Cambria Winery & Vineyard2005 Pinot Noir Clone 23
(Santa Maria Valley)
Cambria is best known for its Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, of which it produces some 60,000 cases. Within that miles-wide estate vineyard are blocks of different Pinot clones that eventually end up in Julia’s Vineyard’s blend. Luckily for us, winemaker Denise Shurteff gets to produce small production lots of Clones 2A, 23, and 115. These are for sale to wine club members and visitors to the winery’s Santa Maria tasting room.
Clone 23 Pinot Noir was picked at a whopping 29° Brix and has 14.4 percent alcohol in the bottle. But you wouldn’t know it. Because the single clone wines are handcrafted in minute amounts – just 250 cases for this vintage - Denise’s personal touch is conspicuous. She actually goes into the vineyard to taste the fruit before harvest. The grapes were picked at the end of September, 2005 and had about a year in 100 percent new French oak. Her choice of the new oak is on target, providing the wine with a backbone of smoky oak. The medium bodied, purple and garnet wine opens with aromas of summer blackberries and wild Maine blueberries. The sandy loam soil on which Clone 23 is grown brings a subtle earthiness to the flavour palate as well. Those berry flavours continue across the tongue and the smooth mouthfeel and nice acidity complement the entire package.
Reviewed September 12, 2007 by Michael Lasky.
APPELLATION AMERICA’s Managing Editor, Michael Lasky, has been writing about food and wine for over 20 years. His work has appeared in national magazines such as Playboy, Esquire, GQ, and Parade, and newspapers such as The New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, and the San Francisco Chronicle. His wine reviews focus on the aroma, taste, and visual appeal of what’s in the glass. He is decidedly not a wine snob and prefers to describe its virtues in conversational prose that speaks to everyone from wine neophytes to veteran connoisseurs. He only reviews delicious wines.