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Fri, Nov. 17: Pinot Night

Pinot is the perfect wine for Thanksgiving- a light red that everyone can enjoy. The quintessential turkey wine! This Friday we'll be sampling 5 different Pinots. No, we won't be serving up any Merlot...

 

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Friday Theme Nights


Sign up for our weeky email blast here and dont miss our weekly specials, events. and information about our our Friday theme nights. It may be a visiting winemaker, a fun wine tasting (Girl Scout cookie pairing anyone?) or maybe a blind tasting. Whatever the event, there will be wine involved! 



Happy Hour!


Rough day? Boss yell at you? Was the foam on your double macchiato this morning not up to snuff? We've got the antidiote! Monday-Thursday from 4-6pm we do $10 tastings. 



A little something about Pinots


Maya: You know, can I ask you a personal question, Miles?

Miles Raymond: Sure.

Maya: Why are you so in to Pinot?

Miles Raymond: [laughs softly]

Maya: I mean, it's like a thing with you.

Miles Raymond: [continues laughing softly]

Miles Raymond: Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet. – “Sideways”

 

OK. So Miles (Paul Giamatti) does an adequate job describing some of the attributes of the Pinot Noir grape, while also telling the viewer why he’s a whiney, sniveling, self absorbed writer about to screw things up with a hot broad who is obviously way too good for him but for some reason is into him. If you watch the film (besides being funny and insightful, it’ll teach you about wine) you’ll see that Miles’ description of the pinot grape is a metaphor for him.  In this post, your sniveling, self-absorbed scribe will concentrate on Pinot Noir, focusing on California, while touching on Oregon and France for the sake of context.

 

France-Burgundy

Even though Groundskeeper Willie (The Simpsons) called the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”, they do know how to make a good pinot. A little background: In the US, we identify wine by its varietal (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir…). In France most wines are identified by region (Boudreaux, Burgundy, etc), and many regions grow several different grapes that are generally used in blends. Burgundy is an exception. For the most part, if you get a red from Burgundy, it’s made from the Pinot Noir grape (if white, a Chardonnay). Yes, these are some of the wines that all the French dudes make such a big fuss about. The reason? Well, Pinot is like a woman- fickle, unpredictable, particular, and isn’t about to let you sit on your ass every Saturday and Sunday with a 12 pack and a Costco sized bag of Doritos watching football all day. No, she demands attention. Otherwise, well, you’re asking for trouble. Anyway, French Pinots are known for their red fruit aromas, but develop what is known as a “barnyard” smell as they age. The French think this is cool. I’m not so sure about that, but Pinot grapes like cooler weather, which is why they thrive in Burgundy.

 

California-Napa

Most Pinot from Napa Valley comes from the Carneros region, in southern Napa Valley. Why? Well, if you been paying attention you might surmise that the Carneros region is cooler than the rest of Napa (two points to the one reader who actually got the answer). Anyway, Carneros is in the southern end of Napa, where it gets cool, moist air from the San Pablo Bay to the south. Carneros is also home to some of California’s best sparkling wine producers since most sparkling wine is made from…you guessed it…Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Hopefully, your head isn’t about to explode from all this learnin’. Examples of Carneros Pinots you might see on our shelves: Poseidon, Schug, Sean Minor.  

 

California-Sonoma

The Russian River Valley (in Sonoma) has a reputation for some of the finest Pinot’s California produces. Don’t go askin’ me why it’s called the Russian River. That’s’ what Google’s for. Known for aromas of wild strawberries and raspberries to cherries, these Pinots are kept cool by the fog and cool air that rolls up the Russian River, which dumps into the Pacific. It’s also home to one of California’s finest craft breweries: Russian River Brewing Company (home of “Pliney the Elder”. Don’t ask. If you want an explanation of Pliney the Elder, ask one of your beer-guzzling buddies). Some Russian River Pinots’ that have been known to grace the shelves of Uncorked: Iron Horse, Hartford Court.

 

California- Santa Ynez

Santa Ynez (Santa Barbaras’ wine region) lays claim to the Santa Rita Hills, which produces some awesome Pinots. Over on the west side of the larger Santa Ynez valley (near Lompoc and Vandenberg air force base) the Santa Rita hills have the distinction of being one of the few valleys (created by the hills) that runs east west, allowing Pacific breezes to cool the valley and the pinot and chardonnay grapes that grow there. This is where most of the Pinot’s Miles babbles on endlessly about hail from. Here you’ll find outstanding Pinots from Melville, Seasmoke, and Hilliard Bruce to name a few.

 

California- Santa Lucia Highlands

These “highlands” are located in Monterey County on the terraces of the eastern slope of the Santa Lucia mountain range overlooking the Salinas River Valley, on the back side of Big Sur. They get fog and cool air funneling down from Monterey Bay, which lies to the Northwest. Pinot’s from SLH tend to be bigger and richer (sort of like that fat friend of your dads that drives the Porsche) than Pinot’s from other areas so if you’re more of a big cab guy or gal, give a Pinot from here a shot. Wines from this area that may be gracing the shelves at Uncorked: CRU “Vineyard Montage”-Santa Lucia Highlands, Caraccioli Cellars.

