2014 Castle Rock Monterey County Pinot Noir

Winery

Producing low-priced wine is not difficult in California – as long as one uses undistinguished central valley grapes. Yet Castle Rock Winery sells premium, handcrafted wines from the best appellations in California, Oregon and Washington at prices that match those wines labeled “California.” Castle Rock Winery’s secret to providing “appellation wines at affordable prices” is to operate as a kind of “virtual winery,” owning neither its own vineyards nor a winery. Instead it maintains close, long-term relationships with around forty growers in such areas as Monterey County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley and Colombia Valley and leases state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in all three states. Winemaker August "Joe" Briggs works closely with the growers to ensure they produce the best quality fruit while overseeing the winemaking at the same time. This unique method of operating allows Castle Rock to avoid the “money pits” of land and fancy buildings that sink many wineries and focus everything on securing the best grapes and crafting delicious wines. Since the beginning in 1994, Castle Rock has focused particularly on Pinot Noir, making distinct bottlings from such key Pinot districts as Carneros, Russian River Valley and Willamette Valley. However, over the years the winery has also branched out into other popular varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Riesling. Though an oft-repeated wine country adage goes, “it takes a fortune to make a small fortune in the wine business,” Castle Rock Winery has shown there is a way to make captivating wines for the discerning drinker without deep pockets. 

Wine

Whereas southern Monterey County is warm, dry and well-suited to Bordeaux varietals, the northern half, with sandy soils and a moist, cool maritime climate, is perfect for such Burgundian varietals as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cooler summer temperatures allow for a longer growing season for Pinot Noir, while also allowing extra “hang-time” on the vines, giving way to a characteristic depth and concentration of flavor. Castle Rock’s Monterey County Pinot Noir is elegant and medium bodied, and its silky texture and mild tannins ensure that it pairs well with lamb and chicken as well as salmon or pan-seared tuna steaks. 

Winemaking

Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. 

Tasting notes

An elegant, medium-bodied wine with a clear ruby-garnet color, it displays aromas of cherry, tea, and Italian herbs. On the palate a core of bright red-fruit flavors of boysenberry, cherry and strawberry overlay hints of cedar and eucalyptus. Excellent balance and a pleasant chewyness make this a fine and affordable Pinot Noir. 

Appellation

Monterey

Varietal

Pinot Noir

Size

750ml

Closure

Cork

Alcohol

13.5%

UPC

083837006186