PICK of the RACK: Pali Wine Co. | Pinot Noir | “Summit” | Santa Rita Hills | Santa Barbara County | California | 2010 | $29 | 90 pts

Aromas:  blackberries; boysenberries; spice.
Character:  fruit-driven; rich & full-bodied; luscious mouthfeel; medium tannins; robust acidity; subtle oak.
Flavors:  dark fruit compote; flinty minerality; dusting of dark chocolate.
Food Pairing:  dry, sharp cheeses; roasted chicken; tenderloin of beef or pork.


Here’s an assertive, voluptuous, fruit forward expression of Pinot Noir from the Stanta Rita Hills region of beautiful Santa Barbara County, California. It’s brimming with aromas and flavors of fresh crushed and mashed blackberries and boysenberries framed by flinty minerality, a dusting of cocao, and subtly integrated oak.  However rich and concentrated, robust acidity enlivens it on the palate.  The level of extraction here may not appeal to those who prefer restrained, or “delicate,” Pinots, or to those who might wish to miraculously superimpose Burgundy onto the U.S. west coast. But fans of New World Pinot should find this rendition vivacious, flavorful, and pure.

Availability:  Only 210 cases of this vintage were produced, so it’s not widely distributed.  For more information on the wine and where to find it, visit Pali Wine Co.’s website at www.paliwineco.com.  Folks in Northern Virginia, however, can find it at Unwined in Alexandria.

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