2008 Carneros Pinot Noir
California: Carneros (Sonoma & Napa)
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine deserves special recognition. Agent red declares this wine to be the “… best 2008 Pinot Noir tasted so far this year…”
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Mission Codename: Sun, Soil, Humanity
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate reports that Trinitas Cellars makes a stellar Carneros Pinot Noir. If true, secure an ample cache for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Trinitas Cellars
Wine Subject: 2008 Pinot Noir Carneros
Winemaker: Kevin Mills
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. Trinitas Cellars 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 – Dark Burgundy color, deeply concentrated, with a distinctly iridescent surface. When swirled, the wine leaves behind branching legs that start off chubby and then get thinner as they run slowly down the glass.
Smell – Earthy and dark, with dark fruits of darkest blackberry, dark cranberry and black cherry. These sit right atop more earthen aromas of mild toasted mixed nuts, bramble and brown mushroom.
Feel – Plush and full, up front, then round across the mid palate, where the wine settles in and shows off a balanced medium weight and rich body.
Taste – Bold and delicious, with flavors of sweet fruit of dark mixed berry compote, baked red apple and mulberry. These play beautifully with darker flavors of cinnamon, earthen mushroom, lightest roasted nuts, and dark chocolate.
Finish – Starts off flavorful and sweet, then goes distinctly warm and softly tart as fruit transforms to more earthen flavors.
Conclusion – We love this wine! We have come to expect most 2008 vintage Pinot Noir to show a little young and tight, but this wine is ready to drink now. We can’t wait to revisit a few bottles in the coming years. Sweet and fruity forward, but balanced against earthen flavors that give the wine a great Old World/New World appeal, this is a really intriguing and very delicious wine that is a joy to drink. Enjoy on a warm afternoon with a sunny day picnic, or pair it with more sophisticated dining fare.
Below is a recap of Agent Red’s original mission when he visited Trinitas Cellars:
Located at the southern end of the Napa Valley, nestled behind the Meritage Resort & Spa and buried in and underground cave, lies a remarkable secret: Trinitas Cellars.
Trinitas first came to my attention while on stakeout during a prior mission. I was on a vetting mission and was keeping an eye on a potential new asset. If this person proved to have the connections that she was reported to, I’d be recruiting her by days end.
I had followed her to the Meritage Resort, when she was having what looked to be a poolside meeting with a group I recognized as some heavy-hitters in the biz. These guys are all business and so I knew that my target must have the chops that her dossier suggested.
A waitress offered me a menu but I politely waved it away. Instead, I simply asked her for a glass of their best house Pinot Noir.
The wine arrived. The waitress set it down on the table in front of me. I handed her a $20 and told her to keep the change. I sat and watched my target for some time before finally picking up the wine.
I inhaled deeply – and the hairs on my neck stood up. This, I could tell, was one excellent wine! I spent the next several minutes enraptured by the wine. It was a young wine, I could tell, but it was very impressive.
When I finally looked up, my target was gone! How could I let myself be so distracted? On scanning the area, my eyes came to rest on an anomaly in the landscape; The hill that sat behind me, over my right shoulder, was obviously manmade. I had seen enough ‘hills’ like this to know that it was a wine cave!
I got to my feet and dashed toward the hill. Cleverly concealed as it might have been, I quickly found the entrance. Once inside I made my way through the cavern, eventually finding – a full tasting room!
And there, at the bar, was my target and her cohorts.
The woman behind the bar beamed at me and said, “Welcome to Trinitas Cellars!”
Trinitas, eh? This requires deeper investigation…
Agent Red, out!
Agent White, reporting:
Is Agent Red losing it? Does he need glasses? The sign above the wine cave clearly reads, “Trinitas Cellars”. At least he returned to HQ with samples of that Pinot Noir. The Pinot, of course, turned out to be a 2007 Carneros Pinot Noir from Trinitas – and today we are proud to present you with an opportunity to try this special wine for yourself.
As for Agent Red and his mission worthiness, we are recommending that he be placed under closer scrutiny. His wine-finding skills are still top-notch, but his methods and his reports leave just a tad to be desired!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Trinitas Callears cave tasting room and winery can be seen, behind the Meritage Resport & Spa, in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
“Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of ripe black cherries, strawberries and raspberries accented by a wild flower bouquet and supporting toasty oak. A riper style with a middle weighted, earth-kissed cherry core offering a grilled meat, smoky and dusty edge with a hint of root beer. Admirable finesse makes for easy drinking. A little more alcohol than I prefer, but it is well-integrated. Plenty of pleasure for the tab. Very good.” – PinotFile
About This Wine:
Aromatics of candied red fruit, vanilla, mocha, and campfire. It boasts flavors of baked red apples covered in butter and cinnamon with a rich entry and broad mid palate. The weight of the fore- and mid-palate over shadow the delicate dark chocolate finish which will lengthen with age.
The Winemaking: This wine is open top fermented punched down 4 times daily. It was barrel aged in 60% new French oak for 10 months. The wine was kept in a reduced state to maintain fruit never being racked until bottling.
The Vineyard: Our Pinot Noir is grown near the tidal wet lands of Carneros. Cool westerly winds move through the canopy conditioning the fruit which extends the hang time and maximizes the ripeness. 90% Sonoma Carneros, 10% Napa Carneros
About The Winery:
Trinitas Cellars celebrates the connection among sun, soil and humanity by working closely with its grower society throughout Northern California to source a broad range of varietals from the regions where climate and soil conditions are most favorable. Small quantities of these exceptional-quality grapes are then handcrafted into an approachable California-style wine to be enjoyed as an aperitif or with food. The Busch family balances their resources to grow their business and benefit the community and their faith, by honoring and serving God in all they do.
Trinitas, the Latin word for Trinity, is the fundamental principle of Christianity. Trinity also symbolizes Sun, Soil & Humanity, which are the three ingredients evoking the perfect wine. It further reflects the triumvirate of the Wine Country lifestyle, Meritage Resort & Spa, and Trinitas wines.
About The Winemaker:
Kevin Mills – Kevin Mills grew up in Oklahoma where he and his family have grown vines since 1977. After years of hard work and many “interesting” wines they decided to go to school. Kevin enrolled in Grayson County College’s Viticulture and Enology program at Denison, Texas and together started Canadian River Winery. Kevin met Tony Peju of Peju Province Winery and mentored under then Peju Winemaker Sean Foster for four and a half years. Kevin took the winemaker position for Trinitas Cellars in January, 2007. His emphasis is to mainstream Trinitas with top tier Bordeaux and Burgundy varietals. Kevin has introduced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet programs to the Trinitas Portfolio.
Cases Produced: 880