Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saintsbury Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2006

This label says Cerise Vineyard, and, from the time I pop the cork, I smell cherries, beautiful cherries. Dark cherries but also bing cherries and other red berries. Very fruity, even at 10 years of age, but multifaceted and beautiful.

Cerise is the French word for cherry, and the vineyard is in the Anderson Valley, on a steep southwest facing slope not far from the ocean--fog in the morning, sun in the afternoon, cool temperatures overnight. Knez and Chronicle also produce Pinot Noirs from this highly regarded vineyard. Saintsbury's plot is near the top (1000 to 1300 feet elevation) planted with Pommard and Dijon clones.

On the palate, the wine reveals itself as distinctly Anderson Valley. Compared to Russian River Pinots, which I also love, the Anderson Valley product is intense and pure, oriented more toward fruit than spice. Not as dark but more vibrant. Cairanne rather than Rasteau. This 2006 wine was aged in 50% new French oak, but at this stage of development I can't detect any oak influence. Has the delicacy and texture appropriate for Rainbow trout and Hasselback potatoes. In my opinion, Anderson Valley is one of the best spots from growing fine Pinot Noir.

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