While Cabernet Sauvignon might be the grape most think of when ruminating about red wines from California, many also hopefully recall the pockets of perfection that allow for the growing of grapes that need something a bit more cool. One famous 'pocket' is Los Carneros, a ninety square mile AVA (American Viticultural Area) on the southernmost foothills of the Mayacamas and Sonoma mountain ranges.
Los Carneros AVA (also known as Carneros AVA) includes parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties in California, U.S.A.. It is located north of San Pablo Bay. The proximity to the cool fog and breezes from the bay makes the climate in Los Carneros cooler and more moderate than the wine regions farther north in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The cooler climate has made Los Carneros attractive for the cultivation of cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
So, we have a great place to grow Pinot Noir but how is this bottling? In a word, lovely! Scents of fresh cherries and rose petals are grounded with touches of light spice and garden loam. Upon tasting, the berries are massively ripe: cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Background notes of subtle minerality and light spice add complexity. The grip of tannins and scintillating streaks of acidity keep this wine balanced and ideal for the spring table. Think everything from ham to lamb, salmon to tuna, duck to pork. Or try some chèvre and salami with your favorite herb crackers.
And what's up with the owl theme? Barn owls are extremely useful in vineyard management but they do not create their own nest holes. Instead, they frequently use hollow trees or cavities from other birds, and they readily move into open buildings or nest boxes. With the right barn owl box, it is possible to encourage barn owls to become permanent residents in your yard or elsewhere on a larger property. Many farmers and backyard birders welcome barn owls because these birds are efficient hunters that prey almost exclusively on small rodents such as mice, voles, rats, shrews, and gophers. With hungry barn owls and owlets in the area, less money, time, and effort will be needed for rodent control. Furthermore, because these raptors are primarily nocturnal, they rarely bother livestock or pets. They will not hurt crops or gardens, and they don't require feeders or expensive seed.
In summation, this is a light, bright, vibrant, fresh Pinot Noir that shows off the beauty of both Carneros and the vineyard protectors, the owls-- and a worthy champion to take our "Wine of the Month" mantle.