2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
California: Santa Cruz County
What We Say
Today’s fantastic Pinot Noir delivers and exceptional value, earning it today’s QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert!
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Mission Codename: Major Nelson
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate Bargetto Winery, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, whose 2008 Nelson Vineyard Pinot Noir is reputed to be spectacular. If true, procure an ample cache for our Pinot-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bargetto Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Michael Sones
Backgrounder: The Santa Cruz mountains, just North of Monterey (another great Pinot-producing region), are home to a small handful of lucky growers and producers. Pinot Noir grown in the region tend to be more concentrated and robust, with character that is more Burgundian than a traditional California Pinot. Today’s wine is the best Santa Cruz wine we have had the pleasure to taste!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby red hues, with a shimmering fine rim of pink at the edge of the glass. Color is concentrated, but clear through its slightly darker heart. This wine settles very quickly when swirled. When it settles, tears that start off fat, go thin, and then quickly run down the glass.
Smell – A rush of concentrated Bing cherry greets you at first. Then, wild blackberry, bramble, earth and brown spice follow. Under these, black pepper and a hint of black gunpowder emerge – especially as the wine breaths for a while.
Feel – Soft and round on the tip of the tongue. The wine takes on some weight at the mid-palate as firm tannins and a bright acidity coat the palate – including the roof of the mouth – with a soft dryness and red fruit flavors, backed by a mineral-laden black pepper.
Taste – Bold and bright cherry on the initial attack, followed closely by earthy cranberry, young blackberry and young strawberry. After the wine passes the palate, soft dried violet, black pepper, minerals and a hint of tobacco emerge – and linger into the finish.
Finish – Bright and mouthwatering, this wine reveals additional flavors after you sip, evolving from bright and tart to slightly earthy and spicy, with black pepper and hints of dried violets and dried tobacco leaf.
Conclusion – This wine is a real treat that delivers big value! Balanced and delicious, this wine is a special treat, especially for those Operatives that buy up our usual Napa and Sonoma Pinot Noir Offerings; It is interesting and even exciting to sample the unique terroir of the Santa Cruz Mountains. With a great balance of fruit and earthen characteristics, this wine really does deliver a unique experience. A delicious one, too! Pair this food-friendly wine with nearly anything.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Spencer Spetnagal, Enologist Bargetto Winery.
WINE EDUCATION: Oenology degree from Lincoln University New Zealand
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Assistant Winemaker Bargetto Winery- plus 4 years winemaking in Sonoma
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Wine starts in the vineyard. The best grapes make the best wines, plus a few magic tricks I’ve picked up.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” – Dave Matthews
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2004
AGENT RED: Greetings, Spencer. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SPENCER: Thanks to you too. I’m really having a lovely day in my office. I hope your day is going smoothly in this email here that we are corresponding by. This is my first interview like this, I’m a little nervous, so please forgive me of any rants that I happen to go on involving Sarah Palin or conspiracy theories.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SPENCER: It was more a time of my life. I waited tables in fine dining in Atlanta Georgia during my undergrad years. I fell in love with the finished product and decided that I was going to be a winemaker out west. I’ve always been outdoorsy and active and I knew I was never going to work at a cubicle. The physical effort that goes into winemaking is perfect for me. It is also dependant on Mother Nature, which makes it even more interesting. There are so many aspects that we have no control over, but there also a million other variables that we can control. It’s a perfect blend of Art and Science.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SPENCER: For me, every varietal has the opportunity to be an excellent bottle of wine when grown in the right climate and handled by a knowledgeable winemaker. I enjoy a large number of styles for wines. Doing my Oenology and Viticulture program in New Zealand, and working there for two years did give me a definite influence in cool climate winemaking. I do love the complexity that cool climates can provide to certain varietals
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SPENCER: Me! I don’t do this job because it is easy. It’s not. I do this because I absolutely love it. So as long as I am having fun with what I do; I believe that I will make fun and attractive wines that people will like, and hopefully even love. Wines reflect their makers as much as pets reflect their owners. Hopefully the consumers will also love my wine because of the passion that I put into it.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SPENCER: Bargetto Winery’s 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains has just won a gold medal from Affairs of the Vine’s Pinot Summit. Pinot out of the SCM is our specialty.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SPENCER: Pinot and Rack of New Zealand Lamb. Again a product of living in New Zealand for 2 years.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Santa Cruz Mountains so special?
