Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Saintsbury 2004 Pinot Noir, Toyon Farm (Carneros ~ Los Carneros)


2004 Pinot Noir, Toyon Farm
(Carneros ~ Los Carneros)

This is the third in a series of single-vineyard designated Pinot Noirs from Saintsbury. (The others are Stanly Ranch and Lee Vineyard). I’ve tasted all three and found the Toyon Farm – with its big power and balancing elegance – to be my favorite. I also think the Toyon will be the longest-lived of the trio, perhaps as much as 20 years. In the end, who needs Santa Rita Hills or Santa Lucia Highlands when one can have this big, deep-flavored wine from Los Carneros?

Saintsbury co-owner David Graves told me that “those who like those other wines will think his wines are wimpy.” This wine is anything but.

Toyon, once a Morgan horse estate that sits between Saintsbury’s Brown Ranch and the famed Hyde Vineyard in the Carneros’ “banana belt,” so-called because it’s in the northeast corner of the appellation with warm temperatures during the early part of the day. The soils are of volcanic origin and mingle with the more typical marine sedimentary clay loams. It is a new vineyard, having been planted in 2000 and ’01 on Dijon clones. Already, the wines, however, seem as if the vineyard is older what with its fine-grained tannins.

The wine fermented for 11 months in French barrels, 40 percent of which were new. The listed alcohol is 14.2 percent and there were a little more than 700 six-bottle cases produced.

Reviewed November 14, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

The Wine

Winery: Saintsbury
Vineyard: Toyon Farm
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Carneros ~ Los Carneros
Grape: Pinot Noir
Price: 750ml $45.00

Review Date: 11/14/2006

The Reviewer

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.