Belle Glos Pinot Noir are wines made for Cabernet lovers. While each of the three vineyards used to make these wines is coastal, they all produce very different wines. The Wagner family is well known for their contributions to thee wine industry in Napa, through their efforts at Caymus Vineyards. Going back to the 1800s, the family has deep California roots. The family has been making wine in California since 1972, when Caymus was founded. Now, while the family seat is at Caymus in Napa, the additions of Mer Soleil Chardonnay, run by son Charlie Wagner, Belle Glos run by son Joseph Wagner, and Conundrum, a blend mastered by longtime employee, and new places for daughters Jenny and Erin to learn the business, the family of wine has grown. There is a history of experimentation and creativity, which led Belle Glos to break the traditional mold of California Pinot Noir. Joseph’s passion for farming and viticulture is well known. His early experiences with this Italian Grandmother helps guide his future as he expanding the success of the Belle Glos line, that he has managed since 2002. Belle Glos, featuring single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from Sonoma, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties was named for Joseph’s grandmother, he has selected three of the coolest growing regions for the Pinot Noir. farmed in small lots, the grapes are left to hang longer than normal, to create intense and complex flavors. In this manner, they are creating bold, flavor packed Pinots that are setting Belle Glos apart from more traditional styles. There are three single vineyard Pinots from Belle Glos: Clark & Telephone, Taylor Lane and Las Alturas. Each one is slightly different, but all three are made in a big, bold style. A Pinot meant for a Cabernet lover! Clark & Telephone Vineyard is located in the Santa Maria Valley, which is cooled by the wind and fog blowing in from the Pacific Ocean along the Santa Maria River inland. Planted on its own roostock, the vineyard is planted to 100% Martini clone, something that is rarely seen today. This wine was a mix of sweet ripe red fruit and spicy notes, with a nice acid balance. It was my favorite of the three, and had a lot of cinnamon, baking spice, and ripe blackberry notes. The Taylor Lane Vineyard Pinot from the Sonoma Coast, is less than 6 miles from the ocean. Known for the heavy fog, it’s a particularly good place for classic Pinot due to the cool climate, but harder if you are trying to ripen the fruti for a stylistic change. The Dijon clones in this vineyard held a lot of cedar and cola, with Bing cherries and a hefty 60% new French oak treatment. This would have been my pick but because of the oak it was just too overblown for me. Finally, the Las Alturas Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Located in a world famous Pinot Noir growing region in the Central Coast area, each slope of the vineyard was planted […]
It isn’t often when I taste several wines from a winery and like each one more than the last. When I do, I get excited and I know that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Archery Summit, located in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon, is one such winery that gets me revved up. I recently tasting three of their wines, and fell madly in love. Yes, I was already a Pinot Noir lover, and particularly Oregon Pinots, but in this case, these were some of the few 2010s that I have tasted. I also had the opportunity to taste a particularly wonderful Rosé. With the weather warming up, and the rare sunny summer day in San Francisco, I was in heaven. Archery Summit is located in the Dundee sub-appelation of the Willamette Valley AVA on a mineral rich alluvial fan created when the Ice Age receded and meltwater created giant fresh water oceans. This reesulting in a rich mineral soil, which is amazing for growing Pinot Noir. The cool growing regions of Oregon are very similar to Northern France, and create world class Pinot. Archery Summit focuses on a small lot, hand crafted, approach to winemaking. From the modern gravity flow winery which helps create Pinot Noir without bruising the fragile ego of the delicate Pinot Noir grapes, to the small bins of harvested grapes that are and hand sorted, every step is purposeful and careful. A unique aspect to winery operations, each member of the vineyard staff is actually assigned to a specific vineyard. Giving the vineyard crew autonomy and ownership of their area allows them to become expert vignerons of a small parcel, where their familiarity becomes intimate and intense. Some staff members have been working in plots from the birth of the parcel (planting in 1994), giving them a full lifecycle view of what works, what doesn’t, and what might be going off road. With such dedication to knowing the land and the vines results in some pretty amazing juice. 2011 Vireton Rosé – Love at first sip! This delicate Rosé of Pinto Noir is full of tropical fruit, watermelon and Hood River strawberries. I absolutely loved this wine. The bright fresh raspberry juice was clean and crisp, and is a perfect summer sipper. While I typically prefer a purpose made Rose, this Saignee (juice bled from the red wine tanks during fermentation), I am impressed by the delicacy and flavor profile of the Rose. Fermented in neutral oak and stainless steel, there is no skin contact. The delicate pale pink color is the natural color of the juice from the bleed off. This vintage is a blend of juice from each of the estate vineyards, from Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge. The first Pinot Noir we had was the 2010 Premier Cuvee. Created by blending a bit of every vineyard, it is primarily Arcus Estate, and includes a bit of every Dijon clone planted on the property. It has a fresh cranberry and pomegranate acid edge, which I love, followed by earthy notes of root beer, baking spice, and cherry notes. With a touch of floral violets on the finish, it’s bright and rich at the same […]
It’s Earth Day again, that one day when we’re supposed to stop to smell the roses, and celebrate Gaia. I try to be kind to my planet every day, by taking care of her and recycling, reducing and reusing – since it’s clear to me that she is one pissed off mama. Today, I’m sipping on some green wines, in partnership with Sip Certified. Sip Certified has spent the last 15 years working with growers and wineries rethink their strategy about sustainability. Pretty cool stuff! To become Sip Certified, you msut address the entire farm ecosystem, from soil to vine, from bottle to cork. you can learn more HERE. But today, I’m sipping on Riverbench Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley. Riverbench Vineyard began in 1973, when it was planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Now, over 30 years later, they are a leading fruit source for the Santa maria Valley. In 2004 the property was purchased, and the new owners embarked on their own wine adventure, reserving some of the fruit for their own estate wines. The 2010 Estate Pinot starts out with some bold red fruit on the nose, with ripe strawberries and raspberries on the palate. Surprisingly, there is some great acidity in this wine; I am constantly looking for more acid in my pinots, and it’s nice to find a southern Central Coast example that has some bright cranberry and bright red fruit along with the rich ripe berry. There is also a nice spice box hiding in there that gives the wine a kick on the finish. I am enjoying the allspice and pepper kick. One of the hallmarks of this wine is the silky mouth feel and smooth palate, due to the 96% neutral oak. with only 4% new French Oak, the flavor of the fruit shine through wihtout being overpowered. At a budget friendly !~$25, this is a Santa Maria wine I will keep my eye on! Enjoy! This wine was provided by Sip Certified, to celebrate Earth Day.