Oleksyn: Thin-skinned and temperamental, Pinot Noir keeps winemakers on their toes

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Price: About $40. Look for it at Bin 905, Co-op Wines Spirits Beer, Highlander Wine and Spirits, Willow Park Wines & Spirits, Zyn the Wine Market.

Drink: In the next five years. Salmon, lasagne or mushroom risotto would be good matches. Cork; 13.7 per cent alc./vol.



Pinot Noir

Sta. Rita Hills, California

Another California spot that benefits from cool Pacific Ocean winds, the Sta. Rita Hills is a relatively young area. The spot, located about 250 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles, was certified as an official American Viticultural Area in 2001.

There are 1,315 hectares of grapes planted in the Sta. Rita Hills, with Pinot Noir making up 1,052 hectares of that. As a comparison, there are about 430 hectares of Pinot Noir planted in British Columbia.

Brewer-Clifton was formed in 1995 when Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton joined forces. The winery is now owned by Jackson Family Wines (as is Copain), though Brewer remains the winemaker. Brewer-Clifton has earned plenty of raves from the wine press, including the No. 8 wine in Wine Spectator’s 2012 Top 100 list.

Created from three vineyards in the AVA, this is a richer Pinot than the Copain, showing riper fruit flavours such as black cherry, root beer, blueberry, thyme, wild raspberry, vanilla, violet, black tea and orange. A delicious, riper Pinot.

Price: About $40. Check for it at Bin 905, Cellar Fine Wines and Spirits, Co-op Wines Spirits Beer, Crowfoot Wine and Spirits, Highfield Liquor, Highlander Wine and Spirits, Rocky Mountain Wine and Spirits, Willow Park Wines & Spirits, Wine and Beyond at Sage Hill and Zyn the Wine Market.

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