The Ampelos Pinot Noir is made in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, on the western boundary of the larger Santa Ynez Valley AVA. This group of valleys have diverse microclimates and terrains, and something to remember for the test: the valleys runs east to west rather than the more common north to south. The vineyards closest to the coast get a funnel of cool air and fog. Pinot Noir loves this. Further inland it gets hot and dry with a huge diurnal shift. Conditions which Syrah thrives under. The Ampelos winery is solar powered and they were the first in Santa Barbara County to become organic and biodynamic certified. If that isn’t enough good stuff, their stylish Pinot Noir is lithe and delicious. Their first commercially produced wines were in 2003, so in wine terms this is a new project. Looking forward to tasting more.Tasting note: You would never guess this a Pinot Noir from California. Maybe Germany. Clear with a pale ruby core, you can read through it, fading to a wide, turning-salmon colored rim. Aromas are clean with shy, perfumed aromas of strawberries, cherries, oranges, thyme, oregano, white pepper, and dusty underbrush. In the mouth it is dry with a medium+ body, high acid, low tannin, and medium+ alcohol. Flavors of ripe strawberries and cherries, orange peel, black licorice, oregano, dry underbrush with a saline brightness. Elegant, lithe flavors, very full on flavors but not forcefully extracted. Strawberries, oranges, and salt in a satin pillow case. Long finish and high complexity. Drink or hold for another 10-15 years.

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