is quite clean. Indeed those dried fruits did fill up with liquid, softening the texture and clarifying the juice into a fresh-rain-like quality. The tannins are quite subtle, just enough to give the wine a balanced body from start to finish, never gripping or pulling on the tastebuds. And the finish is just as refreshing as the start, leaving a bit of lingering earthiness in the aftertaste — like the damp floor of a foggy morning.

Food Pairing: This wine is chocked full of subtle complexities and you can easily celebrate those varied nuances with the right meal. Think about a gamier meat — I’m thinking duck breast with crisped skin — to bring out the earthiness in the wine. Use those dark fruits you sensed on the nose as an inspiration for a sticky sauce or glaze (blueberry, blackberry, or even fig-reduction sauces would work well here). A simple side of a natural grain (faro, quinoa, even barley), will do well to round out the meal both in taste and texture without overwhelming the wine.

Of course, this wine can also be casual and fun. So if you want to invite it to your Pizza and Pinot Party, it would certainly make a welcome guest.

More Info: I purchased Banshee Wines Sonoma County Pinot Noir at Whole Foods (Sale Price: $20).

Because I cannot yet post a full review of Banshee Wines, please do visit the Banshee Wines website for more information about their wines and how to plan your visit.


BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page and then Contact Me directly. Cheers!

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