Garnet Monterey County Pinot Noir 2012

garnet_pinot_2012The 2012 Garnet Monterey County Pinot Noir is sourced from Garnet Vineyards estate vineyards near the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA in Monterey County, California. This Pinot Noir lists for $14.99, but its tech sheet reads like a far more expensive Pinot. First, Garnet grew the grapes themselves, then they aged the Pinot Noir in 100% French oak barrels, 60% new barrels, the rest, used barrels, for 11 months. French oak is expensive, a single barrel can cost $1,000. The wine is aged “on lees” (bits of dead yeast and grape residue are left in the tank) which adds flavor and structure and then the lees are stirred, bringing a creamy texture to the wine. The alcohol content is 14.2%.

The color is a crystal clear ruby-red or maybe I should say garnet red. The nose is a mix of fresh ripe black cherry and herbs, mushroom,’ dried fall leaves and a hint of smoke. This is a medium bodied Pinot, with a creamy mouth-feel (stirring the lees worked) and an appealing mix of fresh fruit and Pinot Noir funk. It starts with cherry and raspberry, oak spice and vanilla. The mid-palate brings the cool Pinot flavors like, tar, bacon fat, extracted blackberry and herbal tea. The acidity is well-balanced and this Pinot shows some proper length. The finish is subtle, but never really goes away.

The 2012 Garnet Monterey County Pinot Noir is what everyone thinks the California wine industry is, folks growing their own grapes and producing wine the right way and selling it at a fair price. There are still wineries like Garnet Vineyards out there, but more often than not, wine is made by conglomerates making Brand wine aimed at focus groups. Support the real-deal California grape growers and wine makers, especially when they produce an excellent wine at a very good price.

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this wine received as a sample


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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.