Our Pinot Noir Discovery of 2017

By Matthew Brown, Prima Vini at Prima Ristorante, Walnut Creek

We kiss a lot of frogs in this business, and when it comes to Pinot Noir very few of them turn to princes. With so much Pinot being made these days, you have to wade through a lot of examples to find any that offer the true distinction only unique terroir and inspired winemaking can provide. And finding a Pinot like that at a reasonable price is even harder. That’s what made discovering McEvoy Ranch’s Evening Standard Pinot Noir such a joy.
We all agreed- and the entire Vini staff was in on the tasting- that here was a Pinot Noir that was not only delicious, it wore its very cool, Petaluma Gap-influenced West Marin roots on its sleeve for everyone to experience. McEvoy Ranch, we know, is far better known for its extraordinary organically-grown olive oil grown on a 550-acre parcel out in wilds of coastal Marin, not far from the Sonoma border. But Nan McEvoy, the woman behind the operation, always suspected cool-climate grapes would do well out there too, and since her first vintage in 2010, she’s been proving her hunch a good one. This 2012 is the first vintage we’ve tried, and it is really sensational.

But, to be fair, it’s not a Pinot Noir for everyone. When I say this is a cool-climate Pinot Noir, I mean it. It’s not ‘cool-climate’ like the Russian River is cool climate; it’s cool climate like really cool climate- like you-can-see-the-Pacific-from-here cool, and hence the Pinot grown here presents a wholly different set of aromatics and texture.
The nose evokes a definite Burgundian sensibility- Gevrey-Chambertin-like floral, black tea, patchouli and wild strawberry notes that give way to a lithe, mid-weight palate with a gossamer texture and the ‘crunchiness’ of a Burgundy far up the Cote. But it is Californian too- make no mistake about it. It weighs in at a natural 13.7% alcohol, and as it warms in the glass, the sunshine breaks through the fog and gives you a wine with great presence and personality.

As I say, we taste a lot of Pinot Noir around here and this elegant, stylish number from an unheralded appellation definitely got our attention. Think an herby leg of lamb here or duck confit with wild mushrooms. Yummy! And here’s the kicker. The McEvoys sell this for $45 in their tasting room but, since we like it so much, have offered us a nice deal to bring it from Marin to Contra Costa for them!
Very highly recommended!

2012 McEvoy Ranch Pinot Noir, ‘The Evening Standard’ Marin County

Regular Price $45.00
PRIMA Insiders Special $34.99
With Shipping Included on 6 Bottles or More

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