Thanks to the movie Sideways, Santa Barbara is probably one of the most popular Pinot Noir regions in our Golden State. But regardless of what you think of the film, Santa Barbara has earned its positive reputation. Something about the consistently cool climate, the sedimentary sea-influenced soils, not to mention the winemaking culture in the area — it all seems to create the perfect Pinot atmosphere. As Karen MacNeil says, “Within an hour of being in the South Central Coast, you’re so mellow that drinking really good Pinot Noir strikes you as a constitutional right.” I’ll pledge allegiance to that…
About the Wine: Not knowing much about the winemaking process, I want to talk a bit about where I got this wine: NakedWines.com. Think of crowdfunding for winemakers. The website is dedicated to securing angel funding that goes directly to up-and-coming, boutique winemakers — world wide. With the contributed money, NakedWines.com is not only able to help the budding wine industry, but also consumers by offering wines at a reduced cost. As they say, “We don’t invest in sales, marketing, fancy packaging and other things you can’t taste. Which means you get more bang for your buck.”
It’s probably one of the best wine clubs you can join. With a broad portfolio of wines from around the world, it’s fun and easy to pick what ships in your monthly delivery. Added bonus: these aren’t the wines you’ll find at your local grocer, wine shop, or traditional online wine retailers.
Anyway, I think it’s a cool idea and it led me to this most enjoyable Pinot Noir…
Flavor Profile: The minute you pull the appropriately suggestive cork from the Boyer Cellars 2016 Pinot Noir, there are instantaneous aromas of red cherries, raspberries, and the funk of white pepper.
The wine pours like a liquid red gem — and is still so aromatic. In the glass, the Pinot Noir emits an iridescent shade of violet-red with a dusty rouge perimeter. The nose of the Boyer 2016 Pinot Noir is bursting with red cherries, over-ripe strawberries, hints of anise, cacao, and dried rose petals. Swirl and release an oak barrel herbaceousness, dried violet petals, dried lavender dust, and a solid level of acidity that amplifies all of these aromas.
On the palate, this Pinot Noir is full, bold, but oh-so-smooth. Dominant flavors are of red cherries, vanilla, baking spices (like nutmeg, maybe even clove, and that “dry” heat that’s associated w/cinnamon — but not the flavor). There’s also a bit of nuttiness and milk chocolate hiding in the background. Just as suspected from the nose, the acidity is a solid ride from beginning to end. The tannins must be there because this is a structurally secure red wine, but they melt so seamlessly into the experience, one wouldn’t even notice they were there. The Boyer Cellars 2016 Pinot Noir is solid, but silky.
Food Pairing: I paired the Boyer Cellars 2016 Pinot Noir with a grilled filet mignon and a green apple and walnut salad. This was an absolutely perfect pairing as the filet mignon — a lighter red meat, cooked medium rare — matched the theme of the Pinot Noir: that solid, but silky (or in the meat’s case soft) experience. The filet also had a bit of a peppercorn crust that accentuated the funk of the dried floral notes in the wine. The salad, namely the green apples and nuts, brought out the vibrancy of the fruit elements in the wine.
Yes, perfect pairing — and one, I suspect, you wouldn’t imagine appropriate for a Pinot Noir.
More Info: I received the Boyer 2016 Pinot Noir as a sample for review, courtesy of NakedWines.com. (Cheers Ryan and Nicole!) Retail: $17.99 through NakedWines.com. For more information about Rick Boyer, his wines, and to purchase his wines directly, please visit his profile page on NakedWines.com.
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