It’s like Christmas in February! Happy National Drink Wine Day! A blissful, beautiful day that openly invites you to partake with some vino love and imbibement. But, what to enjoy? As many around the country are just trying to stay warm, a rich red wine would be ideal, like one of these tasty Pinot Noir options. Mainly, open a bottle, cozy up with your sweetheart, and enjoy. #Cheers
My go-to any night for reds is Pinot Noir. Melding freshness and acidity, with ripe fruit, subtle tannin, floral, herb, and earthy forest floor notes, it is the perfect wine to enjoy on its own, or for pairing with anything from salmon to steak.
Historically Chile has been known for producing robust reds from Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and their signature Carmenere. However, the cool-climate regions, like the northern Casablanca region not far from Santiago, are the home of elevated, character-driven Pinot Noir wines. Produced biodynamically and organically, respecting the land and Mother Earth, Veramonte Ritual Pinot Noir ($25) highlights herbal, mineral-intense layers of crushed stone, wild sagebrush, thyme, and lavender, melding into ripe raspberry, red cherry, crushed cranberry, and blood orange with an earthy, dusty leather note on the finish.
A classic expression of Anderson Valley, Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($58) blends fruit from throughout the rugged region, heavily influenced by wind and fog coming off the Pacific to create an earthy, herbaceous wine with notes of wild blackberry and strawberry, soft herbs, dusty leather, and dried tobacco. The palate is easy and harmonious, with energy and power, and overall polish.
From Willamette Valley, Angela Vineyards is nestled into the northern hills of Yamhill-Carlton. From organically farmed fruit, and with a hands-off winemaking approach allowing the terroir to speak through the wines, Angela Vineyards Pinot Noir ($38) shines with a sense of place. Utilizing partial whole-cluster fermentation, and aging of up to 18 months, on the lees (yeasts) in partially new French oak, the wine shows elegance and approachability, melding with lovely texture, structure, and character. On the open, the wine reveals notes of rose and violet, followed by classic cherry, red berry, and pomegranate.
From the Santa Maria Valley, Cambria’s sustainably farmed Tepesquet Vineyard sits nestled on the Santa Maria Bench where Pinot Noir fruit was first planted in 1971 in soils filled with shale, limestone, and sand. With a long growing season filled with very warm days and cool nights, delicate fruit maintains freshness, as shown in Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir ($25) while revealing ripe fruit notes of blackberry, cherry, and cranberry melding with sweet baking spice and a hint of wild herb.
Revealing the essence of Santa Lucia Highlands high elevation vineyards, influenced by cooling breezes coming off the Pacific through the Monterey Bay, Lucienne is Hahn Family Estate’s premier, premium Pinot Noir, crafting in extremely small quantities from their historic estate. Doctor’s Vineyard, sitting at roughly 720 feet above sea level, with gently sloping hillsides, and slightly warmer temperatures than other parts of the estate create a nuanced wine, with Lucienne Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50) layering wild thyme, clove, and sagebrush with fresh blackberry and raspberry, roasted hazelnut, and nutmeg. The wine is aged for 15 months in partially new oak, enhancing the spiced notes and adding a hint of vanilla on the finish.
Twenty-five miles east of Monterey Bay, in the Gavilan Mountains, Calera’s Mt. Harlan Vineyard shows the character that allowing for a long, slow-ripening season can create in premium quality Pinot Noir. Sitting at 2200 feet above sea level, well-draining, mineral-rich, limestone soils create delicate Pinot Noir with freshness and power. Within Mt. Harlan is Calera’s Selleck Vineyard crafting the signature wines of the estate. Calera Selleck Vineyard Pinot Noir ($100) melds juicy fruit-forward character with notes of truffle, wildflower, and dried herb. Lush and rich, complex and expressive, the palate layers black cherry, black tea, and wild sage with a hint of white pepper and nutmeg.