Restaurants / Bars

This California Pinot Noir Comes from a Special Place

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BY // 03.27.17

The Donnelly Creek Vineyard is a special place. Planted by a woman named Mary Elke in 1991, it produces Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir. It’s a quiet and natural area a little west of Boonville, and it’s the source of the grapes for a wine from Lede Family Wines that I tasted this week, the 2014 Donnelly Creek Pinot Noir.

Made from a blend of Pommard and Stang clones from two different blocks at Donnelly Creek, the 2014 was aged for 16 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels, 50 percent of them new. (If you are into coopers, they included Cadus, Damy, Rousseau, and François Frères.

Drink this now, or in 2020.

The result? Get yourself some ground chuck, mix it with some finely chopped bacon, then add some ground lamb. This will be what you eat, and the FEL Donnelly Creek Pinot Noir is what you’ll drink with it. You will love your meal.

Red fruit on the nose, supple mouthfeel, and a touch of vanilla from the oak: These characteristics paired well with the burger — yes, I made the chuck/lamb/bacon burger I describe above. Make sure you butter and toast the buns, and add a bit of mild cheese if you wish; the FEL will please you mightily.

There are some great vineyards on this map. (Courtesy princeofpinot.com)

We tasted immediately after opening the bottle, and the cherry bouquet was vibrant. Five or 10 minutes later, the second pour released an earthiness — mushroom, twig — that was in no way unwelcome. Drink this now, or in 2020. Ryan Hodgins has made a notable wine here.

Now, this Pinot Noir would, of course, suit a nice rack of lamb as well, and I would have no problem opening it to pair with a well-selected charcuterie selection: speck, salami, mortadella. It’s retailing for $65 a bottle, and is available through the Lede Family Wine Club.

Holiday Gifting

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  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
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  • Wayne Smith

A few more details: 14.8 percent alcohol, 191 cases produced, bottled on January 27, 2016, and released on February 1, 2017.

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