Christie Kiley on March 9, 2015 1 Comment When you are searching for a great wine, a wine of classic style and taste, you do not have to look much further than a good Pinot Noir. Maybe you are giving it as a gift to a special wine-lover you know, maybe that special wine-lover is yourself, you are invited to a dinner party of fellow oenophiles or are just looking to stock your wine cooler, a Pinot Noir is a safe bet that many will become your biggest fan and be impressed. A good Pinot Noir can be fruity yet perfectly balanced with earthy nuances and structure. The lighter-body for a red wine of a Pinot Noir is not normally perceived as a wine of great character to enjoy along the bigger-bodied foods. But there is so much more to a perfectly balanced Pinot Noir, whose fruit can stand and contrast nicely with savory, meaty flavors and textures and whose ideal acidity can balance out fatty dishes and lighten your palate accentuating deeper notes of both the food and wine on the finish. A good Pinot should never be dismissed. It should be considered and definitely enjoyed. Here is one to consider and later enjoy, the 2013 Belle Glos Alturas Vineyard Pinot Noir. About Belle Glos This winery is known for its distinctive terroirs with fruit from some of California’s best and most noteworthy wine-growing areas. The location of these vineyards are of the Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties. Each of their vineyards are coastal, however, depending on their location, they each take on their own climate, thus resulting in varying fruits with signature characteristics of each vineyard. The idea behind each of their wines and each of their vineyards is to craft separate wines from the individual vineyards sites and showcase what they’ve got. The name of the winery was chosen honoring the winemaker’s (Josephy Wagner) grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, who was one of the originating founders of Caymus Vineyards. The Alturas Vineyard Site Each vineyard site has varying conditions of fog, sunlight, soil-type and wind. I will not go into each of their four vineyards, but for now just the vineyard which is the reason for our featured wine today, the Alturas Vineyard. It is located on the highest and most plantable site of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County. For those of you who are familiar with coastal California Pinot Noir, you know Sonoma is ranked among the top, but recently the appellation of Santa Lucia Highlands have taken center stage as a top competitor. The appellation sits up on a bench, and though it is a bit further from the northern vineyards in Sonoma, cooler climate conditions, ideal for Pinot Noir can be achieved. The bench sits between two mountain regions with an opening to the coast, allowing for a wind-tunnel affect bringing in cool ocean breezes and consistent sunshine. Along with these ideal conditions for Pinot Noir, the vines are cultivated in well-draining, loamy, sandy soils. The yields of their modest fifteen acre site are kept to a low here in order to preserve the flavors and intensity of the fruit from their selected clones to craft the best wines. The 2013 Alturas Pinot Noir It is a youthful Pinot Noir and though it can benefit from some time in the bottle, you are more than welcome to enjoy it in its youth. Maybe even get a case if you are a collector, stock it in your wine cellar and watch how it might develop over the next few years. The color is of bright candy red and full of aromatic orchard fruits, blood plums, cranberries and ripe wild strawberries. The palate is surprisingly substantial with fuller fruit notes of cherry pie, raspberry preserves and juicy dark berries. As you might suspect, the tannins are a bit young, but are in balance and mellow out with a nice note of acidity on the finish that carry the fruit notes and leave you with notes of vanilla sugar and French toast. Be sure to make an event for this wine and pair it with your best water fowl recipe, duck confit. Or just keep it simple and slow roast an organic chicken with a bouquet garni of fresh herbs and a mix of root vegetables and the best extra virgin olive oil tossed in gourmet sea salt. Let me know what time dinner is. I will bring the wine.