tarrica wines paso robles wine region in central california

WINE OF THE WEEK: Pinot noir as it should be

I have a gripe with California wine producers trying to create "Franken-wines" that are not true to their origins. Overextracted pinots mimicking syrahs with huge black fruit and chardonnays so buttery you could spread them on toast. This development has raised the ire of consumers, too. Tarrica Wine Cellars seems to buck the trend with this straightforward, easy-to-quaff pinot noir from the Monterey Peninsula.

The winery also delivers it to market at a good price. In the glass, Tarrica Pinot Noir is a vibrant semitranslucent garnet color with a firm, deeply colored core going out into a fine, slightly tinged light-garnet rim definition with high viscosity. On the nose, there are good amounts of crushed red plums, warm strawberry compote, cranberry juice, cherries jubilee and licorice root. Bright red flowers, green mint leaves and chalk-driven minerals round out the layered toasty nose. In the mouth, there are fresh crushed red berries, strawberries, plums, raspberry coulis, cranberry fondant, and copious amounts of phenols and chalky minerals with underlying hints of aniseed powder.

The midpalate appears rich and forward with good balance between fruit and acidity, as well as good tannin structure that reflects the relative cool climate the wine is coming from. The finish is very fine with hints of candied cranberries and faint oak references.

Tarrica is a Gevrey Chambertin-like pinot noir from what may well be considered one of the best areas for growing this grape in North America.

Wine: Tarrica Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Limited Release

Grape: Pinot noir

Region: Monterey Peninsula, Calif.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays.
Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749,
or e-mail him at gil@winevegas.com


tarrica wines, sirah, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and zinfadnel (805) 237-8693 • 111 Clark Road, Shandon, CA 93461