Getting back to the story . . . It's tough to keep track of all the new California Pinots that have come on the market in the last three or four years. Hardly ubiquitous these offerings, from the likes of Black Kite, De La Montanya, B. Kosuge, Three Saints, Segue, and Alta Maria, to name just a few, bespeak quality. IMO quality keeps improving across the board and excellent wines under $40 a bottle can be found readily. Without exaggeration, we're in a Pinot lover's dreamworld with bountiful, delicious offerings to be had across the board. Sigh!
As I mentioned in my last post, my neighbor with a real job in the wine industry slipped a bottle of the Alta Maria in my mailbox as a thank you for the emergency Alstatian riesling. I'd say it was a fair swap, all things being equal. The Alta Maria Vineyards website is a bit, well . . . eerie. "Salvation" is the first word to appear, then a statue of Mary, a "Devotee List" in lieu of the mailing list, other religious folderoll. A bit much for me as drinking the Alta Maria wine, while enjoyable, was hardly a religious experience. The winery makes Syrah, Mouvedre and Pinot and links your purchases together, so you have to buy x bottles of one varietal to get y bottles of another, and can't buy single bottles. If this relatively restricted approach to doing business is working then who am I to question success but internet ordering should be seamless and should focus on the buyer's wishes, not the seller's peculiarities and attempts at exclusivity or whatever else they are trying to prove here. At any rate, the gift wine was quite good though it did not really challenge the mystery contestant. Here are my notes:
Alta Maria Vineyards 2005 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Barbara County. The wine checks in at 14.1% alcohol and is comprised of the N Block 115 clone and the Q Block Pommard clone.
Tasting Notes: Purple/violet in the glass, mint and blueberry nose, menthol dark fruits and violets. Nicely balance acidity, lush with some depth, quite rich finish of more dark fruits.
Rating: Very good.