Hello Arroyo Seco, I love your Pinot Noirs. Sunken beneath the Santa Lucia Highlands, you love the ocean air as much as I do, hugging it, holding it, as it feeds your grapes. You get just enough sun to let those berries bud, but use the foothill range to shield them from harsh winds. And in the right winemakers hands, you give us Pinot Noir wine so uniquely your own.

About the Wine: The Ranch 32 2015 Estate Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Ranch 32 estate vineyards located in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey, California. The wine aged in 100% French oak (based on tasting, I’m guessing predominantly neutral, but exact percentage of new — if any — is unknown) for 12 months.

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Ranch 32 2015 Estate Pinot Noir and breathe in fun, funky, beach-like aromas: it’s a night out near the water, your feet clamp into the cakey, damp sand. You breathe in the fresh fog. Inhale, exhale. This is home.

The color of the Pinot Noir is in keeping with that theme, presenting a foggy rouge on the pour. It settles into the glass more jewel-like at the very core, fading out toward that rouge and, at it’s ultimate perimeter, a sandy-water brown.

Initial aromas are of boysenberries, marionberries, oak wood, a slight herbaceous or even vegetative quality, and yes that funk. Swirl and find the depth and earthiness of the nighttime sand. Fruits stay in the background. The complexity is intriguing.

The palate of Ranch 32 2015 Estate Pinot Noir is where you find the fruit, presenting itself as fresh, tart raspberries. There’s also a smokiness — a smokey, oaky, wood influence that culminates into a bonfire-like finish. The body maintains a light structure from start to finish, tannins only providing a light sketch to this wine’s portrait. The acidity on the other hand is medium plus, keeping the flavors and the spirit of the wine absolutely alive.

Food Pairing: I paired the Ranch 32 2015 Estate Pinot Noir with a salmon pasta, complete with mushrooms, onions, feta, all tossed in a tomato sauce. Loved this pairing. The saltiness of the salmon brought forward more fruit flavors not detected when sipping the wine on its own. Admittedly dark, the wine presented black cherry and blackberry notes quite voluptuously. The acidity in the tomato sauce brought highlighted the light body and innate freshness that the acidity in the wine produces. A well balanced food and wine pairing that I would absolutely do again.

More Info: I received the Ranch 32 2016 Estate Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Jean and Marjorie!) Retail: $20. For more information about Ranch 32, their wines, and to order wines directly, please visit the Ranch 32 website.

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