Domestic Selection: Pinot Noir, 1987. Peacock Hill
Things certainly are looking good for us WOMC enthusiasts in 1992! I would never have imagined that Paul could find two lovely Pinot Noirs within such a short period of time (seven months), especially considering the price class of most Pinot Noirs. The last one was Tony Austin’s 1988 (#691A) sent last June. That was a beautiful wine, but wait ’til you taste this Peacock Hill!
Winemaker Norman Yost, a University of California, Davis graduate, served a four year apprenticeship at Monticello Cellars in the Napa Valley, first in the cellar and then as the Assistant Wine-maker. The opportunity to assume the title and responsibilities of Winemaker at Peacock Hill lured him there at its beginning in 1986.
The vineyards are located approximately 60 miles north of San Francisco, within the appellation (viticultural district) officially designated by the U.S. Government as the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Lying 22 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and one mile east of the Russian River itself, the climate there is best described as “coastal cool”.
Pinot Noir seems to thrive best in cooler winegrowing districts. Perhaps “thrive” is a bad choice of words here. The vine itself seems to “perform” best in extreme, adverse (colder) climates, like Burgundy, France (“Bourgogne”, the grape’s ancestral homeland), the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and the Carneros and Russian River districts in California. A “shy-bearing” producer, the Pinot Noir vine yields a relatively short crop in these cooler regions. What it gives up in quantity it seems to gain in quality. Wines from this varietal are seldom full-bodied or dark in color. They can, however, exhibit a complexity which combines gentility with a depth of flavor and texture unsurpassed in any other red wines.
Our selection has the color of a mature wine: medium-dark brick-red. Its Pinot nose jumps out of the glass, like someone had heaped a bushelbasketful of raspberries and wild strawberries onto your table. Smooth, round and medium-full in the mouth, with perfectly balanced, dry, clean, refreshing acidity, the wine features traditional plum/raspberry “Burgundian” fruit flavors. It finishes with an almost “candied” aftertaste.
Serve at cool room temperature with roast leg of lamb marinated in red wine, garlic, parsley and black pepper.
Cellaring Notes: Enjoy this wine now and throughout 1992.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper
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