Pinot Noir, often referred to as the heartbreak grape for its finicky and temperamental nature, is the Holy Grail for some grape-growers and winemakers. The character Miles, from the hit movie Sideways, extoled the virtues of Pinot Noir, eloquently saying:
"Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."
Despite the despair this fickle variety may bring, some men and women embark on a life-long wine journey to craft the highest quality Pinot Noir possible.
TR Elliot Queste 2008 Pinot Noir
During a recent episode of Cellars of Sonoma #TVTuesdayLive web broadcast, host Scott Jordan welcomed special guest winemaker Ted R. Elliott. Ted is the owner/operator of TR Elliott Winery -- a boutique winery in Santa Rosa [Sonoma County] that produces small batches of nothing but Pinot Noir from select vineyards in the cool climate of the Russian River Valley. Ted was influenced by the late Richard Graff; an influential pioneer [mid 1960’s] of California Pinot Noir and Chalone Vineyard fame. For this episode, several of my wine blogging buddies and I had an opportunity to taste Ted’s 2008 Queste Pinot Noir and enjoy a very entertaining and informative show (which I suggest you watch with a glass of your favorite wine). The 2008 Queste is a focused and delicious 16 barrel blend sourced from two Russian River Valley vineyards [Hallberg and O'Connell Vineyard]. In the glass, the wine is a medium-deep ruby color with inviting aromas of black cherry, dried cranberry, baking spice (led by cinnamon) and floral/perfume scents suggestive of violets with delicate earthy notes. On the palate, the 08 Queste is slightly rich and well-balanced with a tart red fruit core [especially up-front], gaining depth on the mid-palate with a touch of spice on the lasting finish. In my opinion, this is a versatile, food friendly wine that I also enjoyed sipping on its own. Ted’s wines are not in stores due to limited production, but can be found via the TR Elliott and Cellars of Sonoma websites (see below). This particular wine, which is fairly priced in my opinion based on its quality, retails for $42 and is $31.50 for Cellars of Sonoma club members. If you enjoy a Pinot Noir with personality and character, give Ted’s Russian River Valley examples a try. In closing, Ted is always on the quest for the perfect Pinot Noir -- hence the name Queste. Most serious Pinot Noir growers and winemakers enjoy the challenge and pursuit. And wine enthusiasts like myself appreciate their efforts. To view the winemaker interview click on the UStream window below or click here. Cheers!
Cellars of Sonoma TR Elliott Interview
Video streaming by Ustream
Click here to visit the TR Elliott Winery website.
Click here to visit the Cellars of Sonoma website.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at email@example.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.
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