Kathy’s Choice in Fine Pinot Noirs

Here are two outstanding Central Coast Pinot Noirs we totally enjoyed!
When it comes to red wines, there’s no doubt that Pinot Noir is a favorite at Chez Hardesty. One, a fantastic good value from winemaker Mike Sinor of Sinor-LaVallee in Avila Beach. The second one, the special occasion level for the middle-class budgeted family, is a deeply-layered, flagship wine from winemaker Rick Longoria of Longoria Wines Co. in Lompoc.

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Sinor-LaVallee 2015 Pinot Noir SLO County

This Pinot Noir is what Sinor calls his flagship Pinot Noir, a blend of 8 clones grown in his Bassi Vineyard in Avila Beach. Believe it or not, the vineyard is only 1.2 miles from the Pacific Ocean, where a cut in the hills leads the ocean chilled breeze directly to Bassi Vineyard. Since it’s not within the borders of SLO County’s official appellations, he has to label it San Luis Obispo County. This special blend, however, isn’t a blend made from many vineyards around the county.

We loved it for it’s friendly, easy drinking qualities. But make no mistake, this lovely wine will enhance everything from salmon and ahi to steak and lamb chops. We also love it equally on its own, it’s that good. It’s priced $30 retail and available at the Sinor-LaVallee wine tasting room in Avila Beach. Or check them out at www.sinorlavallee.com.

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Longoria 2014 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills La Encantada

This is one amazing Pinot Noir, and we know it’s not cheaply priced. One taste and you’ll know why it merits the price, this is one spectacular reserve level Pinot Noir. First of all it comes from the highly-respected La Encantada Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, and winemaker Rick Longoria gets his fruit from the same block in that vineyard every vintage (the year it was grown). His block is strictly Dijon Clone 777, a delicious combination of red and black fruit flavors. It was aged in 33% new French oak barrels for 15 months, and bottled unfined, only lightly filtered. We love this wine for its consistently great qualities. And we think it’s great with everything from killer prime cut steaks and rack of lamb to a great wild king salmon or peppered, seared ahi. It is also very drinkable alone, it’s that irresistible in the glass. The price is $50 retail per bottle, well worth it, but that’s probably why you wouldn’t want to open it for Wednesday night’s chicken dinner (we didn’t, we had it on steak night during the weekend). Check them out at www.longoriawine.com.

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