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2007 Wente Pinot Noir Reliz Creek Arroyo Seco

Wente Vineyards is known primarily for its Livermore Valley winery and vineyards. However, they have held vineyards in Monterey County for decades. The vast majority of the grapes used in the 2007 Wente Pinot Noir Reliz Creek come from vineyards that Wente started cultivating in the early 1960’s. Some of the vines used for this wine date back to 1963.

Monterey County is big and not all of it is well-suited to viticulture. Most of Wente’s holdings, though, are in the excellent Arroyo Seco AVA. It’s a small appellation in the southeast portion of county, just below the southernmost border of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay do well there. It’s very cool climate due to the nearby Pacific Ocean and the breezes that sweep in from it. The soil is gravelly and drains efficiently. Yet, the area doesn’t get too much rain and the top of the soil is covered by big rocks a bit reminiscent of the “pudding stones” in Chateauneuf du Pape. The stones absorb heat during the day and then release it over the night which prevents the grapes from getting excessively cold. If you’d like to read more about Arroyo Seco, Steve Heimoff wrote an interesting article about it.

In the glass, the 2007 Wente Pinot Noir Reliz Creek Arroyo Seco is dark ruby with a very generous nose that I thought scrumptious. It smells like dessert: cherry, vanilla, caramel, warm spice and sweet oak. The palate is silky and on the rich side of Pinot Noir. Flavors include black cherry, tobacco, caramel and spice. The wine went very well with Wente Vineyards Restaurant’s signature smoked pork chop with gorgonzola polenta and also with a medium rare filet mignon. You could sit this wine down for a little while, but I think it will be at its best while young. Drink now through 2013. Highly Recommended.


2007 Wente Pinot Noir Reliz Creek Arroyo Seco
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2013
Retail Price: $21.95
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir (93% Arroyo Seco, 7% Livermore Valley)

Aging: 19 months in French, American, Eastern European and neutral oak barrels

Alcohol: 14.5%

Closure: Cork

This wine was purchased for review. It was not tasted blind.

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