Niner Wines has a fantastic facility in Paso Robles - tour it if you get the chance - but the grapes for the Niner 2016 Pinot Noir came from Jesperson Ranch, their cool-climate Edna Valley estate vineyard. There was some whole cluster fermentation and French oak aging, with about a third of the barrels new. It's labeled as 100% Pinot Noir, carries an alcohol level of 14.1% abv and retails for $35.
This wine is medium dark in the glass, a bit more opaque than usual for Burgundy, a bit less than usual for Cali Pinot. The nose carries some really dark blackberry aromas, with not a hint of sweetness. There's a little black tea coming in beneath the earthy minerals. I get a slight note of bramble or sagebrush, too. Savory rules the palate, too, with tar, dark berries and earth all over the place. As I so often find in California Pinot Noir, I'm overwhelmed by the heft and depth of the wine. It may not be my style, but when the savory angle takes charge I can forget that it seems like I'm drinking Syrah. Bring on a ribeye steak for this one, or a porterhouse if you can handle it.
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