SPENCER: Santa Cruz Mountains is a special appellation because of the acidity and microclimates we have. On the Western slopes of the appellation we grow great cool climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. On the Eastern slopes of the mountains Amazing Cabernet Sauvignon is next to brilliant Syrah. I love the difference you find within miles of the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountain range.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SPENCER: It is all about blending and bottling. Of the 2009 vintage we’ve already made our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from last year. Now we are beginning to get into our Syrah, and Dolcetto, and Cab Sauv is on the horizon. We are also bottling our aromatic whites of 2010, like the Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Pinot Grigio. Then there is always the babysitting the current vintage as it ages in oak barrels
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
SPENCER: Enjoy with others. For centuries wine has always been found in social settings. Continue that. Share with friends and enjoy the beautiful lives that we lead.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SPENCER: I tried to be as natural and candid as I could be by answering questions in email, rather than face to face. Have a great March.
RED: 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 Bargetto Winery’s Regan Vineyard, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Bargetto Winery’s 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir is filled with aromas of fresh dark fruit, dark cherries and black currants. The cool climate of the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation builds good acidity in the grapes that helps with a fresh mouth feel. The velvety tannins and dark fruit linger on the palate and has a clean finish. This bottle is ready to drink now and is capable of developing more in the cellar.
About The Winery:
Three Generations of Fine Winemaking
BARGETTO WINERY has been producing wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 1933. The founders, John and Philip Bargetto emigrated from Piedmont, Italy and brought with them their dedication to family and a commitment to producing quality wines.
Our family invites you to taste our award-winning wines and experience the long tradition and dramatic beauty of this internationally-acclaimed appellation. Visit us at either of our tasting rooms in Soquel or in Monterey on Cannery Row in this distinctive region of mountain vineyards and coastal breezes.
About The Winemaker:
Michael Sones – I am happy to introduce myself as the winemaker at BARGETTO WINERY. Before taking over for Paul Wofford, I worked as a cellarmaster at David Bruce Winery for over three years. Prior to David Bruce I was employed for a number of years by that Mad Cap Jester of Vinedom, Randall Graham at Bonny Doon Vineyards. As you can see, I have spent my entire wine career in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
However, I have not always been in the wine industry. I am from Worthing, a town on the southern coast of England. I started off my photography career working for small commercial studios in London, processing films and photographing boxes of Saran Wrap! After a couple of years of city life, I decided to make a move. I took a job as photographer on a Finnish car ferry sailing around the Canary Islands. In the winter, the Baltic Sea gets very miserable so Finn Lines thought it would be a good idea to send one of their ships to the sun. This was the start of my life as a cruise ship photographer. My first true cruise ship was the Fairsea that sailed from San Francisco to Alaska. During my time on the Fairsea, I had the opportunity to visit Monterey and Salinas. As a boy, I had read many of Steinbeck’s novels. So, I was excited to make a literary pilgrimage to Monterey during the ship’s lay up in Alameda. Who would have thought that fifteen years later, I would be living here.
In 1990, after fifteen cruise ships, I decided to give up the roaming life and change careers. During my time on board ships and after visiting countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain and South Africa, I had developed an interest in wine. Food and wine is a large part of the cruise ship experience. On one particular cruise ship, the QE2, the darkroom was next to the Food and Beverage Manager’s office. He was a good friend and we shared many fine bottles of wine while working late in the darkroom.
When my future wife, Lois, whom I met on an Italian Cruise ship, the Carla Costa, settled here in California, I decided to study enology at the University of California at Davis. After graduating I returned to Santa Cruz to settle down with Lois. I now enjoy living in Santa Cruz with my wife and five year old daughter, Michaela. I am excited to continue my wine career at BARGETTO WINERY. Toddle-pip!