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The Pinot Elites
The Pinot Elites
A group of California winemakers work together to make great Pinot Noir.
Ever notice that a whole bunch of different producers make wines made of grapes sourced from the same vineyards?
For example, Pali Wine Co. and Loring Wine Co. both make single-vineyard Pinot Noirs out of grapes purchased from growers Keefer Ranch (Russian River Valley), Shea Vineyard (Oregon) and Durrell Vineyard (Sonoma Coast), to name a few. Look around, and you'll find that several wineries--such as Siduri, AP Vin, August West and Kosta Browne--do the same thing. Each might make a dozen or more different single-vineyard Pinot Noirs in any given year, from many of the same vineyards.
All the wines are of very high quality, and for good reason: The winemakers share information and ideas so they all can make the best Pinots possible. (Pali and Loring even make their wines under the same roof in Lompoc, Calif., though there's a wall separating the two facilities). They help each other on picking decisions (noting, say, the differences when sections within a vineyard are picked a couple days apart), or they might share opinions on which types of barrels work better with certain vineyards. They share logistics and resources such as trucking and picking bins, and they even taste and critique each others' wines.
The idea is that if you like one producer's Pinot from a particular vineyard, you should try some of the other winemakers' expressions of the same place. But the collaboration also assures there's less a chance of you tasting, say, a Rosella's Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands) Pinot from one winery and not liking it, then swearing off all the other producers' Pinots made from that same vineyard.
For having a team-player philosophy that's all about making top-quality Pinot, all the wineries in this group share our distinction of Wine of the Week.
What's the best single-vineyard Pinot Noir you've ever tried? Share your pick below.
Ed. Note: The Daily Sip filed today's edition ahead of this week's World of Pinot Noir conference in California. In one particular session, winemaker Adam Lee switched the labels on his Siduri Keefer Ranch (15.2% alcohol) and Cargasacchi Vineyard (13.6%) Pinot Noirs to make the point that the label often guides our perception of what we taste. The interesting rundown--and passionate discussion below it--appears on Vinography.com.