The Ferrari-Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2014 is sourced from 3 estate vineyards in the Anderson Valley AVA of Mendocino County, just north of Sonoma and west of Napa in Northern California. Ferrari-Carano is one of Sonoma Counties leading Estates, but they own three “ranches” in Anderson Valley. Anderson Valley is located just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean and in being north of Sonoma usually has a cooler climate and a long growing season, which is exactly what Pinot Noir vines need to excel. Mendocino County is something of the hidden gem of Northern California wine country, because it also is quite proficient at growing marijuana (remember it is legal in California) which brings in more money per acre than wine grapes could ever hope to. Luckily for wine drinkers there are still folks like those at Ferraro-Carano who will not let excellent Pinot Noir land go to waste. The 2014 vintage in Anderson Valley was still one of the drought years and had warm days and cool nights. This Pinot was aged in French oak barrels (38% new and 62% used) for 10 months. The alcohol reflects the warm drought year with an alcohol content of 14.5%.
The color is a clean, clear raspberry jelly red. The nose is almost worth the price of the bottle, lush red berries, with smoke, herbs, and spices, and if they weren’t enough, bacon fat. This is Pinot with great length and good acidity. it tastes of tart cherry, Dr.Pepper, black pepper, sautéed mushroom, and spice. The mid-palate brings cranberry, herbs, and a touch of cream (mmm, maybe this pairs well with the Thanksgiving meal). The acidity gives this Pinot Noir plenty of time to unfold its flavors. Make sure you open the bottle well before serving time, I tried this wine first on Tuesday and thought it was a solid, but uneventful Pinot, came back to on Wednesday and it was a completely different wine.
Now this isn’t the typical CheapWineFinder wine in that a check of the web shows it selling for a few bucks over $20 to a few bucks over $30 (the list price is $38). But it IS a well priced Pinot Noir, grown in estate vineyards in a prime Pinot Noir growing region and produced by one of the best wineries in Sonoma, this is a no compromise Pinot that delivers real deal Pinot enjoyment. Yes, you can find “brand” Pinot Noir and some sort of negociant Pinot Noir for less money, but this is the start of the sweet spot for estates that grow the grapes and produced the wine. The Ferrari-Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2014 is a very good Pinot Noir and if you can find it on sale (the internet says in the $20s) this Pinot is a steal.