As temperatures rise, light to medium-bodied wines are on the list for easy enjoyment on their own or paired with lighter fare like grilled salmon or chicken, light pasta or rice dishes, or big summer salads. Here are five perfect Pinots for each day of this week.
Pinot Noir is a very finicky, difficult-to-grow, the variety that can often produce wines tasting more like a grape jolly rancher than quality red wine. However, when done well, it can produce some of the most mesmerizing wines in the world. Harmoniously melding structured concentration with lively freshness, FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($42) reveals depth, texture, and refinement through each balanced, beautiful sip. Fragrant and inviting, opening with layers of wild rose, vanilla, citrus blossom, and black fruits, leading to a palate filled with spice, black and blue fruits, dusty forest floor, and cedar. Balanced and beautiful, with the rustic beauty and character that defines Anderson Valley.
The SLO Coast AVA is one of the newest designated AVAs in California, encompassing Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, and the area surrounding them. Located in the southern portion of the Central Coast near the towns of Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Avila Beach, SLO Coast enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in California. Thanks to the close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, vineyards lying just off the coast develop their fruit slowly, enjoying months of refrigerated sunshine, with temperature swings from day to night of anywhere from 30 – 50 degree differences during the summer and autumn months. Cool-climate varieties are able to slowly ripen, ensuring phenolics develop gradually, resulting in wines with incredible harmony, consistency, and weight. Baileyana Firepeak Pinot Noir ($30) from within Edna Valley shines with vibrancy and energy, with great acidity balancing ripe red and black fruits with freshness. Aromas of soft herbs, blackberry, vanilla, and violets open the wine, followed by plush flavors of blueberry, juicy cherry cola, and strawberry.
From sandy, loamy soils in Sta. Rita Hills, Brewer Clifton Machado Pinot Noir ($85) highlights the structure, density, and balance of Pinot Noir wines from the area highlighting a mineral-rich, earthy quality. Crafted utilizing whole cluster fermentation, utilizing neutral oak, highlighting the gifts Mother Nature gives to the fruit of the area, creating a wine with mineral-rich earthiness, melding with layers of strawberry and rhubarb, black tea, blackberry, and crushed stone. Elegant and elevated, a beauty to enjoy now but with the capability of being aged up to a decade, maintaining freshness and elegant appeal.
Sitting just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Sebastopol Hills of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley the Pillow Road Vineyard enjoys balmy summer days that lead to cool summer nights, ripening delicate fruit while locking in freshness, the common requirement for producing stellar Pinot Noir wines. Ladera Pillow Road Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65) captures this freshness with an alluring wine filled with pleasure and elegance. Utilizing partial whole cluster fermentation further highlights the energy and vibrancy of the fruit. Aged for 15 months in partially new French oak, the resulting wine is subtle, balanced, and sleek, layering herbal and floral notes with juicy pomegranate and cranberry notes, red cherry, and cola. An easy wine to enjoy with or without food (like charcuterie and hard cheese) as the palate is generous and inviting. But, sip slowly as you will want to savor each delicious moment of this beauty.
Wild strawberry, raspberry, soft herbs, and violet aromas lift from the glass of Stoller Reserve Pinot Noir ($65.) Crafted from primarily Pommard clone of Pinot Noir that thrives in the volcanic soils of Willamette Valley’s Dundee Hills, the luscious, layered, lively wine is the ideal summertime, balancing ripe fruit notes with bright acidity. Nicely textured, thanks to 12 months of barrel age and an additional six months of aging in stainless steel on the lees (yeasts) after undergoing full malolactic conversion. The resulting wine delivers texture, richness, and depth to the juicy medium-bodied wine that opens with bright red fruit, and finishes with vanilla, spice, and earthy mushroom notes.