Red, Ready, but will keep

2016 Birichino, Saint Georges Pinot Noir Central Coast, California

2016 Birichino, Saint Georges Pinot Noir Central Coast, California

Red | Ready, but will keep | Birichino | Code:  49483 | 2016 | USA > California > Santa Cruz County | Pinot Noir | Medium Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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The Producer

Birichino

Birichino

Birichino, pronounced “biri-kino” and Italian for “mischievous”, is an interesting project. Founded in Santa Cruz in 2008 – and drawing on a combined 35 years making and selling wine in California, France, and Italy – owners and winemakers Alex Krause and John Locke are focused on attaining the “perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness”, with a particular fondness for varieties that provide enormous pleasure. John worked from 1990 to 2007 with the legendary Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon, with (the equally legendary) André Ostertag of Domaine Ostertag in Alsace in ‘93, and with a host of small producers across Italy and south-western France. Alex started in ‘92 with Randall, worked with John in the cellar, and then escaped to the sales side in the later ‘90s (where he still works today as Director of Export Sales). They work with a selection of extraordinary vineyards, many of which date back to the 19th or early 20th century, own-rooted and farmed carefully. In the cellar, they aim to do as little as possible – working with wild yeast where possible, avoiding new oak, employing minimal fining and next-to-no filtration. The results are truly delicious.

The Grape

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.

Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.

The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.

The Region

Santa Cruz County

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