Tuesday, December 4, 2007

2003 Goldeneye Pinot Noir

I first had this wine at a wine dinner earlier this year and enjoyed it very much so I went out and bought a couple bottles.

The Goldeneye winery, located in the Anderson Valley, is part of the Duckhorn Company. The Goldeneye is a type of diving duck. The Anderson Valley is a cool California wine region on the western slope of the coastal mountain range about eighty miles north of San Francisco in Mendocino County. The winery is also located along the migratory pathway of the Goldeneye duck.

In 1990, Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, who were already making other wines, decided to craft a world class Pinot Noir so they chose to create the Goldeneye winery. Over the next six years, the Duckhorns experimented with fruit from the Russian River, Sonoma, Carneros and Anderson Valley appellations. They eventually settked on Mendocino's Anderson Valley. In 1996, the first 80-acre estate vineyard was selected.

Goldeneye harvested its first grapes in 1997. Since then, the winery has grown to include four estate vineyards, totaling 149 acres of vineyards which are planted with 23 different clonal varieties. The winemaker, Zach Rasmuson, focuses on achieving a balance between fruit, extraction and oak. He only selects a small percentage of the best fruit for the Goldeneye Pinot Noir. The rest of the grapes, still very good, are used to create a different label, Migration.

The 2003 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($50) is made from 100% Pinot Noir and has an alcohol content of 14.5%. The wine is aged in French oak, about 90% new, for around sixteen months. The wine is darker red than many lighter Pinots though still with a bit of translucence. It has a spicy nose with some dark berry notes. On the palate, the wine opens up into a complex melange of ripe dark berries and a variety of spices. It has some noticeable tannins and it feels more muscular than other Pinots. The finish lingers in your mouth for quite a long time. It is smooth, well balanced and eminently satisfying. This is a wine which could stand up to a good steak but which might overpower lighter foods.

I was very impressed with this wine and definitely recommend it as a Drink & Buy. It is a bit pricey but well worth it for a special occasion.

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