2011 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Brown Ranch (magnum)


Saintsbury was the first winery I visited in Napa Valley. Tasting the wines always brings back so many memories; both of that trip and the time I spent selling the Saintsbury Pinots in my restaurant days just after college. The winery is located in Carneros, which sits at the very south of Napa Valley and is shared as an appellation with Sonoma. Two thousand eleven is remembered as cool with heavy fog and quite a bit of rain. Although originally viewed as a challenging vintage, time has shown that many 2011s have evolved quite well. I would say that I was surprised at how well the 2011 Brown Ranch showed, but I am not, only because I have had a chance to taste many 2011s over the last decade. Even so, I was delighted to see the 2011 in magnum, as a large part of the Saintsbury library was damaged by fire some years back. Fortunately magnums were stored in a separate location, and those bottles survived.

The 2011 Pinot Noir Brown Ranch is absolutely gorgeous. Sweet spice, tobacco, cedar and a kiss of French oak meld into a core of generous, rich red/purplish fruit in a Pinot of real breadth and class as the 2011 reveals its considerable charms. Silky tannins extend the finish nicely. At nearly ten years of age, the 2011 is in its prime drinking window. Of course, the magnum format helps. Readers lucky enough to own the 2011 can look forward to another 5-10 years of fine drinking. 93/Drink 2021-2031.