Monday, June 28, 2021

Ferrari-Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Ferrari-Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and Domaine Chandon sparkling white wine with Isola balsamic vinagrettes on beefsteak toast points and caprese salad - for ideal summer casual dining!

Readers of these pages know I am not a big Pinot drinker. I admit I don't have the palette or discrimination for a Pinot Noir like I do Bordeaux or Rhone varietals. 

Never-the-less I picked up several bottles of this moderate priced every day drinker for casual sipping during the summer when its more approachable than a bigger 'heavier' weightier wine. 

That said, I opened this casual Pinot sipper with some caprese - mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil from our garden, topped off with balsamic vinagrette dressing (s), and it was spectacular - a wonderful and delightful pairing! 

This is another example where the appropriate pairing of food and wine accentuates the enjoyment of both. 

In addition, we had toast points with slices of the tomahawk rib-eye steaks from the other evening, which were equally delectable - also topped with the balsamic! We love this combination. 

This pairing was accentuated further by the adding a touch of both chocolate and raspberry balsamic vinagrettes. These are from the brand Isola (shown below), imported from Italy, these balsamics originate from Modena, Italy.  

These are imported by Isola Imports, which began in 1957 as a small Italian grocery store, a modest little storefront in the heart of Chicago, operated by Italian immigrant John Nitti. As he shared a taste of Italy with his family, friends and neighbors, word spread quickly about his wonderful store and his customers clamored for more. His products enabled the whole neighborhood - and beyond - to experience uniquely authentic Italian cuisine. 

John and his wife Janet moved back to Italy, where they traveled its diverse regions - from Sicily to Venice, and from Rome to Napoli, searching for authentic artisan specialty culinary products. Today, they are joined by their children, Jay, Michael and Lisa in their family owned and operated import and distribution business in the Archer Heights neighborhood of Chicago, bringing a range of products from across Italy to Chicagoland . 

Isola Imports was born in 1992. Isola means 'Island', referring to the numerous regions of Italy. each with its own identity with distinctive flavors and products. Isola import products can be found across the Chicagoland grocers: Whole Foods, Mariano's, Pete's Fresh Market, Tony's and Sunset Markets.

While we might serve this accompanied by a 'big red', in the heat and humidity of summer, the lighter, softer, more approachable Pinot Noir was ideal. 

As shown, wife Linda accompanied her's with sparkling white wine from Domane Chandon, another modest inexpensive every day sipper, ideal, and delightful for the occasion and for this pairing!

Ferrari-Carano Pinot Noir Anderson Valley  2018 

The Farrari-Carano estate and winery sit on Rock Rise Mountain on the east side of the Alexander Valley, high above the town of Geyserville at an elevation of 1,000 feet. This is where they produce their red wines. They produce white wines at another location. 

This Ferrari-Carano Pinot Noir comes from their three ranches in Anderson Valley, up in Mendocino County, north of Sonoma County, two hours north of San Francisco up Hwy 101. Located just off the coastal region of Mendocino County, Anderson Valley and the adjacent Mendocino Ridge are in a sparsely populated area near the small town of Boonville, population 700. The 15 mile long Anderson Valley was formed by the Navarro River watershed and is surrounded by steep, forested slopes as well as rolling hills dotted with picturesque vineyards, farms and orchards. 

Ferrari-Carano purchased the Sky High Ranch vineyard property, already planted to Pinot Noir grapes, sited on the Mendocino Ridge high above Anderson Valley. The vineyard is surrounded by towering redwoods and dense forest. Sitting at 1,500-foot elevation, the steep slopes of Mendocino Ridgeover sit above the cool fog line.

They produce two Pinot Noir wines from this area – a single vineyard designated label, Sky High Ranch Pinot Noir, and this Ferrari-Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Anderson Valley is known as an up-and-coming appellation with ideal terroir for growing Pinot Noir grapes, good drainage and a microclimate of warm sunny days and cool, foggy mornings and nights.

The year 2018 was very good with ideal weather conditions for the vines. Spring produced great set, and average rainfalls led to normal to above‐normal yields. Consistently warm temperatures during the summer months without any drastic heat spikes or rain events allowed for longer “hang time” for the grapes, which led to fully ripe flavors.

Winemakers' notes for this label: "Aromas of pretty raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, a touch of rose petal, and cola notes fill the senses followed by vibrant flavors of red fruits that jump out on the front palate, while the mid-palate turns to blackberry, plum and spice notes. The finish is fruit driven with lingering flavors of cherry and a spicy touch of toast. A velvety texture and bright acidity create a naturally- balanced wine."

Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored this 92 points while Wine Spectator gave it 90 points.

The wine has aged for 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels before bottling.

This was dark ruby red, medium bodied, with rich, expressive full black-cherry, plum and pomegranate  flavors with dusty rose, clove spice, cola and smoky oak with smooth velvety tannins on a lingering finish.

RM 90 points