Drink This Wine


Sometimes I’m asked about the style of Pinot Noir that I’m most passionate about. Assuming that the wine is free of flaws and well balanced, there are three things (well, four, but who’s counting?) that I look for specifically.

1) That amazing, ephemeral floral quality that is unique to Pinot. I sometimes describe it as candied rose petals, but it can take many forms, all of them wonderful.

2) A focused red fruit aroma and flavor. More complex flavors, minerality and earthiness are always welcome, but if the fruit component is missing, I’m usually a bit disappointed.

3) Velvety, ripe tannins and a vibrant, palate cleansing acidity that makes the wine pair well with food.

I don’t do wine ratings, but I will under some circumstances make recommendations. Today is one of those days.

The Joseph Swan 2003 Saralee’s Vineyard Pinot Noir has each of these wonderful characteristics, along with a slight hint of vanilla. It is mouthwatering on the finish and would go great with anything from pizza to duck, but isn’t so acidic that it can’t be enjoyed all on its own.

Winemaking Notes:
2003 was a very good year for Pinot in the Russian River Valley. Saralee’s Vineyard is located just west of ours and is very well regarded for the quality of its fruit. Saralee’s is planted to a number of Pinot Noir clones, and 6 were blended together to make this wine. The wine is unfined and unfiltered and it’s a little cloudy due to the hands-off, natural style of winemaking practiced at Swan. There are also some sediments in each bottle. Neither of these things are flaws, so don’t be alarmed if you notice them. Ultimately, the wine inside the bottle is better because of the cellar practices that allowed them to remain.

There were only 389 cases produced, but I’ve already bought one of them, so you’d better be quick.

You can purchase this wine on .

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