Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2010 Clos De La Tech "Santa Cruz Mountain Estates" Pinot Noir

Silicon chips and Burgundy? 

It might seem a strange combination but a confluence of factors has contributed to bringing together these seemingly disparate items, and the end result is compelling.

We begin with T.J. Rodgers, the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, which is located in Silicon Valley, the renowned technological center. We then continue on to Clos de la Tech Winery, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, deep within the center of the Silicon Valley. The connection is that Rodgers founded this winery in 1994. As Rodgers loves French Burgundy, he was driven to create Pinot Noir at his winery. Melding his worlds, Rodgers places the picture of a silicon chip on the neck of each bottle of his wines.

The winery has three vineyards, including: Domaine du Docteur Rodgers, a one-acre vineyard that produces about 100 cases of Pinot Noir annually; Domaine Valeta, so high in the Santa Cruz Mountains that it snows and which produces only 200 cases of Pinot Noir annually; and Domaine Lois Louise, which currently produces 1,500 cases of Pinot Noir annually and will produce 10,000 cases when in full production. As their web state states: "Some of the highlights at Clos de la Tech include extreme growing conditions, high-altitude terrain, vine-by-vine farming, high-density planting (4,150 vines per acre), low yields (below one ton per acre), innovative equipment, gravity-flow winery, whole cluster fermentations and no filtration."

I received a media sample of their 2010 Pinot Noir "Santa Cruz Mountain Estates" ($42). This wine is made from five different Pinot Noir grapes, from all three of their vineyards, though most come from steep, south facing hillsides. The grapes are crushed by foot, and then undergo whole closer fermentation with native heat and malolactic fermentation on the lees. The wine is aged for about 12 months in French oak, from the Betrange Forest, with 75% new oak. It is bottled unfiltered, has a 14.4% ABV, and about 384 cases were produced.

With a dark red, almost purple color, the wine presents with an alluring nose of black fruit and spice. On the palate, it is muscular though elegant, with restrained tannins, with bold, lush flavors of plum and black cherry, with rich spices notes and an underlying earthy element. The satisfying finish lingered on for quite some time, and I found the wine to be complex, well balanced, and delicious. It should be accompanied by a hearty dish, such as juicy steak or leg of lamb. A nice alternative to choosing a Cabernet Sauvignon as an accompaniment to your steak.

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