Tag: pinot noir

te Pa 2015 Pinot Noir

The Maori have an expression for Marlborough: “Kei puta te Wairau,” or “The place with the hole in the cloud.” Indeed, it is one of the most sunny and warm-climates regions in New Zealand and, by no consequence, the country’s largest wine producing region with just about 5,000 acres planted to vines.

The larger Marlborough region is divided into three major sub-regions, and it is the Awatere Valley region, south of the Wairau Valley where te Pa has extended their vineyard property. This sub-region spans inland from the ocean and includes elevated areas as it reaches toward the Kaikoura mountain-scape. Here, with its cooler, drier climate and somewhat rocky terrain, the vines incur a lot of vigor, producing Pinot Noir with a noted strength of character. te Pa 2015 Pinot Noir is a beautiful expression of this New Zealand terroir.

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Eric Ross 2013 Nick’s Block Pinot Noir

A former photographer for the SF Chronicle, Eric Luse, founder and winemaker of Eric Ross Winery, stumbled into his passion on his way to a Wine Country photoshoot in the 1980s. Since that time, he’s dedicated the same kind of care and attention to detail in his winemaking as he does with his photography. “Photo-journalism insisted a respect for  the people that allowed me into their lives,” Luse says. Similarly, he prides himself in “respecting the growers, their fruit and making the wine based on the uniqueness,” and making wines that showcase his “respect for the quality fruit and (his) desire for you, the consumer, to ‘Taste The Vineyard.'” The journalist in Luse makes him crave realism and, as such, we’ll only find “real” fruit qualities in his wines — no filters or photoshop; no heavy-handed oak or excessive, forceful fermentation. Respect. Honesty. Realism. Quality.

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Illahe Vineyards 2014 Project 1899 Pinot Noir

Brad Ford, winemaker at Illahe Vineyards, is the fourth generation to live on the Dallas, Oregon property. His family settled here in the 1880s, around the same time grape farming and winemaking was first established in the Northwest. But the Ford’s main business was dairy farming and cherry orchards — that is until Brad’s father, Lowell, planted an experimental acre of müller-thurgau (a sort-of Riesling hybrid) in 1983. From that time on, the Fords became a successful grape growing and selling family business, pioneering modern Northwestern wine education.

It wasn’t until Brad decided to completely change careers that Illahe turned to winemaking. The former carpenter turned grant writer turned English instructor ultimately transformed into a winemaker — a career he finds satisfies him mentally, physically, and creatively. In 2004 he worked his first harvest alongside his father and in 2006 Illahe Vineyards bottled their first vintage.

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Red Stitch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir

We all know the story. Former SF Giants baseball teammates Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts have teamed up once again — this time in the vineyard field. Alongside winemaker, Rolando Herrera from Mi Sueño Winery and Herrera Wines, Red Stitch serves up some classically-styled Napa Cabs. Their latest game-changer is their somewhat recent addition of Santa Lucia Highland vineyards, Soberanes and Sierra Mar, to craft what, to my palate, are two completely polar opposite Pinots.

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Bohème Wines 2012 Stuller Vineyard Pinot Noir

Bohème Wines takes its name based on its Bohemian Highway location along the Sonoma Coast. Back in 1872 a San Francisco-based men’s club, the Bohemian Club was established — a group of artists, prominent business leaders, even a few government officials. In 1878, the men decided to follow the Bohemian Highway route to what is now referred to as the Bohemian Grove. Here the club would host a two to three week encampment celebrating art in all forms — whether created by man or nature.

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