GOLD MEDAL - 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL - 2009 Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Many credit the movie Sideways with putting California Pinot Noir on the map, and while there can be no doubt that Sideways helped spread the word about this grape in California, the fact remains that Pinot had be going strong in California for many years prior to the movie. One of the first regions in which California growers saw success with Pinot Noir was in Carneros, although with the extreme cooling effect of the nearby San Pablo Bay, this region was originally focused on Pinot Noir for sparkling wine. Once people started using the grapes for still wine they quickly realized that this was a special region, capable of light yet intense wines, and one of California’s great Pinot growing areas was born. Today’s Heist features another of Sonoma County’s new, small family wineries, Inspiration Vineyards. Founded in 1999, they have quickly gained a reputation for high quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. We have spoken at length of the greatness of the 2007 vintage for California Pinot Noir, and this is another great chance to see what all the fuss is about.
The 2007 Inspiration Vineyards Pinot Noir from Carneros is sourced from a single vineyard in Carneros, with careful farming practices ensuring only ripe, high intensity grapes reach the winery. Pale ruby in the glass, the nose is classic Carneros Pinot with plenty of strawberry, cranberry and cherry, along with subtle hints of damp earth and tobacco. The palate is light and refreshing with plenty of acidity to support the cherry and cranberry flavors. This is typical of Carneros Pinot in that it is lighter and more elegant, more European in style, than some of the riper versions found further north in Sonoma County. No new oak is used at Inspiration Vineyards on the Pinot Noir, so fruit flavors shine through. This is a California Pinot for those who find too many California wines to be heavy and overdone, and prefer a more restrained, balanced style. Of course, this means it make food pairing easy, as you don’t have to worry about overpowering a lighter dish. Serve it with poultry, or even salmon, and be amazed by how a lighter red wine can bring out subtle flavors in these dishes. At just $24, this is a great Pinot bargain, and a must have for any time a lighter wine is needed.
Vineyard: Martin Ranch
Appellation: Los Carneros, Sonoma County
Varietal Blend: Dijon Clones: 667 (75%) 115 (25%)
Harvest Date: September 6th 2007, September 12th 2007
Brix at Harvest: 26.1° & 25.8°
Total Acid: .64 g/L & .68 g/L
pH: 3.40 & 3.39
Fermentation / Cellaring: Open-top fermented, cellared in a combination of two and three year old French oak barrels for 12 months.
Bottled Date: September 8th 2008
Release Date: March 1st 2009
Cases Produced: 252
Learn more at www.inspirationvineyards.com