2010 Carneros Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Giovanni's Vineyard
California: Carneros - Los Carneros (Sonoma & Napa)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Pinot Noir comes to us from our Top-Selling Winemaker of all time, Mitch Cosentino. This wine handily earns this special award, in recognition of its quality – and deliciousness.
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Mission Codename: Purity of Spirit
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Mitch Cosentino, long-time friend of The Wine Spies, and procure a quantity of his 2010 Pinot Noir – the first Pinot release from Mitch since we’ve known him.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: pureCru by M. Cosentino
Wine Subject: 2010 pureCru Carneros Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Mitch Cosentino
Winery Backgrounder: We first met Mitch Cosentino in early 2007, and we were smitten with his wines almost instantly. Mitch enjoys the distinction of being our top-selling winemaker of all time. Mitch’s wines are varied, distinctive, always delicious – and always a Wine Spies Operative favorite.
Varietal 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. Pinot thrives here. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report to learn more about this fantastic Pinot Noir.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest ruby hues, with evenly concentrated coloration, from core to edge. After a hearty swirl, tall, skinny, wine-colored tears start high up on the glass before moving very slowly downward.
Smell – Lush and very fragrant, with spiced cherry and raspberry that leap from the glass. Just beneath the surface, earthy black tea leaf, flint, black cherry, strawberry and subtle spice round out the nose.
Feel – Soft and plush at first. Then, after a moment, it takes on a softly grippy feeling – especially at the edges of the palate. Plush tannins are bolstered by a medium-bright acidity.
Taste – Sweet and softly spicy red cherry is the initial note, here. Then, the wine seems to unwind additional flavors onto the palate, including black cherry, young strawberry, black pepper, red plum skin, flint, dried tea leaf and flint.
Finish – Very long, with red fruit that tails off slowly, to reveal a soft dryness with flint, dried black tea leaf and a long-persistent black pepper.
Conclusion – If I only had two words to describe this wine, I’d call it compelling and delicious. This wine is a bold, big, spiced and juicy delight that delivers a very intriguing drinking experience. Big and red, with spiced cherry, this wine fills the mouth with a juiciness that is supported by the complexity of its earthen characteristics and big black pepper. This black pepper exists, especially, in the finish. We love Mitch’s wines, we love Carneros Pinot Noir and we revel in our first presentation that combines the two. Drinking beautifully now, this wine will continue to progress for the next several years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Mitch Cosentino
WINE EDUCATION: Self Taught – and 33 years of practical experience
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker for Cosentino Winery from 1980 to 2010,
Consultant to various wineries and growers from 1989 to present.
Founder-Winemaker of pureCru Winery and Wines from 2009 to present
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Flavor and balance
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1980 Merlot and a 1980 Cabernet Sauvignon and a Blanc de Noir Sparkling wine all released in 1982 under the brand of Crystal Valley Cellars/Cosentino Wine Company.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Mitch. We are thrilled to be showing your 2010 Carneros Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MITCH COSENTINO: Always a pleasure, Agent Red!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MITCH: No, primarily “divine misguidance” telling me that I needed to learn about and pay attention to anything about wine.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MITCH: Several notable winemakers like Myron Nightingale and Ed Sbragia of the old Beringer days, John Parducci, John Daniels thru his old Inglenook Cabernets and others from the 60’s, and 70’s.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
MITCH: I won’t make a wine that I wouldn’t enjoy myself, but otherwise the wines are made for the pleasure of all with food primarily.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
MITCH: This 2010 Pinot Noir is the first commercial wine made from this exciting new vineyard that is less than 5 acres. I have been watching it grow up prior to producing a crop. Giovanni’s Vineyard is owned by a family that has a small hands-on landscaping business. It is in the western part of Carneros. When I first saw this property and how it was planted and farmed I knew it would be excellent for Pinot Noir. This wine was completely punched cap fermented in one ton lots. It was then pressed directly into French oak barrels to finish and age on the lees for 11 months. We chose to bottle this early to capture the pure fruit essence that this really shows off.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Carneros region so special?
MITCH: Carneros is the coolest non-coastal area in California’s North Coast because of its proximity to the bay. It is well suited to Pinot Noir and the grape essence is preserved into the wine.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MITCH: Well I am a big fan of Alaskan Wild Salmon and this is classic with that either poached or grilled. But let me indulge for one more. Something that most people don’t know is how great Pinots are with red sauced pastas. Try it, you’ll like it!
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MITCH: This time of the year I am evaluating the new wines from the 2011 harvest, making decisions on whether to rack any wines or to continue to keep stirring the wines (primarily whites). But I am also working on blends for upcoming bottlings from the 2009 big reds.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
MITCH: Have fun, experiment and explore the possibilities.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
MITCH: More exciting things to come!
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 Mitch Cosentino’s Couples & Co. winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Spices and floral notes intertwine with red fruit in a very seductive manor seemingly as only Pinot Noir can be. This wine has a pure core of fruit with excellent balance that keeps it alive throughout in a way that doesn’t pander. It stands up very nicely to many food types.
Winemaking: Hand punched cap fermented in one ton lots. Aged in French oak barrels for 11 months (50% new) on the original lees that were occasionally stirred.
About The Winery:
Three wine lovers from the central valley join an award-winning Napa Valley winemaker to found pureCru, a winery producing small quantities of unique blends.
“I had been reminiscing about a small, hands-on entity where I could do it all myself again, like I did in the beginning.” Mitch Cosentino
Celebrating 30 years of winemaking and with more than a thousand awards to his name, Mitch Cosentino is making another dream come true with his launch of pureCru Napa Valley.
Mitch Cosentino – Cosentino began making wine in small lots in Modesto, California in 1980. Ten years later he moved the Cosentino Winery operation to the Napa Valley, where he continued to make many award-winning varietal and blended wines.
Cosentino has a gift for identifying fruit sources and is highly skilled and artistic in determining blends. He’s a big believer in the hands-on, old world use of punched cap fermentation, a labor-intensive, hand-crafted method of winemaking. When it comes to the small lots Cosentino puts into his pureCru blends, this “micro” approach to winemaking allows him to better control the delicate process from the vineyard to the bottle.
Mitch and Fred Couples – Cosentino is also a noted golfer, which led him to a partnership with Fred Couples and the creation of Couples & Co, a pureCru brand.
Couples initially discovered a taste for fine wine in his twenties, coinciding with his first golf tournament win. “I have enjoyed learning about wine for more than 25 years,” said Couples. “I’ve met many people in the wine business and have discovered that winemaking is an intricate process.”
After doing an in-depth tasting of preliminary blends with Cosentino in 2008, Couples knew he had found the right partner. “Mitch is a great winemaker,” said Couples. “I thought it was the right time and place to put my own name, along with Mitch’s, on a label.”
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir