January 25, 2007

2005 Steele Carneros Pinot Noir, Sonoma, California

Another standout wine from Carneros. I must be beginning a Carneros kick to replace my focus on Syrah. I could do much worse. This wine is the result of efforts by Jed Steele. Jed is not only a terrific wine maker, he is a pretty cool person. This I know first hand. In my previous life I had the opportunity to cross paths and share wine with Jed on numerous occasions. Back then his wines were solid. This one is no exception, though I have had wines from Steele that have varied. The Pinot Noirs, though, seem to always be of top quality.

Jed started making wine in 1991. If I remember correctly, he was a transplant from Boston to California... but don't quote me on that. Anyway, he came to California and developed not only a passion for wine, but a passion for making wine. He started in 1991 using fruit purchased from grape growers and made his wine in a shared winery in which he rented space. He was a natural. By 1996 11 out of 18 wines that Jed made were rated outstanding, and it was in 1996 that he purchased a winery and began expanding his efforts.

This wine had really pronounced strawberry in the nose, very concentrated. There were also hints of cassis and a slight smokiness. The palate carried the strawberry fruit, balanced with a little chocolate. There was oak in the palate, but really subtle, and the finish was longish but not unpleasant. All in all a very solid Pinot Noir that paired perfectly with the salmon that I had for dinner.

It is appropriate that I had this wine now as at about this time every year Jed would throw a pre-Oscars party where people would dress up, drink his wines, eat great food and try to predict who would win what awards. It is now pre-Oscars time and I just had a Jed Steele wine. I do not have any Oscar predictions, though. For that, you must check my other blog...

Just kidding. I could care less about the Oscars.

cost - $22.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 8.5

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