This was my first experience with Scheid Vineyards—a winery I’ve heard a lot about and isn’t far from my home base. When I had the opportunity to interview Dave Nagengast, director of winemaking for Scheid, for an article in Wines & Vines December/January Collector’s Edition, I was intrigued by the innovative spirit of the winey, and my interest piqued even further. Luckily (and completely coincidentally), I was contacted by the winery’s PR rep about sampling the wines. That would be an enthusiastic yes…

About the Wine: The Scheid Vineyards 2016 Doctor’s Vineyards Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from Doctor’s Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highland AVA of Monterey County, California. According to the winery, Doctor’s Vineyard is planted on the southeast facing terraces of the Santa Lucia mountain range, which overlooks the Salinas River Valley.

Grapes were picked by hand, then destemmed, but not crushed, and placed into small fermentation bins  to cold soak for 2 to 3 days. The juice was then fermented in small lots in open top fermenters, receiving regular punchdowns 3 times daily, then settled on skins for two weeks before pressing. The remaining must was drained and pressed into 100% stainless steel tanks.  After settling the heavy solids, the juice was racked clean to barrels for secondary fermentation and aging.

The wine aged in 100% French oak barrels (38% new) for 18 months.

The wine was bottled unfiltered.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Scheid Vineyards 2016 Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir and breath in aromas of dark purple fruits, hints of decadence like chocolate or cherry sauce, and a jus-like umami. This Pinot Noir emits a dusty purple maroon color on the pour, settling into the glass the very definition of rouge. It’s completely see-through and fades out to a kind of burnt orange and ultimately to a soft rose color at the outer-most perimeter.

Initial aromas are all about that floral perfume of fresh flowers. Fruit scents are of brighter, redder fruits than sensed from the bottle, and still that hint of decadence looms over it all. Swirl, and define those red fruits: wild strawberry, pomegranate.

The palate of the Scheid Vineyards 2016 Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is soft, cottony with tannins, but with a consistently bright acidity. The finish is simultaneously drying, yet spice-filled. Dominant flavors are of wild strawberry, branchy bramble, cardamom, cherry liqueur lingers in the background, and an after breath of dried herbs like basil and marjoram.

Food Pairing: I paired the Scheid Vineyards 2016 Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir with a grilled chicken thigh served with roasted butternut squash and side salad. This was a perfectly lovely pairing. In fact, my partner suggested that this Pinot Noir was meant to be paired with poultry. The red fruit flavors of the wine added a much needed brightness and freshness to the dish. The salad, which was tossed with a bit of goats cheese, helped round out the mouthfeel of the wine as well as brought out those herbaceous notes previously only sensed on the back breath.

As the evening progressed, the wine did evolve—fruits became more voluptuous, showing off their sugars, the decadence becoming more pronounced.

More Info: I received the Scheid Vineyards 2016 Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Jean!) Price: $75. For more information about Scheid Vineyards, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Scheid Vineyards website.

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