The Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 is one of the Shannon Family of Wines, Shannon Ridge is the winery, and they are located in the Lake County AVA of Northern California. Shannon Ridge was founded in 1995. Lake County is directly north of Napa Valley, and the Shannon Ridge vineyards are only 35 miles away from the nearest Napa vineyards.
Shannon Ridge was started by Clay Shannon, who previously had been a vineyard manager in Napa and had his own vineyard management company, so the grapes are essential to Shannon Ridge. The Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 is said to be their first Pinot Noir wine.
They used contracted vineyards in the Carneros AVA; Carneros is located half in Napa and half in Sonoma. These vineyards are on the Sonoma side. While Carneros is more inland than the other California Pinot Noir regions, it is helped by the proximity of San Pablo Bay.
The San Pablo Bay forms Carnero’s southern border and brings cool Pacific breezes. Most of the grapes grown this far inland are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel, which thrive in warmer temperatures. Carneros, with its cool climate, excels as a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay region.
The list price for the Crossbow on the Shannon Ridge website is $45; this is a wine I found for $15 and is available routinely on the web for under $20. It is common for winery websites to have higher listed prices than those found in wine shops. The wineries do not want to compete with wine shops directly. But since not all wines are not sold in all areas, they want their wines to be available.
Why the large disparity in prices? I am not sure, it could be complications from disruptions due to Covid, or maybe the winery plans to go in a different direction with Pinot Noir. But, there is a real difference between a $45 Pinot and an under twenty dollar Pinot.
This is a small batch of Pinot Noir; they did produce that many bottles. The Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 was also aged in French oak barrels for twenty-one months. About 20% of the barrels were new oak, with the rest a collection of used barrels. An oak barrel gives less influence with each use; the winemaker uses the exact proportion of new and used barrels to get the exact flavoring.
Forty-five dollar Pinot Noir is at the highest end of the take-it-home-and-drink-it wines. This is not a rule or an exact accounting, but generally speaking, Pinot Noir $45 and under are drink-it-now wines, and wines over that amount would be better served if the buyer cellared them for a few years. They usually enjoy the most exacting winemaking and the best grape selection. So, it will be interesting to see what the Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 has in store for us. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 Tasting Notes
The Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, silky smooth up-front and a splash of those Pinot Noir funky flavors. The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is ripe cherries, light herbs, dark chocolate, spice, mushroom, a hint of smoke, and plum.
It tastes like ripe black cherry, black pepper, a jolt of exotic spice, licorice, and raspberry. The mid-palate adds tart cranberry, tea, herbs, POM Wonderful, more spice, a salty, nutty sensation, and dusty chocolate powder. The acidity is well controlled; the acidity gives the wine enough structure to allow the flavors to unfold. This is one of those wines where every sip brings a new flavor.
- This is easy; the Crossbow Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 is a $45 wine selling for less than half of its list price. If you can find it, buy it.