When I talked to Andrew Tow, owner of The Withers winery, I asked him about the various vineyards he sources from. When speaking of the Charles Vineyard he simply said, “It gave me goosebumps.” Well this wine gives me goosebumps…

About the Wine: The Withers Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from Charles Vineyard in the Anderson Valley AVA, located in California’s Mendocino County. The wine ages in 100% French oak barrels (15% new) for 10 to 12 months and settles in bottle for 6 months prior to release.

13.7% ABV

Flavor Profile:

The Withers 2014 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir is immediately fragrant the second you pop the cork — even from a foot away. Breathe in dark plums, and blackberries that are so overripe with jamminess they’ve fallen from the tree and are now caked into the soles of your muddy boots.

The visual is just as intriguing: it’s a light, royal shade of rouge — a rouge with just a hint of blue-violet — on the pour, settling into the glass just a shade darker at its very core and fading out to a true rouge and, at the very perimeter, a yellow-rouge.

Initial aromas are of violets, lilies, boysenberries, dehydrated strawberries, and indecipherable herbaceousness. Swirl and bring forward the acid — those berry notes become fresher and there’s an added floral note as well. Dive deep to find just a hint of mint and light, tender umami scent wafting in the background with just a touch of smoke and char.

The palate of the The Withers 2014 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir is soft, cottony with tannins; tannins are present but not intimidating. The acid is a solid medium through and through. Dominant flavors are of fresh pomegranate juice, milk chocolate, herbaceous spearmint leaves, black cherry compote, and just a bit of pepper in the back toward the finish. The finish is lingering with a simultaneous gentle coat of tannins and an acidic kick. The after breath is filled with a most enticing cran-cherry juice flavor.

Food Pairing: I paired The Withers 2014 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir with grilled chicken served with roasted vegetables (butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and red onion) garnished with feta, cranberries, and pistachios — and loved this pairing. The grilled chicken brought out some of the earthy aromas — oak and cedar wood — that were a bit hidden when tasting the wine on its own. The softness of the slow-roasted veggies softened those tannins even further, creating a clean, round texture on the palate.

Looking for a white wine to pair with this meal? Try The Withers 2015 English Hill Chardonnay.

More Info: I received The Withers 2014 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Andrew!) Retail: $44. For more information about The Withers, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit The Withers website.

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