Wine Review – 2004 Brewer Clifton Rancho Santa Rosa Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California

brewercliftonpinotWinery: Brewer-Clifton Wines

Bottling: 2004 Rancho Santa Rosa Pinot Noir

Region: California

Sub-Region: Santa Rita Hills

Estimated Retail Price: $60 – $70

Purchase Details & Tasting Source: I originally intended to order a 2007 Melville Estate Pinot Noir off the restaurant menu, but our server and sommelier decided to offer some other alternative, interesting selections that were not on the menu.  This Brewer Clifton was one and an aged 2002 vintage of the original selection were available at the same prices.  I wanted the 2002 Melville, but fiance wanted the Brewer Clifton; hence today’s wine review.

Tasting Notes: While the wine sat in the glass, you could see from it’s color how vibrant and fresh it was.  It just looked alive.  The nose was immediately appealing and had a rich aroma of red and blue fruits like cherries and blueberries and sweet wood and earth.

In the mouth were dense and packed flavors of cherries and blueberries and a savoriness that balanced out all of the fruit, oh so well.  This pinot had its umami groove going on and we were all enjoying the impact this pinot was having on all of us at the table.  The wine was very firm and juicy and had a lot of life in it for a few more years of aging.

I knew this was going to be a bigger and more opulent style of pinot noir since I was already familiar with the winery’s style as well as the vineyard’s reputation for creating muscular pinot noirs.  What’s incredible about this wine is how well the unusually high alcohol level is hidden.  I’ve had countless wines with high alcohol levels like this that achieve the goal of being more full-bodied, but also burn the back of your esophagus in the process.  This wine was extremely well-made and didn’t flex any of its ethyl muscle at all.

Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: This wine would be so nice with a pork tenderloin roasted with herbs or roasted with a pan drippings and fruit reduction sauce that has cherries in it.  This is also something to savor over the course of a few years if you have the means to purchase several bottles.

brewercliftonpinotiiWinery & Other Background Information: It’s probably close to impossible to find any 2004s of this pinot around, since the production is so small.  It’s also three vintages old, making it even harder to track it down.  The best thing to do at this point is to start buying Brewer-Clifton’s current releases, sock some away and then drink as you go.

It goes without saying that their wines were already good to begin with, but every years release of the new vintages, brings even better finished products than vintage prior.


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