Pinot noir can presented in a hundred different ways, depending upon clone, terroir, and the decisions of the winemaker. In this case, a small mountain vineyard, low yields, and 45% new French oak, and wine bottled unfined and unfiltered created a glass of silk, flavored with cherries, dried strawberries, cola, and a bit of suede. The wood has a complimentary, rather than obtrusive, effect, contributing to sweet tannins and adding a touch, just a touch, of vanilla. Drink it with pork loin.

WHO: Clos LaChance
WHAT: Pinot Noir
WHERE: Santa Cruz Mountains, California
WHEN: 2007
HOW MUCH: $50 (Media sample)

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David Honig