I recently had an opportunity to participate in a virtual “Tweet Jam” put on by Central Coast Wine and Food and Amy Corron Power, writer for Another Wine Blog. This Twitter-based tasting featured the Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills' 2009 Pinot Noir. Joining us online to answer questions, inform, and entertain, was Wes Hagen -- vineyard manager and winemaker at Clos Pepe as well as a glowing YouTube personality. The catchy hash-tag we used for the Twitter tasting, #DirtDontLie, speaks to the producer’s minimal intervention approach to wine-making and desire to craft estate-grown wines that best express the vineyard, vintage, and grape variety.
For Clos Pepe Vineyards and the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, those grape varieties are chiefly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Sta. Rita Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) is located in Santa Barbara and is part of the greater (and generally warmer) Santa Ynez Valley AVA. The Sta. Rita Hills has a moderating maritime influence and its cool [overall] macro-climate, ample sunshine, and long growing season are well-suited to Burgundy's two key grape varieties.
Wes wrote the original AVA petition and helped define the appellation’s boundaries. In 2001, the Sta. Rita Hills was officially recognized as an AVA. Since that time, area winegrowers, winemakers, farmers, and the quality of wine coming out of this small sub-appellation have assisted in putting the Sta. Rita Hills name on the Pinot Noir wine map – which, by the way, is fairly limited. Please see my tasting notes accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle and a link to the wine below.
Review: Clos Pepe Sta. Rita Hills 2009 Estate Pinot Noir (SRP $62): This wine displays a beautiful (medium) crimson-garnet color in the glass with layers of fresh acidity over aromas of perfumed raspberry, black cherry, dried rose petals and brown spice with a trace of mineral undertones. The palate matches the nose with good depth of fruit, length, and a lovely texture. It's drinking nicely now (especially with 30 to 45 minutes of air) and will continue to develop over time. Overall, this is a delicious and elegant Pinot Noir that begs for a table, good company, and a scrumptious meal (I’m thinking grilled lamb chops or seared duck breast). Approximately 900 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.1%, cork enclosure.) 93 Points. Click here to find this wine.
Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.
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