SANFORD SANTA RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR - 2001
From Santa Barbara wine country in California, this Pinot Noir has gained prestige since it was featured in the movie Sideways. Sanford Winery and Vineyard credits itself with starting the Santa Barbara wine craze way back in 1971 when it first opened its doors. Santa Rita Hills was made a certified AVA (American Vinticulture Area) in 2001 and its unique climate and soil continues to yield some terrific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This Pinot Noir has tremendous acidity. It overwhelmed the back palate with a crisp bite and flavors of dark cherries and tart cranberries. The alcohol dominates the aroma. After tasting again on the second day, the alcohol seemed to overtake the fruit but the acidity settled down letting some of the damp oak scents emerge.
SCORE & RECOMMENDATION:
Perhaps a bit overdone on the alcohol which masks some of the fruit flavors, but still a decent wine. I tend to love great acidic Pinots like Etude, but this one from Sanford was a bit out of balance. The acidity just wasn't properly integrated with the rest of the wine. An interesting effort that will leave behind a nice oaky smell in the empty glass. Retails for around $25. Click here for more info on Sanford winery.