A sublime, charismatic wine from Sonoma

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Intense varietal: Tne 2010 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir comes from grapes grown in the Pacific coastline wine-growing region of Sonoma. The character of this fruit is dark and intense in nature but still charismatic. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

So much has been written about Pinot Noir for decades because of a fascination by winemakers to master this challenging varietal. Pinot Noir was translated to mean “Pine Black” by the French and it remains as one of the oldest known grape varietals. In some form it existed back in the middle ages and has undergone decades of mutations with hundreds of clones in existence today. It is a fragile scrawny small vine that is susceptible to excessive heat, rot, diseases and pests while thriving in cool climates where other grapes might not even reach maturity. It can be harsh and unforgiving while only achieving greatness a few times in a decade in some regions. At its pinnacle it can be the most sublime and memorable wine you may ever experience.

Its origin and history is synonymous with the “Golden Slope” Cote d’Or region of Burgundy, just southeast of Paris and north of the town of Dijon. Within these limestone and gravely soils famous names such as Vosne-Romanee, Clos du Vougeot and others have derived, yet this remains a fraction of the amount of Pinot Noir that is grown throughout the world. In North America there are distinct stylistic differences and flavor profiles between each appellation such as Willamette Valley in Oregon and Russian River Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Rita Hills, Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley in California. The fog driven maritime influence and soils of these coastal regions favor the development of unique floral aromatics and a youthful complexity to the wines. Pinot Noirs can be very expressive with earthy, mushroom and gamey overtones to concentrated, savory red fruit-driven personalities.

The early friendship of Don Patz and James Hall developed into a synergy for creating a portfolio of expressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from California. The 2010 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is sourced from the Pacific coastline wine-growing region of Sonoma stretching from San Pablo Bay to Mendocino. The character of this fruit is dark and intense in nature but still charismatic. There are violets with faint notes of truffle inside a medium-dark frame. Vibrant spices, hard candy and dark cherries are held together nicely with delicious purity and tapered acidity that make this a Pinot Noir with substance from start to finish.

Suggested Retail: $ 29.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.