I don’t have a great way to introduce this wine, but I will say that Halcón’s 2015 Cerise Vineyards Pinot Noir is the perfect way to conclude this brief featured series on the winery. Like all the wines I’ve tasted from Halcón, this Pinot Noir is beautifully nuanced — in this case so much so that words (almost) escape me. One thing you should know is that if this wine intrigues you as much as it does me, you’ll want to grab a bottle ASAP — this is Halcón’s first and only vintage using fruit from Cerise Vineyards, as it has since been sold to Kosta Browne.
About the Wine: The Halcón Vineyards Cerise Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from Cerise Vineyards, which is located 1200ft above Boonville in California’s Anderson Valley AVA. This Pinot Noir is made with 80% Wädenswil clone and 20% Dijon clone 115. The grapes were pressed with 35% whole-cluster inclusion. The wine aged in French oak barrels (20% new).
Flavor Profile: Upon first opening the Halcón Vineyards 2015 Cerise Pinot Noir, the aromas coming out of the bottle are quite closed-off, if not a bit dark and ominous: dark purple flowers, plump dates, and warm yeast fermenting away. These are not necessarily aromas one equates with Pinot Noir — even if just sniffing above the bottle neck. Pour the wine and find the most intriguing hue of light-brown-meets-pink as the fluid flows from bottle to glass. Once settled in the glass, the only way I can describe the color is “baby-rouge:” a softer, paler — maybe pastel-er — version of rouge, that fades on out to a kind of dingy yellow hue along the perimeter. Again, a coloring not often associated with a Pinot Noir color.
Initial aromas are of wild strawberries, floral perfume, fresh fig, and indecipherable green herbs. Swirl and find the earthy elements: cedar wood, wet sandy soil, and a very pale salinity — like a warm ocean breeze on a sunny day.
The palate of the Halcón Vineyards 2015 Cerise Pinot Noir — now this is where things get interesting. It’s light, smooth, borderline round except for that delicately increasing acidity. The texture is quite glossy, leaving a truly sexy, sensuous feeling on the tongue. All the actual flavors of this Pinot Noir are so subtle and so well combined, that it’s nearly impossible to pick them out. I turned to my partner in wine crime who claimed he couldn’t pick out any single flavor — “but it tastes good!” (The most important tasting note if you ask me.) To me, flavors included white cherries, cedar, a hint of vanilla, wild strawberries, and an edible-flower like “vegetation” (if it can be called that). But truly the experience of this wine is in its lightness, its character in its texture, and its enjoyment in the fact that you can’t quite figure it out.
At least I couldn’t. And at some point put down my pen and pad and just enjoyed a damn fine wine.
Food Pairing: Doesn’t matter. Seriously. I mean don’t have anything too heavy or spicy that’ll overshadow this wine. But honestly, taste this wine on its own and then decide what kind of meal you think will pair well — if anything!
More Info: I received the Halcón Vineyards Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Paul!) Retail: $35. For more information about Halcón Vineyards, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Halcón Vineyards website.
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