Tasting Notes: The oldest Pinot vines in Santa Lucia Highlands

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Last week, I met the owner of White Hart Wine, Marcel van Stuijvenberg, and tasted through his excellent lineup. His wines are great examples of the kind of juice I’m always on the lookout for: small production, quality vineyards, great values, and delicious!
I stocked up on his excellent Pinot Noir, made from the oldest vines the Santa Lucia Highlands, which just oozes tasty black cherry and baking spice flavors. For $23 (a single vineyard Pinot from California for under $30?!) it’s a steal.
I also couldn’t resist grabbing one of the few cases left of his Tannat-Dornfelder blend – so unique and so flavorful. If you’re a fan of old-vine California reds, or looking for something special to pair with a nice steak dinner, give this a try.

White Hart Pinot Noir – $23
The Details:  From the 44 year old McIntyre vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the U.S.’ premier Pinot Noir growing regions. In California there’s been such a rush to plant Dijon clones that old clones like these are hard to find. Only 1,300 cases made.
The Notes: A ripe and complex Pinot. Vanilla, clove, hickory smoke and black cherry on the aromatic nose. Flavors of juicy black plum and black raspberries with hints of clove and spicecake.

White Hart “Vasthoudend” – $33
The Details:  A unique blend, mostly Tannat (a dark, dry grape from France) rounded out by a dollop of Dornfelder (a German grape that typically produces floral and purple-y fruit notes), from Monterey. Very small production.
The Notes: A compelling mix of old world savoriness and new world ripeness. Rich and concentrated, with well-integrated notes of black cherry, cedar, tobacco, crème de cassis and espresso. A delicious must-try for fans of bold Cabs and blends.

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