The 2010 Garnet Carneros Pinot Noir is sourced from Estate vineyards, (the Stanly Ranch, the Diamond Vineyards and the Rodgers Creek Vineyard) in the Carneros AVA, Northern California. The Carneros AVA sits inside both the Sonoma AVA and the Napa AVA. For serious Pinot drinkers, Pinot Noir is all about the “clone” (a clone is a vine that has been cut and grafted from an existing grapevine without pollination, it is genetically identical to the original vine, it is how they managed to get whole vineyards out of a relatively small number of grapevines brought over from France.), certain clones grown in certain vineyards in certain AVA’s are the Holy Grail for Pinot Aficionado’s. Usually for under $20 Pinot Noir, which clones are used for the wine are not an issue, the Garnet Carneros is one of the few times you will see the clones listed (Pommard, Dijon 667 and Triple-7). The wine is aged in new and used French oak barrels for 10 months and the alcohol content is 13.77%.
The color is clear shiny strawberry red that gets progressively clearer as it reaches the edge of the glass. The nose is cherry, mushroom, herb, tar, smoke, the whole Pinot experience. It begins with soft rounded cherry, then an astringent medicinal note, followed by dusty cocoa powder, and tart raspberry. The mid palate brings strong herbal tea, sauteed mushroom and blueberry custard. Firm tannins, you feel them, but they don’t get in the way and acidity provides very good length. A long and strong finish.
The Garnet Carneros Pinot Noir is an impressive under $20 Pinot (lists for $19.99, but can be found on the web for as low as $14), this is their standard bottling, not negociant wine or a one time fast buck label. A well made, true example of California Pinot Noir, this is no tuesday night, burgers on the patio wine, but it is just about inexpensive enough to justify drinking on that tuesday night.