Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard 2003 Pinot Noir, Vine Hill Estate (Santa Cruz Mountains)

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

2003 Pinot Noir, Vine Hill Reserve
(Santa Cruz Mountains)

Winemaker Jeff Emery has been producing Pinot Noir under the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard label for 33 years. Many Pinot fans equate Santa Cruz Pinots with the ones made by this eclectic brand. This particular wine represents the last of an era. Planted in 1975, the old Jarvis estate vineyard in the historic Vine Hill winegrowing region bore its last vintage in 2003. Jeff used what little it bore, along with some brand new fruit from the Bailey’s Branciforte Vineyard, to produce this wine. It is literally a marriage of old and new, marking the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. It’s a heavy-duty burden this very tiny lot of wine has to bear.

In early 2004, Winemaker Jeff Emery parted company with age old partner, Ken Burnap, who sold the Jarvis Road property to Nick Guerrero and partners. As Vine Hill Winery, they harvested the very last crop in 2004 and subsequently replanted the vineyards. We’ll see what it has to say in a few years.

While the estate vineyard was in decline, the brand new meticulously tended Bailey’s vineyard was just coming online. What a great marriage this is! Thank you Jeff, for creating a terrifically Burgundian expression of fruit from the Santa Cruz mountains. The aromas are hauntingly complex, with delicate rose petals, orange zest, cherries and many intriguing herbs. Many of these same delights appear on the palate, especially chervil, basil and chocolate raspberry, and the balance is fine, with a lovely texture that rides on long-legged steed into the dark woods.

Reviewed April 22, 2008 by Laura Ness.

The Wine

Winery: Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Pinot Noir, Vine Hill Reserve
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Grape: Pinot Noir
Price: 750ml $39.00

Review Date: 4/22/2008

The Reviewer

Laura Ness

A wine writer and wine judge for major publications and competitions around the country, Laura Ness likens wine to the experience of music. She is always looking for that ubiquitous marriage of rhythm, melody, and flawless execution. What is good music? You know it when you get lost in it. What is good wine? It is music in your mouth.