BlackStone Hits High Note

I could tell from the first sip that I was tasting something special, but it wasn’t a blockbuster.

It was forthright, but not over the top. It didn’t pulverized my palate. Quite the opposite.

I smelled strawberries on the nose. The scent reminded me of these incredible little strawberries that we got from Louisiana when I was a boy.

Sweet-tart, red and fragrant.

The approach was smooth and silky. Just a bit of earthiness  (crimini mushroom?) added a pleasant, minor contrast. 

Blackstone Winery, Kenwood

Over about an hour, more nuances emerged. A sliver of oak, a dab of cinnamon, and some emerging red cherry notes, including a sense of the cherry pit.

The wine was Blackstone 2009 Sonoma Reserve pinot noir ($18, suggested retail).

If the rest of the class of 2009 California pinot noir follows this lead, we’re in for some good times in wine country.

Sensational Surprise

I tasted through the Blackstone lineup last year and liked their merlot but nothing prepared me for this exceptional pinot noir.

The color of the 2009 reserve pinot was so dark  that I suspected that winemaker Gary Sitton had included a heartier grape in the mix, but I was wrong.

This is 100 percent pinot noir from vineyards in the Carneros and Sonoma Coast regions.

Three quarters of the grapes were grown in Sonoma; the rest in Napa.

Cool Pick

The crop was hand-picked, at night, and then rushed to the winery where a three-day cold soak process was used prior to fermentation to draw as much flavor and color as possible. After fermentation, using native yeast, the wine was aged for eight months in French oak.

This wine would be great with grilled lamb chops with mint sauce, roasted red potatoes and sautéed green beans with slithered almonds.

I enjoyed the sample sent to me for review so much that I went out the next day and tried to buy another bottle of my own, but I haven’t been able to find it in any of my local outlets.

If you happen to run into this wine, I’d like to hear what you think. And, please tell me where you got it!

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