Friday, January 27, 2017

Big, Badass California Pinot Noir

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery was founded in 1981 on a small patch of land in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. Don and Rhonda Carano started small, but kept thinking big as they snapped up grapevines over the years. They say they now have 19 estate vineyards in six different California appellations. The company operates as a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard.
Winemaker Christy Ackerman makes all of the Pinot Noirs for Ferrari-Carano. She says she feels "very lucky" to work with Pinot Noir in general, and especially the grapes from the estate vineyards.

The Heritage and Dijon clones of Pinot Noir grapes for this wine came from their Anderson Valley ranches.  Steel fermentation started things off, and French oak aging for ten months took place in 38% new oak, 62% older barrels. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation, offering the benefit of a creamy and full mouthfeel. It costs $38 retail.

This dark, brooding 2014 Pinot Noir is bigger and badder than I like my Pinot to be, but I’m going to pretend it's something else - say, Syrah - and just enjoy its powerful assets. The black and blue berry aromas show off the cool-climate origin of the grapes with notes of forest floor, motor oil and black olives. The savory show continues on the palate. Big, dark fruit turns to one side and lets the leathery, musty flavors mix with tea and coffee. Happily, the cola note is too shy to get through the door. Big wine, big finish, with the fruit outlasting the savory, but not by much.


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