2005 Silacci Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Silacci Vineyard
California: Monterey County
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from De Tierra.
Great Vintage Alert!
2005 was recently declared by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as a banner year for Pinot Noir. We have to agree!
Mission Codename: The Wine of the Earth
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Wine Spies favorite, De Tierra, and return with their superb Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: De Tierra
Wine Subject: 2005 Silacci Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
Winemaker: David Coventry
Recently we featured a stunning Chardonnay from De Tierra. Agent Red, normally a red wine drinker, fell in love with his white wine – and with the De Tierra winery. Today, Agent Red returns to De Tierra to secure a quantity of their brilliant Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Read Agent Red’s mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfectly clear ruby red throughout, with clear edges, a bouncy surface and tightly-spaced legs that creep steadily down the glass
Smell – Richly aromatic with deep fruit of ripe cherry and plum, with subtle gunpowder, rose petal and a hint of green tomato with none of the animal or barnyard characteristics found in some Pinot Noir
Feel – Plump and round with very clean and crisp edges and mild tanins
Taste – Wonderfully delicious layers of rich flavor smoky cherry, mixed berry and red plum. Also present are hints of subtle spice and gentle minerals
Finish – long, lingering with flavors and soft tannins that fall off gradually, moving from sweet to tart and then back again
In a word, WOW! Dave Coventry delivers another incredible wine with this moving and delicious Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Any fan of California Pinot Noir knows that the Santa Lucia highlands in Monterey County is now world-famous for producing some of the best Pinot Noir in the world – and this wine climbs to the top of the heap with great balance of flavor, feel and aromatics.
Listen, Red here, but I gotta be brief. No time to write up a fancy mission brief.Besides, since you have been following my exploits, you know that I just conducted a harrowing mission to De Tierra only 2 weeks ago.
I know, I know. We don’t usually revisit wineries so soon after an initial mission, but I just had to put De Tierra’s fantastic Pinot Noir in front of you. I had to. Its that good.
Winemaker David Coventry is a great guy that makes great wines – and his Pinot Noir is excellent.
For your enjoyment, following is Agent Red’s initial mission to De Tierra
Sometimes our meetings with winemakers are instigated by the winemakers themselves. When they seek out The Wine Spies, we make it our top priority to meet up with them as quickly as possible.
When Central Command gave me the directive to rendezvous with De Tierra’s winemaking front-man, David Coventry, I was quick to set a meeting.
I rang David’s cellphone and he answered, “This is what’s left of Dave”. Good, a winemaker with a sense of humor. Not uncommon in this business, I assure you, and I am happy that our meeting is likely to be a fun one.
All too soon, my assumption was shattered. It all started innocently enough with the good natured shaking of hands and casual banter, but things turned uncomfortable when Dave set me down at a table – and poured me a glass of
GASP White Wine!
I tried my best to keep my cool and, attempting to seem at ease, asked, “What’s this? I thought that we were going to be tasting your Pinot today.”
Dave just sat there, silently smiling at me, waiting. Waiting.
After several minutes of this, I felt a bead of sweat trickling down my forehead. Dave continued to smile, eventually looking down at the glass and then, meeting my gaze, nodding slowly.
“Look Dave,” I said. “I don’t want to seem rude, here, but I’m Agent Red. I specialize in Red wines. Whites are not my thing.”
More silence and grinning from Dave.
Finally, the pressure too great, I asked, “Okay, if I try the wine can we move on to your reds?”
He nodded in happy assent.
I reached down for the glass and note that Dave’s gaze does not leave my face for a second. Odd, I think, how happy he looks.
I lift the glass to my nose and take a tentative sniff – and suddenly feel awash in sensations I had not expected at all. This was a wine – a white wine – with real substance. I could tell before I even tasted it that, despite myself, I would enjoy.
Inhaling deeply, I take in the aromatics, reveling in how many smells I can identify. Then, slowly, I tip the glass and take my first sip, Dave beaming now. The wine is exceptionally round and smooth and its flavors dance in my mouth.
I spend the next 15 minutes with my glass, swirling, sipping, sniffing, analyzing and – enjoying. Miracle of miracles, I have found a white wine that I actually love.
Whether its cliché to say this or not, this is a white wine for those that don’t like white wine. Be warned, though, after tasting this particular white wine, you might just become a convert!
What the Winery Says
Check out The Wine Spies on Wine Library TV
Awards and Accolades:
90 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “Bright red. Ripe raspberry and cherry scents offer striking freshness and clarity. Juicy red fruit flavors deliver an impressively sappy texture, with no obvious tannins, earth or animal character. Delicious, plump and drinking wonderfully right now. I kept coming back to this luscious fruit bomb and can see it as a huge crowd-pleaser.” (Nov/Dec 07)
The Silacci Vineyard is located in the northern-most edge of the Santa Lucia Highlands mountain range, just north of the SLH AVA. The Silacci is the northernmost Pinot Noir vineyard in Monterey and yields the more elegant and old world style of cool climate Pinot Noir.
The 2005 Pinot Noir vintage was marked by the gentle onset harvest. It commenced on September 21st and proceeded slowly until October 21st. All picking decisions were based on ripeness of flavor, not necessity, and that is a beautiful thing!
Vinification and Aging
The wine for this blend was aged in 60% new French oak for softness and complexity and 40% one, two and three year old hungarian oak for spiciness and vanillan character. The wine was aged ten months and racked only once, just before bottling, to retain maximum richness and fruit character.
Bright red berry, black cherry and rose petal aromas are heightened by smoky vanilla and hard spices. Possessing an exceptionally broad mouth-feel, the intensity of the cool climate red fruit combines with the crisp acidity to produce an integrated wine of excellent structure and balance. With decidedly old world flavors from a new world vineyard, this wine will reward mid-term cellaring well.