The Santa Cruz Mountains figures prominently in the next stop for The 12 Days of Pinot Noir. While the current site of the Bargetto Winery has been in the family since 1918, the family had already been in the business for several years in the San Francisco area. Currently the third generation is at the helm making wine and running the operation. That makes them the oldest continually run winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Their 40 acre Regan Estate Vineyards is sustainably farmed. Sustainable practices continue outside of the vineyard and all the way through production. Pinot Noir plays a serious role at Bargetto Winery and I’m going to look at three of their Pinots. Two are consecutive vintages of their Santa Cruz Mountains, and the third their current release Reserve Pinot Noir. The 2006 Bargetto Winery Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir has 5%Petite Sirah blended in. Fruit was sourced from five Santa Cruz Mountains vineyard sources; over 59% was from their Regan Estate Vineyard. The Petite Sirah was sourced in Lodi. This wine spent 10 months in French and American oak of which 20% was new. The suggested retail price for this wine is $25.
The 2006 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot from Bargetto has a classic cherry red hue. Violets, vanilla and lots of cherry fill out the nose. Copious wild strawberries, nutmeg and subtle rhubarb are all part of the medium bodied palate. Sour cherry, continued nutmeg, and white pepper are all part of the lovely finish to this wine. Soft, yielding tannins are framed by solid acidity.
This is a delicious Pinot Noir which strikes me as a text book example of well made Pinot from Santa Cruz. Quite delicious on its own this wine would be a great one to serve with the varied foods at Thanksgiving.
The 2007 Bargetto Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir was just released to the public last week. The suggested retail price is $25.
From the outset everything about this wine is a bit bigger than the 2006. That starts with a darker, black cherry hue. Dark cherry, cocoa and cinnamon fill the nose. The palate is a bit heftier with slightly sweeter and significantly darker fruit notes. Black tea and mineral notes lead the finish which has savory elements to it as well. Compared to the 2006 this doesn’t have the sour cherry that one did. The tannic structure is tighter and firmer. The age difference is a factor but more than that I’m sure vintage variation plays a role.
If you’re going to drink this wine now, I’d decant it for an hour. It’ll be an excellent match for lamb chops or grilled Mediterranean cuisine in general. I’m impressed with the quality of both of these Pinot’s and the distinctions between them. In this price category wineries often follow a formula and shoot for a flavor profile instead of letting the grapes speak. It’s clear to me Bargetto is letting the land and the fruit speak in these releases. Tasting them side by side is a fascinating comparison that I highly recommend.
The final wine I’m looking at from Bargetto Winery is the 2006 Santa Cruz Mountains Reserve Pinot Noir. This selection is 85.1% Pinot Noir and the balance other varietals. Approximately 85% of the fruit is from Santa Cruz with the balance from Monterey County. Over 62% of the Pinot is from the Regan Estate. This wine was aged for 12 months in French, American and Hungarian Oak; 20% of it was new. Just 254 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $40.
The nose of this Reserve Pinot is loaded with a combination of cherries and strawberries which are underpinned by violets and white pepper. The palate brings to mind a bowl of fresh sweet cherries. The fruit flavors lean dark with flourishes of red fruit peeking through from time to time. Leather, cigar box and sour cherry all emerge on the finish which is of significant length and shows off tingly spice and solid acidity. This Pinot has firm tannins which yield with some air.
What I like about this Reserve Pinot is that it’s a notch or two up the scale in both complexity and length from the non-reserve releases. That said when tasting these it’s possible to see the collective thread between them as well.
I must admit that it’s rare that I like a Pinot Noir that has other varietals blended in. Pinot seems like it most often expresses itself best on its own; I find the other varietals often detract from true Pinot character. However in these three examples from Bargetto Winery I must admit that the Pinot Noir shines through and the other varietals do not in any way detract. Each of these wines is delicious, distinct and also appropriately priced. I heartily recommend all three.