When I am asked the question, “What is your favorite wine?” it is always such a hard question to answer. My usual response is, “Do you mean, what is my favorite varietal?”. Meaning there are so many great wines out there, but I do have a few wine varietals that really excite me.
First and foremost, I would say Pinot Noir is definitely in the top three of red varietals that are my favorite wines to drink. But there is such a vast spectrum of styles and quality in regards to California Pinot Noir production. There is so much room for misinterpretation and over production possibilities with Pinot Noir that I am usually left unsatisfied. That is definitely not the case with the two Pinot Noirs featured in this blog.
One is from Skewis, a husband and wife team, Hank and Maggie Skewis, producing high quality Pinot Noirs from some great North Coast vineyards since 1994. The other Pinot Noir that has really made a great impression on my palate recently is Deovlet, by Ryan Deovlet, whose inaugural vintage of his own label is definitely a foundational release.
Hank and Maggie Skewis, set out to produce vineyard designate wines showcasing the great quality fruit that comes from North Coast regions, with a minimalistic intervention winemaking style. One of my favorite vineyard designates comes from Ridley Vineyard, in the Anderson Valley. This vineyard is situated on the valley floor in a soil mixture of loam and river rock that allows for good drainage, yet retains enough moisture to minimize the need for summer irrigation.
We had the great pleasure of tasting through the Skewis wines when Hank stopped in to taste with the staff. The Skewis, Ridley Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 ($41.99) was spot on! Winemakers notes, “Deep pomegranate color. Intense fruit aromas with racy notes of raspberry, black cherry, hint of chocolate with cedar and clove adding an herbal impression. Smooth entry with no edges, slight grip and balanced oak. Rich fruit flavors of dark berries, plum, cherry cola with a subtle orange zest note. A long and generous finish.” Only 105 cases produced!
Not too long after Hank was in the store, we had the pleasure of being introduced to the Deovlet wine line up. All of the Deovlet wines also showed great integrity and character to varietal representation as well as appellation designation, but in my mind the Deovlet, Bien Nacido Vineyard 2011 ($44.99) was a stand out! “A beautifully floral nose lifted with rose petal and potpourri, combining cinnamon stick with forest floor and hints of pine, together with blood orange, candied red fruit, cranberry, and black cherries. Balanced with great energy and perfectly ripe tannins providing structure and impressive depth, this wine is focused with layers of character showing true to its origin, comprised of two blocks planted within this iconic site over thirty years apart,” winemakers notes. This also a very small production of only 4 barrels!
These two Pinot Noir producers both exemplify the quality of Pinot Noir in California from both Northern and Southern appellations. We are very pleased to have these two wines, at such limited production quantities, available to you on our shelves.
Chris M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant