Carneros bridges the southern part of Napa and Sonoma Valleys. It's a distinct cooler climate AVA than most other parts of either valley. While many other grape varietals are planted and sometimes prosper there Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are their bread butter, not to mention stand out varieties. As I mentioned the other day Artesa Winery makes several examples of each. Today's wine is a Pinot Noir from their Classic Tier. The 2006 Carneros Pinot Noir from Artesa Winery was made from hand harvested fruit. The juice was aged in French oak barrels. Just under 13,000 cases of this wine was produced and the suggested retail price is $25.
The Artesa Winery Carneros Pinot Noir is reticent at first, needing some air before it begins to fully emote. 45 minutes in the decanter seemed to do the trick and then it was fully expressive. Major black cherry and vanilla notes are the stars of an inviting nose. Taking the first sip, dark cherry and subtle strawberry notes, followed by star anise, highlight the solidly fruity, lush mid-palate. These characteristics carry though the finish which also features an emerging earthiness, mushroom, clove spice and light lingering toast.. Within the world of Pinot Noir this is a medium bodied wine. It's balanced by terrific acidity.
What I like best about this offering is that it's a Pinot Noir made in the proper fashion. Oak influence is present, but never overwhelming. The soft, layered fruit is allowed to be the star. This is a Pinot Noir to drink in the first 3-4 years of its life. This offering is enjoyable on its own and will also be an excellent match for many lighter meals, particularly mushroom based dishes.
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