Manzoni Estate Vineyards
2005 Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Manzoni Estate Vineyards
California: Monterey County: Santa Lucia Highlands
What we say
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Mission Codename: The Manzoni Code II
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Unlock more secrets of the Manzoni Family
Mission Status: In Process (details below)
Wine Subject: 2005 Santa Lucia Highlands Manzoni Estate Reserve Pinot Noir
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Juicy ruby red, with pink sparkling highlights at the edges
Smell – Big cherry, with caramel, oak, vanilla and subtle gunpowder with none of the barnyard we have tasted in recent Pinot Noirs from this region. A refreshing change!
Feel – Soft in the mouth with nice round tannins that please the entire mouth
Taste – Big boom of cherry, followed by restrained lavender, lightly toasted caramel, vanilla and easygoing oak
Finish – Long-lasting, all over mouth flavors and tannins that taper off beautifully… but then beg you to sip more
Conclusion – This is a superb Pinot Noir that breaks the mold and dares to be juicier and less rigid than most other Pinots I have tried recently. The combination of grapes grown in the Santa Lucia Highlands, tended by Master Grower Mark Manzoni and wine made by Master Winemaker Steve Pessagno is a certain winner in this spy’s opinion!
Wine Spies Mission Summary:
This is a follow-up to a previous mission in which I reported on Manzoni’s stupendous Syrah
For generations, the Manzoni Family have farmed the fertile land of Monterey County. The presence of the family in Monterey County began in 1921, when Joseph Manzoni and his wife Carolina left their home in Switzerland to seek a new life in America. Joseph brought with him old-world secrets of wine and grappa making. It is surmised that these secrets were passed to his son, Louie Manzoni, who founded Manzoni Estate Vineyard, and later to Joseph’s grandsons, Mark and Michael Manzoni.
I recently learned that a plot was under way to steal the family’s winemaking secrets and I rushed to investigate. So enamored with Manzoni wines am I that had to take action to protect the family.
A rival winemaker identity censored boasted to a Wine Spies asset that the family’s secrets were encoded within the family crest which is emblazoned on every bottle of Manzoni wine.
I decided that in order to protect the secrets, I must first decode the crest. While I pride myself on my ability to crack codes, this one proved extremely difficult. This time around I uncovered a very different message. In fact, as you read this report work is still underway to uncover additional information. Stay tuned to future reports when I will provide additional intelligence. For now, I have only been able to decode the following, which I can only conclude is either a delicious recipe or devious misinformation, meant to throw potential interlopers off the trail. You decide for yourself:
* Pinot Noir poached figs & berries*
1lb of raspberries
5-6oz of castor (fine) sugar
1 bottle Manzoni Estates Reserve Pinot Noir
Put aside 18 raspberries for garnish and puree the remainder in food processor or blender, straining out the seeds.
Place the puree in a saucepan with the sugar.
Bring to the boil gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves; add the wine.
Poach the figs in this mixture over low heat, uncovered for 4 minutes, turning once.
Remove figs with a slotted spoon and place in a shallow bowl.
Reduce the sauce gently and cool.
Serve the figs cold with sauce spooned over.
Decorate with a few freshly picked mint leaves and scattered raspberries.
As with this incredible Pinot Noir detailed above, the figs proved to be quite delicious. I suspect that this is a clever distraction, designed to throw me off the trail.
I will continue to attempt to decode the crest. Look for subsequent reporting in briefings on additional Manzoni wines.
The region where this wine came from can be seen in this satellite photo.
Wine Spies Technical Wine Analysis:
Harvest Date: September 27, 2005
pH: 3.47 Alcohol: 14.7%
TA: 6.5 gram/liter
Production: 88 cases
Bottled: Oct. 1, 2006
Winemaker: Stephen Pessagno
What the winery says
Our Vineyard is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County just west of the town of Gonzales. Our Reserve Pinot consists primarily of 115 & 777 clones from the Dijon selection imported from France in the mid 1990’s. Both clones are known for their contribution to the great reds of Burgundy. And also a La Tache clone.
Due to a warmer and wetter winter than usual our grape vines came out of dormancy early signaling the start to the growing season. However, late spring and summer saw below average summer temperatures with the warmest day only reaching 88 °F. This slowed maturation in the vineyard to a snail’s pace delaying harvest, is some cases, until November.
Hand harvested fruit was delivered to the winery and about 15 percent was transferred by hand as whole clusters to the bottom of a one ton fermentor. The balance of the fruit was gently crushed on top of them and allowed to “cold soak” for upwards of four days prior to fermentation. After fermentation the wine was pressed into a combination of mostly new French oak barrels where it matured for 11 month.
This wine is elegant and refined with complex berry aromas and good tannin structure. Red plum and lavender accentuate the nose while toasty caramel is evident in the flavor, a result of new French oak aging. This wine pairs well with moderately spiced foods such as grilled fish, chicken, and pork.