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2011 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Blanc, Los Carneros

2011 was a challenging vintage up and down the West Coast. The Los Carneros AVA was no exception. Ill-timed rain hit many vines during flowering and substantially reduced fruit set. Those rains also encouraged excess vigor and set the stage for late-season disease. The growing season, abnormally long and cool, was ideal for making elegant, high acid wines — if the bunches ripened sufficiently and remained healthy.

Leaf-pulling and bunch-thinning was essential. It helped with ripening but, perhaps more importantly, increased air circulation through the vines to keep them drier and reduce the risk of rot. However, the leaf removal had to be done very carefully so that the sensitive-skinned grapes would remain protected from sunburn. Dealing with inclement weather and it’s after-effects can be particularly challenging for biodynamic growers such as Robert Sinskey Vineyards. Their Pinot Blanc yield was only 60% of “normal.” None of the vintage’s difficult shows in the wine though.

The 2011 Robert Sinskey Pinot Blanc is a pure and delicious wine. It’s what people who ask for unoaked Chardonnay should be drinking. It offers fresh, confident aromas of pears and yellow plums strewn with ethereal white flowers. The palate is weighty, yet the wine is bone dry, moderate in alcohol and loaded with acidity that yearns for food. Flavors of pear and lemon pith add flesh to a core of minerality. The long-lasting finish combines salty minerality and mouthwatering acidity. Drink now through 2013. Highly Recommended.

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2011 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Blanc, Los Carneros
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: now - 2013
Release Date: March, 2012
Closure: Glass stopper
Production: 8,472 half-bottles, 1,416 magnums, no 750m bottles
Retail Price: $22.00/375ml

Winemaker: Jeff Virnig
Origin: 3 biodynamic estate vineyards in the Los Carneros AVA: Three Amigos Vineyard and OSR Vineyard in Napa Valley, Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard in Sonoma County
Fermentation: Slow and cool in stainless steel, no skin contact and no malolactic fermentation
Aging: Stainless steel
Alcohol: 13.8%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not recommended
Temperature: 50º - 54º F
Food Pairings: Sauteed, pan-fried or grilled white-fleshed fish, sous vide chicken breast in a delicate sauce

The wine above was purchased for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photo: Robert Sinskey Vineyards. All rights reserved.