PICK of the RACK: Alouette | Pinot Noir | Sonoma County | California | 2011 | $25 | 92 pts

http___www.alouettewine 1Aromas: aromatic violets and spice; red grapefruit peel; cherry & raspberry notes
Character: full-bodied, lush & fruit-driven; mineral undertones; medium tannins and vivid acids; mild oak
Flavors: ripe black raspberry & boysenberry; tangy pomegranate; touch of mint
Food Pairing: food-friendly – medium-sharp cheeses; grilled salmon; roasted pork; savory meat & fruit dishes; delicious as an apéritif

This robust and savory Sonoma County Pinot Noir is hand crafted by Joseph Wagner, a fifth-generation winemaker from the Wagner family of Napa Valley.  The Wagner family produces several well-known and highly-respected wines across various appellations in California, including Caymus (Napa Valley), Mer Soleil (Monterey County), and Conundrum, as well as two other Pinot Noir bottlings — Belle Glos and Meiomi — which Joseph makes from fruit he sources along California’s cool Central and Northern coasts.  Joseph’s Alouette, which he produces from fruit sourced from various sub-appellations within Sonoma County (both coastal and inland), is a fine addition to his Pinot Noir line-up.  It is a bountiful rendition of the variety, with interwoven aromas and flavors of ripe red and black berries, earthy cocoa and vanilla bean, visceral minerality, and some refreshing undercurrents of mint.  This wine is smooth and round on the palate, with a subdued caramelized quality that hints of crème brûlée (it spent nine months in French oak).  Enjoy it as an apéritif or pair it generously with salmon and pork dishes, mild cheeses, and savory meat-and-fruit dishes.  It is a delicious mouthful of Pinot Noir, for sure, and we highly recommend it.

Availability:  Alouette Pinot Noir is available at Total Wine stores nationwide.  If you don’t have a Total Wine nearby, visit Alouette virtually at www.alouettewine.com to inquire as to where else you may find it.

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