2005 Exuberance Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Estate Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley

Offer Expired:Jul 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Joyfully Yours

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Infiltrate Canihan Family Cellars and return with their delicious Sonoma Valley Syrah.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Canihan Family Cellars

Wine Subject: 2005 Exuberance Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Alexandra Romanini


For today’s wine, we returned to our old friend, Bill Canihan – and we raided his secret library. We returned, victoriously, with a modest allocation of this multi Gold Medal winning 2005 Exuberance Estate Reserve Pinot Noir.

The Sonoma Valley AVA is one of the oldest wine growing regions in California with the first vines being planted in the early 1800s. The AVA is located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacama mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir. Grown on their tiny estate vineyard, today’s wine is a special treat.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Gorgeous medium-dark ruby hues, with even color-concentration through to its core. When swirled, skinny legs take a long time to form, before falling slowly – from high up on the glass wall.

Smell – Rich black cherry and India black tea leaf mingle with darkest blueberry, earthy blackberry and soft spice. As the wine opens up, it reveals hints of dried orange peel, forest floor, silver gunpowder and soft cedar.

Feel – Velvet smooth, and light-weight across the entry. As the wine glides across the mid-palate, it quickly expands, becoming slightly grippy and full-bodied. As the wine settles in, fine-grained tannins add a dry crushed velvet texture. After the wine leaves the palate, a flinty dryness gradually appears.

Taste – Beautifully balanced, with fruit and earthen character showing in even proportion. Black cherry, raspberry, dried cranberry and young strawberry balance beautifully against flint, bramble, subtle dried leaves and a hint of cedar. At the very end, soft spice adds intrigue and dimension.

Finish – Long, rich and flavorful, with red fruit leading to darker fruit. These slowly give way to earthen flavors of flint, dark dried leaves, black tea and soft hint of black pepper.

Conclusion – Today’s Pinot Noir from our old friend, Bill Canihan, is a elegant and well-rounded wine. Bill boasts about his Burgundian style of Pinot-building. While we agree that the wine shows Burgundian character, is also shines with dark Sonoma County fruit. We are very happy to been given special access to Bill’s library – where we were lucky to get our hands on today’s superb 2005 Exuberance Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, a mouthful to say, and a mouthful to enjoy! This elegant, dark, flexible and food-friendly wine can be enjoyed with a creamy pasta, a spiced lamb dish or a grilled chicken.

Mission Report:

Below is a recent interview conducted by Agent Red when we featured Canihan’s delicious Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir.


AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

ALEXANDRA ROMANINI: The Canihan “Exuberance” 2005 Pinot Noir is a reserve bottling from the four finest barrels produced from the Canihan’s dry-farmed, certified organic estate vineyard bordering Sonoma Coast and Los Carneros. This is a wonderfully elegant, Burgundian style Pinot Noir previously only available directly from the Canihan winery. Only one ton per acre of the finest Dijon Clones 115, 667 & 777 are harvested for this limited, reserve Pinot Noir.

Aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries, spice and Earl Grey tea lead into a velvety mouthfeel. Although it’s from the excellent 2005 vintage, it’s suitable to age for another few years, but is drinking beautifully right now.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

ALEXANDRA: Grilled salmon is a sensational pairing.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Coast region so special?

ALEXANDRA: The cool-climate, foggy summer nights & mornings followed by the Carneros afternoon breeze are the ideal climate for growing elegant Pinot Noir.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

ALEXANDRA: Bottling the 2009 Pinot Noir and the 2009 Syrah, along with overseeing work in the vineyard.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Gold Medal2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Gold Medal2008 West Coast Wine Competition

“The Exuberance Pinot Noir is one of the best Pinots I’ve ever tasted” – Dave Rafanelli, A. Rafanelli Vineyard and Winery.

About This Wine:

Aromas of raspberry, plums, violet and floral tones fold into black cherry and cedar as the wine is swirled. The wine’s texture is elegant and rich, with a deep, lingering finish.

Our 2005 Exuberance Pinot Noir is the finest Estate Pinot Noir we have produced. The Exuberance label is a reserve bottling that we will only produce for the seldom vintage that we believe to be one of the finest of the decade. Our wines are grown, not made. It takes exceptional fruit to make award-winning wine. The Exuberance Pinot Noir recently won Gold Medals in both the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (, the largest competition of American wines in the world, and in the 2008 West Coast Wine Competition. Back-to-back Gold medals have proven that our terroir, meticulous organic farming practices, and hands-off winemaking philosophy result in exceptional wines.

VINEYARD NOTES: Planted in 1998, this 3.75-acre Sonoma Valley vineyard which borders on Los Carneros is comprised entirely of French Dijon Clones 115, 667 and 777. This vineyard experiences the full impact of San Francisco Bay’s cooling fog in the summer. Phil Coturri’s organic vineyard management practices along with dry-farming and cane pruning result in small yields (less than 2 tons per acre) of the highest quality grapes. The vineyard will be certified organic in September, 2008.

About The Winery:

The Canihan Family vineyards are ideally located in the Sonoma Valley, and because we border on the Los Carneros Appellation, the vineyards receive the cool evening breezes and early morning fog from San Francisco Bay that provide for perfect grape growing conditions. Biodynamic vineyard management practices, dry-farming, and hand-harvesting only at complete ripeness, fermentation with naturally occurring native yeast, and no fining or filtering result in flavorful wines expressive of our “terroir”.

Although our vineyards were first planted in 1998, we had nurtured the land for more than 30 years. William Canihan Sr. purchased the land from a Basque farmer in 1975. Because of our commitment to the land and organic practices, we let nature cleanse the soil for 23 years. We planted 1103 Paulsen, SO4, and 101-14 rootstocks, and the following spring we field grafted Pinot Noir French Dijon clones 115, 667 and 777, Syrah clone 1, and Cabernet Franc clones 4 and 7.

This year, our new four-acre Pinot Noir vineyard will yield fruit from clones including Pommard, Wadenswil (Domaine Romanee–Conti) 2a, Masson, Joseph Swan, and Hanzell.

Our vineyard manager, Phil Coturri is also currently managing the vineyards of Hanzell, Merus, Moon Mountain and Arrowood wineries. Mr. Coturri has an excellent reputation for his organic and biodynamic practices which are best judged by their results.

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 100% Estate Grown Dijon Clones 115, 667 & 777

Harvested: September 28, 2005

Sugar at harvest: 26.1 Brix

Aged: 12 months in 100% French Oak

Alcohol: 13.7%

Total Acid: 0.54g/100ml

pH: 3.87

Bottled: September 19, 2006

Production: 200 Cases

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