2005 Carneros Pinot Noir
California: Napa Valley: Carneros
What We Say
FINAL ALLOCATION ALERT:
We got our crafty hands on the final cases of today’s fabulous 2005 Carneros Pinot Noir from our friends at Truchard. When we sell out of this wine, there will no longer be any available… anywhere.c
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Mission Codename: Round One: Carneros v. Chambertin
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Raid the Pinot Noir library at Truchard Vineyards
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Truchard Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Carneros (Napa Valley) Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Sal De Ianni
Backgrounder: Some of our favorite California Pinot Noir comes from the Carneros viticultural area, a winegrowing region which straddles the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The cool Carneros region provides ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Pinot thrives here. Schug Winery is a Wine Spies favorite and we are proud to bring you today’s very special wine. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report to learn more about this fantastic Pinot Noir
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Crystal clear deep ruby red with darker orangish and brink hues through its core and along its edges that demonstrate this wine’s well developed character. When swirled, slow randomly-spaced thin legs cling to the edge of the glass.
Smell – Rich and aromatic rhubarb and spiced red fruit including red plum and wild raspberry are complexly layered over earthy mineral notes, a touch of funky mushroom, savory spice, black team and a hint of smoke.
Feel – Full-bodied, smooth and dry, this plush wine is soft, rich and well developed with supple fine tannins and solid but balanced acidity that lingers into the finish.
Taste – Well integrated and developed with rich and plush ripe red fruit included raspberry, strawberry and red plum with sweet and herbaceous rhubarb and spice. Dark earthy minerality melds with black tea and spice notes to make this wine quite complex but still very approachable.
Finish – Clean and gently fading earthy and spiced fruit linger on the palate held together by a soft and supple but still well structured acid and tannin base.
Conclusion – The 2005 Truchard Vineyards Carneros (Napa Valley) Pinot Noir will instantly appeal to those who like their Pinot’s to be rich, complex and well developed. Not your typical cherry cola wanna-be, this Carneros classic is reminiscent of the fine Pinot found in the Cotes de Nuits and Cotes de Beaune in Burgundy. We paired this lovely wine with Tarragon herb crusted roast chicken.
Truchard’s winemaker, Sal Iannna, was away on a secret mission of his own and we were unable to obtain an updated interview about today’s wine. For your reading pleasure, please enjoy our previous interview, in which Sal discusses his career and Truchard’s wonderful Chardonnay – a wine that we featured earlier this year.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Sal De Ianni
WINE EDUCATION: M.S. Fermentation Sciences, UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: 1994 Hess Collection, 1995-96 Cuvaison Estate Wines, 1998-present Truchard Vineyards
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Hands Off”
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “It’s all about balance”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1995
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Sal. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Carneros Estate Chardonnay today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SAL: Wine tasting classes at Northwestern University, Chicago restaurants
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SAL: Dr. Michael Peterkin (Margaret River, Australia) taught me the “hands off” approach.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
SAL: Tony & JoAnne Truchard (my bosses), myself, and anyone else who wants to try it.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SAL: 100% Estate Carneros fruit, 30% new French Oak, 30% ML, lower alcohol, higher acid.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SAL: Grilled scallops, Corn Chowder
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Carneros region so special?
SAL: Foggy mornings, cooler days, breezing evenings… long hang time.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SAL: Racking the 2009 red wines, getting ready to bottle the 2009 Roussanne.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
SAL: Most importantly enjoy them with family and friends over a meal.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SAL: The 2006 vintages wines are all tasting great right now!
WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Truchard winery, which can be visited by appointment only, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
EXCELLENT – Koeppel on Wine – Those whose palates dote on the red wines of Burgundy rightly gripe that pinot noir wines from California (and sometimes Oregon) can be too deep and dark, too extracted, too ripe and spicy and brown-sugary, too high in alcohol, and, to boot, flabby from lack of acid. Notice that I say “can be,” because not all of California’s pinot noirs are velvety-flocked blockbusters, one example being this elegant, ethereal yet earthy Pinot Noir 2005 from Truchard. The color is an entrancing medium ruby shading to pale violet at the rim; smoky black cherry scents and flavors hint at cranberry and touches of watermelon and rhubarb for a wild aspect. In the mouth, the wine slides like satin, though it’s satin that carries a sense of vibrant acid and dense earthy-minerally-mossy qualities. Just lovely.
Ken’s Wine Guide (link) – This bright ruby colored Pinot opens with a spicy raspberry like bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, very nicely balanced, easy to drink and soft. The flavor profile is a tasty raspberry. The finish is dry and nicely extended. Pair this tasty Pinot with a broiled salmon. Enjoy – Ken
About This Wine:
Rich aromas of wild strawberry, rhubarb, and ripe plum; combined with subtle notes of tea and sweet vanilla. The mouth is silky layered with flavors of black cherry, cassis, and toasted oak. Firm acidity and delicate tannins focus the palate and provide a lingering finish of spice and red fruit.
About The Winery:
Truchard Vineyards is a small family owned winery in Carneros region of Napa Valley. Proprietors Tony and Jo Ann Truchard have managed a successful vineyard and grown exceptional grapes for over 30 years. Through their hard work and devotion to this unique property, they helped pioneer grapegrowing in the Carneros. In 1989 the Truchards established a winery and began producing wines using only their estate-grown fruit.
About The Winemaker:
Sal De Ianni: I was born and raised in Greenfield, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. I attended Marquette University, and graduated in 1991 with a BS in Chemistry. In the fall of 1991 I moved to Evanston, Illinois, and began graduate studies at Northwestern University. My goal was to earn a Ph. D. in Analytical Chemistry, then find a well-paying job doing research and development. While at Northwestern, I enrolled in some wine appreciation classes hoping to break up the monotony of my research. Six months later the wine courses were more interesting than my research; I decided that I would rather pursue a wine-related job than a career in chemistry. By December of 1992 I had earned a MS in Analytical Chemistry; that same month I was accepted to the Viticulture and Enology department at UC Davis. I moved to California in May of 1993 and began classes that fall.
I worked my first harvest in 1994 at Hess Collection Winery. I spent 6 months in the cellar, and then returned to school. During the 1995 vintage, I worked at Cuvaison Winery, in both the cellar and the lab. After six months, I went back to Davis to finish my thesis:
“Investigating Methods of Detecting Urea in Wine.” In the summer of 1996, I received my MS in Enology and returned to Cuvaison for the upcoming harvest, as the enologist.
Immediately after harvest I was offered the opportunity work in Margaret River, Western Australia. I would be the “
temporary” winemaker at a small ultra-premium winery – Pierro Margaret River Vineyards. I left for Australia in January 1997 and returned to Cuvaison in August, just in time for the 1997 harvest there in California.
After my winemaking experience in Australia, it was hard to go back to being an enologist; so I began searching for a winemaking position in the Napa Valley. I answered a help-wanted ad the local paper which read “small, family-owned winery looking for a hands-on winemaker.” I joined Tony and Jo Ann Truchard at Truchard Vineyards in January 1998.