Along with Wente and Chateau Ste Michelle, Chateau St. Jean is another wine producer that has established itself as a regular in our cellar. I first fell in love with CSJ after tasting their standard Chardonnay — totally Cal-oaked to perfection — and I have to say I knew the love was real after tasting their Pinot Noir. Light and lively, there’s nothing serious about Chateau St. Jean’s Sonoma County Pinot Noir — it’s simply easy drinking for any night of the week.

chateau-st-jean-sonoma-coast-pinot-noir-2012

About the Wine: Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from various estate and partner vineyards across the Sonoma Coast. The grapes underwent a three-day cold soak prior to primary fermentation. After the primary fermentation, the wine was transferred to barrels for secondary, malolactic fermentation. Aging occurred in 100% French oak barrels (25% new) for seven months.

14.2% ABV

Flavor Profile: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Good wine is like a good book or movie. And something like Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Pinot Noir — that you can keep in the cellar and drink whenever you plain feel like it — suffers the risk of over-indulgence. What I mean is, if you have it too often, you may become numb to what makes it so special. If this is the case, I encourage you to go away and come back, as I did with this CSJ PN.

This wine, as I said, is not fancy, and I’m not going to play it up like it is — but it is good wine. On the pour, you’ll see a slightly darker or dirtier purple, but still in the realm of typical Pinot Noir. On the nose you’ll be delighted by the bouquet of fresh fruits with a subtle hint of moist soil in the background. The palate is a celebration of that garden — cranberries, dark cherries, even a bit of plum burst forward on the tongue. Acidity is subtle, but just enough to give the wine some vibrancy. Let the wine linger a bit and you’ll get more of that damp, fertile earth you may have sensed on the nose, along with a bit of a floral element, like a single red rose sprouting from the ground. The tannins, too, are quite subtle, but just enough to give the wine its balance. It’s a solid medium-bodied red wine that, through its flavor profile, provides enough lightness to, well, just keep drinking.

Food Pairing: Pair this wine with whatever you like. Really. This is a Goldilocks of a Pinot Noir — everything’s “just right.” And because of that balance, you can enjoy Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Pinot Noir with anything from a salad to a burger. Or, you could do what I did, and throw yourself a Pinot and pizza party (if you didn’t know, I totally love my Pinot and pizza parties).

More Info: If you haven’t ready my reviews for other Chateau St. Jean varietals, please do so. Thus far, I’ve only been able to sample what’s available to me at the grocery store. I purchased the Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Pinot Noir at Safeway (Sale Price: $15). However, I understand that if you go to the estate you can sample their limited releases and reserves during one of their elevated tasting experiences. Don’t know that I’ll be able to make it up there soon, but I would love to try something from their Cinq Cépages series, which focuses on Bordeaux-style blends.

For more information about Chateau St. Jean including how to book a reservation at the estate and order wines directly, please do visit the Chateau St. Jean website.


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