Sips: California pinot noir the way I like it

Anyone looking for an American pinot noir with beauty and finesse would do well to get hold of a bottle of Paul Dolan Paul Dolan pinot noitVineyards’ 2007 Mendocino County Pinot Noir. This lovely California wine with a suggested price of $30 is one of the prettiest pinots I’ve tasted in recent months. A good deal of raspberry, cherry, some floral and vanilla notes framed by  good balancing acidity help belie the fact that the wine weighs in at 14.5 percent alcohol. The color is light and transparent as in many Burgundies, and Burgundy is what the overall style reminds me of, though it’s not quite so austere as many young Burgundies are. The wine is a welcome change from the highly extracted style that dominates California pinot noir. Significantly, only 14 percent of the wine is aged in new oak, which, to my mind, is part of what gives it such a refreshing quality. The grapes are grown organically, and I can’t help but think that this contributes to the overall purity and expressiveness. Drink slightly chilled with grilled pork chops (as I did) or with wild grilled salmon or grilled chicken. Production was 4,730 cases. (Received as a press sample.)

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