Elkhorn Peak Cellars2002 Pinot Noir, Fagan Creek Vineyard
From an elevation of 300 feet – which is high enough above the fray of the Napa Valley Airport and the wine industry’s collateral industrial-sprawl that has become American Canyon – comes this excellent Pinot Noir.
Who woulda thunk it? But grower Ken Nerlove, with the help of winemaker Kent Rasmussen have fashioned a wine out of the little-known Jamieson Canyon soil that can take the measure of many of the Pinots from the more well-known and nearby Carneros district.
The wine is very dark in color with cherry leather aromas and a hint of mint. On the palate, the wine is elegant and complex as the appealing fruit is equal to the balancing acidity. Drink it now and over the next dozen years.
The wine was harvested from two of Elkhorn’s 10-acre vineyards, Vineyard 38 and Fagan Creek. The aging regimen was 22 months in French oak, of which one-third was new, one-third 1-year-old and an equal amount was placed in 2-year-old wood. Here’s another thing one hardly sees in wines from the Napa Valley these days – the listed alcohol percentage on this wine is only 13! There were only 1,754 cases produced. The price is, I think, a reasonable $30.
Reviewed December 27, 2005 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.