This article is about the many different styles of California’s Central Coast Pinot Noirs. Pinot Noir is the oldest varietal of the grape. The grape in the wine is Pinot Noir and grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
The Central Coast blends in perfectly with the California Vines, but there is not a lot of diversity in the style and production techniques of these wines. In fact, there are very few wineries that make Pinot Noir from grapes grown in the Central Coast.
Pinot noir is the most widely planted grape variety in California’s Central Coast, accounting for over 30% of the region’s planted grape acreage. These grapes offer tremendous diversity, from the classic style to a more adventurous expression that incorporates oak aging. Each vintage is unique, and many winemakers believe the key to creating exciting Pinot noirs lies in the soil’s unique textures, geology and climate.. Read more about best central coast pinot noir and let us know what you think.Looking for a Pinot with lush aromas of black cherries and baked berries, complemented by spice and toasty oak? Or do you prefer an ethereal, intense version, with its vibrant red fruits and waves of bay leaf and juniper? You can choose any style of Pinot Noir from California’s Central Coast, where this chameleon grape reflects the myriad microclimates and whims of winemakers, usually with delicious results.
With more than 90,000 acres of vineyards in the region that stretches nearly 300 miles from San Francisco Bay to the Santa Barbara coast, the diversity is no surprise.
But recent interest in more transparent wines has prompted a wave of winemakers to explore such austere styles. Melville Winery blends fruit and spice like no other, while Scar of the Sea, Soquel Vineyards and Tread, Zaca Mesa’s newest brand, combine energy and elegance.
Vineyards with cool climates are key to this style, says Cole Thomas of Madson Wines, who sources the wine from the Santa Cruz Mountains and then uses local yeast and neutral oak in the cellar. Due to old policy, the Santa Cruz Mountains are not technically part of the Central Coast AVA, but they are aggregated for this analysis. In the end, we do all this so that the wine is expressive and young when it comes to the market, Thomas explains. The goal is to produce wines that stabilize better over time or age better in the cellar.
However, there is no shortage of rich Pinot Noirs from the Central Coast. The Loring Wine Company produces powerful wines from the region, including the rich Santa Lucia Highlands wine. Fess Parker and Landmark in the Sta. Rita Hills is not afraid of oak, and Paso Robles wineries like Sculpterra and Asuncion Ridge are also brave enough to try it.
As a brand based on richer wines, Costa Brown is taking it a little slower, but its latest wines are still full of fleshy fruit. Over the years, we’ve refined our style, focusing on balancing California’s naturally excellent fruit profile with more elegant notes, while staying true to our bold personality, says winemaker Julien Haussepian, who is grateful to the Central Coast’s maturing vineyards for the more nuanced grapes they produce today.
Explore the many styles of Central Coast Pinot Noir with these 12 newly reviewed wines.
Melville 2019 Sandy’s Block Estate Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills); $50, 97 points. This wine begins with aromas of pine and tarragon, with cheerful skins of ripe but powerful raspberries and cherries. The elegance of the spice shines throughout the sip, adding a eucalyptus-like depth to the juicy red fruit flavors.
Kosta Browne 2018 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands); $165, 96 points. Black cherries, sweet sage, light cardamom cream and steely minerality are expertly integrated into the nose of this wine from an iconic vineyard. It has a robust flavor of roasted cherries and rustic raspberries, but most intriguing are the chaparral spices, from wild thyme to juniper and bay leaf.
Madson 2019 Ascona Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains); $50, 96 points. This exciting wine is quite light in the glass and offers pronounced aromas of thyme, juniper and green pepper, with just the right amount of crisp red fruit. Vibrant, fresh flavors of cranberry and pomegranate are enveloped by tea leaves and pine needles to enchant the palate.
Scar of the Sea 2019 Bassi Vineyard Pinot Noir (San Luis Obispo County); $36, 94 points.The epitome of spiciness in red wine. This brightly colored wine has a spicy nose of cranberry, orange peel, pepper and hints of eucalyptus oil. The flavours of Sichuan pepper and green pepper enhance the taste, while the pomegranate and fresh acidity go well with the delicate fish. Editorial selection.
Soquel Vineyards 2019 Coast Grade Vineyard’ Reserve Pinot Noir (Ben Lomond Mountain); $50, 94 points. Fresh, perfectly ripe aromas of strawberries and black raspberries combine in the nose with woody notes of juniper and bay leaf and rusty minerality. Beautiful tannins frame a multi-layered sip that weaves pomegranate and black plum aromas with lavender, tea leaves, cardamom and even elements of coriander.
Tread 2019 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County); $40, 94 points. This new brand from Zach Mesa specializes in pinot noir and chardonnay, and this blend of pinots from around the state is stunning. Aromas of rainy slate, pomegranate and hibiscus evolve into flavors of sumac, red fruit and bright game with crisp acidity. Selection of revisions.
Fess Parker 2018 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills); $60, 93 points.Quite dark in the glass, this wine from a historic vineyard offers pronounced notes of damp earth and light game, as well as elements of dark-fruited cherry and even blueberry, with strong woody and spicy aromas. The palate is rich with aromas of cooked red berries and orange peel, complicated by dried sage, intriguing game and tough tannins.
Loring Wine Company 2019 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County); $29, 93 points.All the hallmarks of Brian Loring’s style are present in this county blend, from the perfectly ripe aromas of baked boysenberries to fresh lavender flowers and warm notes of buttery baked goods. Tension and freshness frame the sip and give structure and momentum to the baked berry and vanilla flavors. Selection of revisions.
Scott Family 2018 Dijon Clone Pinot Noir (Arroyo Secco); $45, 93 points.Light in the glass, this wine offers fresh, spicy aromas of pine along with iron and sour cherry on the nose. Herbal notes are even more alluring in the very acidic mouth, where juniper and moss give depth to the bright, fresh raspberry flavors.
Calera 2018 Pinot Noir (Central Coast); $30, 92 points. Aromas of boysenberry and fresh cranberry envelop the nose of this rusty iron. There is a resinous tone in the sip that holds tension, with flavors of black plums, lavender and ground pepper.
We recommend it:
Riedel Vinum Pinot Noir/Burgundy Wine Glasses (set of 2)
Coravin Pivot Wine Storage System
Sculpterra 2018 Estate Pinot Noir (Paso Robles); $36, 90 points. Not surprisingly, Paso Robles’ warmer climate produces riper Pinot Noir varieties, but it’s quite satisfying for those who crave fruit. This variety starts with cherry compote, cola candy and vanilla in the nose and builds to a full gingerbread flavor that cuts through the richer elements of cherry and orange peel.
Golden 2018 Pinot Noir (Monterey County); $13, 89 points. Aromas of dried cherries, earth and dried mushrooms appear on the nose of this popular wine. The tart aroma of the cranberry goes with the mash of thyme and sage and the clay-like earthiness on the palate. Best Buy.There is a tendency in the wine world to over-investigate the (California) Pinot Noir grape, and so we sometimes forget how many different styles there are. But there are plenty of styles in this grape, and this month I’m going to look at examples from around the Central Coast region.. Read more about central coast wines and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best California Pinot Noirs?
The best California Pinot Noirs are those that are made from grapes grown in the Central Coast region.
What is the best pinot noir to drink?
The best pinot noir to drink is a pinot noir from Burgundy, France.
Where does the best Pinot Noir come from in California?
The best Pinot Noir comes from the Central Coast of California.
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