 

California- Monterey

Although the Santa Lucia Highlands is the premier pinot growing area in Monterey, the rest of the county deserves a mention, as it produces some fine Pinots as well. Taste-wise, Pinots from this area tend to be darkly colored and lean towards tasting of dark fruit. Our own Pier Avenue Pinot hails from Monterey County. Hey- it’s our blog, we get a chance to hype our own juice…

 

Oregon- Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley is home to over 400 wineries and is a broad valley composed of six specific Viticultural Areas southwest of Portland. The general attributes that make this valley ideal for Pinot is that…well…it’s in Oregon. Yeah, it’s generally cooler there than say California…In addition, the latitude of the midpoint of the valley is the same as Burgundy’s (remember Burgundy = Pinot) Cote d’Or. At times Oregon Pinot’s can mirror their counterparts over in Burgundy. If you visit the valley, you can check out the joint in Portland that sells bacon maple bar doughnuts. Whatever. We’ve been know to carry Willamette Valley Pinots from Brooks, Walter Scott, Dominius



Now Tasting


Wine Tasting List

Bidaia Txakolina

2016 Gatariako Txakolina, Spain (80% Hondarribi Zuri, 15% Chardonnay, 5% Petit Corbu)

Txakoli is a slightly spritzy, very dry and zippy wine that hails from Spain's Basque country. This salty, citrusy example is comprised primarily of Hondarribi Zuri, one of the classic Txakoli varieties, as well as small amounts of Chardonnay and Petit Corbu. Lean, linear and very thirst-quenching. $16.99

 

Ridge Crest Chardonnay

2014 Columbia Valley, WA

Our 2014 Chardonnay aged sur lees in stainless steel tanks for 12 months prior to bottling. Consistent with our 2013 chardonnay there are aromas of stone fruit, vanilla and chêvre cheese. The crisp palate is balanced with natural acidity and richness made possible by routine batonnage; aka, lees stirring. The satisfying finish continues to evolve one glass to the next. $14.99

 

Rascal Pinot Noir

2015 McMinnville, OR

The Great Oregon Wine Company is pleased to bring you this delightful Pinot Noir. Deep ruby coloring with aromas of raspberry & dried herbs. This fruit forward wine shows focused flavors of cherry, earth, and light toast. $14.99

 

Leali di Monte Acuto Groppello

2016 Garda, Lombardy, Italy (85% Groppello Gentile, 15% Barbera)

I LOVE this wine! The aroma is complex with notes of mature fruit, licorice and spice. On the palate, dry but balanced with finely integrated tannins and a soft, supple finish. This wine is a chameleon and can pair with just about any dish. $19.99

 

Finca San Martin Crianza

2012 Rioja, Spain (100% Tempranillo)

Medium-high depth, intense cherry red, with a clean, bright pink rim. The nose stands out for its intense aromas of red blackberries, wild strawberries and hints of underbrush set against a balsamic background of aniseed, sweet liquorice, cinnamon and cedar to round off a fine bouquet. Very noticeable velvety texture in the mouth, with well-balanced acidity and elegant, pleasant tannins, giving way to a fresh aftertaste in which the nuances of ripe fruit and liquorice showcase the typicity of this Rioja Alavesa wine. $24.99

 

Premium Tasting List

Kieu Hoang Winery Estate Pinot Noir

2014 Carneros, Napa Valley, CA

The Estate grown 2014 Pinot Noir is a Rich, full bodied yet elegant wine. Complex aromas that range from Blackberry, Raspberry, and Dried Black Plum. Enjoy by the glass or with your favorite meal. Kieu Hoang Winery is located in Napa Valley in the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA). The Carneros District is the southernmost grape growing region in Napa Valley. The fog and evening breezes off nearby San Pablo Bay make the Carneros AVA the coolest wine producing region in the valley, ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Uncorked Pinot Club Selection November 2017. $39.99

 

Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo

2008 Cannubi, Piedmont, Italy

The most famous vineyards in the Langhe and in Italy are in the heart of the Cannubi, a small and sought-after hill where it is said that Barolo was born. Nebbiolo is the grape variety behind the top-quality red wines of Piedmont including Barolo. Nebbiolo wines are distinguished by their strong tannins, high acidity and distinctive scent – often described as "tar and roses". A less obvious characteristic, visible only over time, is their tendency to lose color. Within just a few years of vintage, most Nebbiolo wines begin fading from deep, violet-tinged ruby to a beautiful brick orange. This wine is drinking well now and will continue to do so for many years to come. $59.99

 

Acumen Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, CA

This full-bodied wine opens with aromas of violets, lavender, fresh rosemary, and espresso. On the palate we find flavors of black cherries, red plums, mountain blueberries, mission figs, and chocolate covered orange peel with sweet clay, freshly turned earth, and pencil shavings giving way to ripe, mouth-coating tannins on the long and powerful finish. An elegant and well-balanced combination of fruit, tannic structure, and acidity, this is our finest Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon to date. 93 Points Wine Enthusiast. $61.99