Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Pietra-Santa Vineyards and Winery 2002 Vache Pinot Noir, Estate (Cienega Valley)

Pietra-Santa Vineyards and Winery

2002 Vache Pinot Noir, Estate
(Cienega Valley)

Vache is a brand from Pietra Santa Winery that pays tribute to Theophile Vache, a Frenchman who first established the Cienega Valley estate in the 1850s. Over the years, Vache’s vineyard changed hands several times and eventually fell into disrepair. It was revived and replanted in the late 1980s, and the vineyard and Mission-style winery recently were purchased by the Blackburn family.

Cienega Valley, near the town of Hollister, is bisected by the San Andreas Fault, and geological movement over the years has left behind limestone and granite deposits. The rocky soils stress the vines and create low yields. Although the Cienega Valley AVA isn’t as cool as the neighboring Mount Harlan AVA (home to Calera Winery), it’s still cooler than most people think, largely because of the afternoon breezes off Monterey Bay, just 25 miles away. Not a bad spot for Pinot Noir.

This $35 Pinot, which comes from a vineyard that’s a neighbor to Pietra Santa, is aromatic and concentrated, with flavors of cherry and raspberry and a very subtle hint of sage. It’s well-structured yet supple, with a long finish.

Reviewed January 9, 2007 by Laurie Daniel.

The Wine

Winery: Pietra-Santa Vineyards and Winery
Vineyard: Estate
Vintage: 2002
Wine: Vache Pinot Noir
Appellation: Cienega Valley
Grape: Pinot Noir
Price: 750ml $35.00

Review Date: 1/9/2007

The Reviewer

Laurie Daniel

Laurie Daniel, wine columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has been reviewing wine for more than 10 years. She doesn’t use numbers, preferring to describe her recommended wines and let consumers decide for themselves. Laurie believes that bigger isn’t necessarily better; she’s partial to wines of balance, finesse and character. Her particular interests are Pinot Noir (versions that really taste like Pinot, that is) and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.