I first met Tim and Melissa of Betwixt Wine during the 2016 Pinot Days in San Francisco. During that conference I had the opportunity to try their 2014 Pinot Noir from Lester Family Vineyards. When I visited their downtown SF winery a few weeks later to taste a line-up of their current and up-coming releases, somehow this Pinot Noir still stood out as a notch above the rest. Take a bottle home? Yes, please!
And so I did, bring it home, share it, and enjoyed it. Now I must write all about it so you, too, can procure and enjoy Betwixt’s 2014 Pinot Noir.
About the Wine: Betwixt Wine prides itself in creating unique wines from small lot vineyards in their very small winery in the heart of San Francisco. What makes the wines unique is winemaker Tim Telli’s hands-off approach to the winemaking process. With natural fermentation, gentle pressing techniques, and final products that are always unfined and unfiltered, Betwixt truly tells the story of a wine’s time and terroir.
In the case of the 2014 Pinot Noir from Lester Family Vineyards, we are taken to the cool coast of the Santa Cruz Mountains where the sea salt air and the mountain’s minerality take center stage.
This wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, aged 10 months in French oak (50% new oak), 13.8 ABV
Flavor Profile: Visually the wine is stunning. You can tell from the deep ruby read that this Pinot Noir, though young, packs in a lot of fantastic flavor. The nose is ripe with black cherries along with savory herbs like thyme and tarragon, and there is just a whisper of that maritime fog hanging in the background. But the taste and texture on the palate is where this wine truly stands out. The acid is quite low, but there’s just enough to give a subtle hint of tartness, reminiscent of a just underripe red berry. Overall, this Pinot Noir is smooth from start to finish — with the perfect amount of new French oak, the wine provides a soft, round mouthfeel without an overwhelmingly “woody” flavor. The tannin level is low (maybe medium-low), providing the herbaceous-ness sensed on the nose on the palate as well. The finish is a lingering clean one, leaving the desire for another sip…
For me, the 2014 Pinot Noir from Lester Family Vineyard truly exemplifies what Betwixt Wine is all about — a hands-off, natural approach to the the growth and fermentation process and their artistic endeavor for the ideal balance of flavor. This wine is a portrait of the grape from the ground up — the earth the vine was grafted in, the juice of the perfectly plump fruit, and just a hint of the sea salt air from that Santa Cruz coastline. You can taste the love in the wine — the time it took to ferment the grapes just the right amount; the decision to add a certain percentage of new oak barrel aged wine; the attention to detail regarding the right amount of tannins to balance the overall taste and texture. Like a chef plating a well-rounded and balanced dish, so is this Pinot Noir.
Food Pairing: This is a well-rounded medium bodied red wine that could easily be enjoyed on its own or with food. I would recommend an oily fish like salmon or trout to bring out some of the body in the wine. Side dishes that include fresh herbs, like a rice pilaf or even a salad, would bring forth those herbaceous notes in the wine even more. Of course, something like pizza that has just the right ratio of fats to freshness would work just as well.
More Info: You can read more about my private tasting experience at Girls on Food. Personally, I received this bottle as a gift from Tim and Melissa (Cheers!), but it is available on their site for purchase (Price: $35). For more information about Betwixt and their current releases, please visit their website.
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