By Chris Gill
While the current issue’s feature on maverick winemaker Jayson Woodbridge covered his Hundred Acre and Layer Cake wines, it should be noted that Woodbridge also makes a damn fine California Pinot Noir called Cherry Pie. Don’t be fooled by the attractive, eye-catching label, which looks like the sort of thing used to bait impulse purchases from Kansas City tourists while they wait for sandwiches at the Oakville Grocery—this is serious stuff made with the same exacting attention to detail as Woodbridge’s other wines.
The Pinot Noir grapes for Cherry Pie are sourced from a vineyard located on the Carneros District’s historic Stanly Ranch property. The grapes are fermented in a combination of stainless steel tanks and oak puncheons where the cap is hand punched twice daily, then the wines are blended and aged in new French oak. Although the color of the 2009 Cherry Pie is a translucent ruby red as it’s poured, it takes on more body and depth in the glass, delivering the bold, concentrated flavors that befit Woodbridge’s signature winemaking style. The fruit is very lively and fresh, but there’s an underlying spice and pepper from the oak that should add even more depth and layers as the wine continues to age. This is a fine example of California Pinot Noir that could convert even the most serious Burgundy fan.
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