I’m going to be honest here and say that I don’t have an elegant introduction to go along with this wine. This is the first time in a long time that I chose a wine based on its label. First of all, I’ve never had a wine from Lincoln before, although I’ve heard there are some quality wines coming from that old-town region. And what better way than to experiment with one of my favorite varietals? The name of the winery was intriguing. And that owl? Come on — that’s pretty bad ass, no? Alright, now that we’ve dissected the obvious information, let’s dive in and taste, shall we?

About the Wine: The Wise Villa Winery 2016 Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Wise Villa Winery estate vineyards located in Lincoln, California. The grapes were fermented at low temperatures and aged in new French oak barrels.

13% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Wise Villa Winery 2016 Pinot Noir and breathe in deep scents of black cherry jam. As the Pinot pours from bottle to glass, it’s pale rouge in color; in the glass it’s a beautiful cranberry shade at the very core, fading out to a maroon with a tinge of brown hanging around the outermost layer.

Initial aromas are of cherry, cranberry, a hint of chai-like or black tea spice. Swirl and now know for a fact, those are black tea leaves you smell — it’s a watery tea scent. Take a deep breath in to find the acidity and a very light floral perfume quality. Swirl again and enliven those cranberries and find them infused with fresh green herbs.

The palate of the Wise Villa Winery 2016 Pinot Noir is quite open — it’s silky, it’s soft, with tannins that come in at the very end, just brushing the tongue and providing a solid finish. Dominant flavors are of cherry, cranberry, candied-smoked bacon, bramble, and blood orange-vanilla on the finish.

My conclusion is that, blind, I would not guess that this is a Pinot Noir. The way it tells its tannic tale so maturely…

Food Pairing: I enjoyed the Wise Villa Winery 2016 Pinot Noir over the course of two nights. The first night I paired the Pinot with a vegetarian cauliflower rice pilaf. The more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and spinach) along with the black pepper seasoning, brought out the hidden floral notes in the wine.

The second night those tea notes were more obvious, the tannins more slight, and the body of the wine just a tad more robust. Fuller and stronger, this wine pairs well with a more robust, smokey meal. Vegetarians, roast that eggplant. Carnivores get the grill prepped for a steak.

A beautiful, complex Pinot Noir. Unlike any Pinot Noir I’ve ever had.

More Info: I received the Wise Villa Winery 2016 Pinot Noir as a gift. (Cheers Jim!) Retail: $39.37 — Wine Club Member Exclusive. For more information about Wise Villa Winery, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Wise Villa Winery website.

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