La Follette Pinot Noir, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast 2011 ($40)
Winemaker Greg La Follette, having focused on cool-climate pinot noir for much of his career, produces small lot pinot noirs and chardonnays at La Follette, launched in 2010.
At UC Davis, La Follette began his work on mouthfeel, in conjunction with research on yeast, and how they affect mouthfeel and flavor. He worked as a Research Viticulturist/Enologist at Beaulieu Vineyard under André Tchelistcheff, and was later the winemaker for Flowers, where he launched the pinot noir program.
This pinot noir is expressive with raspberry, red cherry, thyme, and subtle vanilla. This wine is exemplary of why La Follette is known for his work on mouthfeel; the remarkable texture is somehow light, silky, and mouth coating, all at once. It’s like a graceful dancer that just barely touches the ground, and it’s utterly pleasing.
Firm acidity, notes of cranberry, strawberry and fresh button mushroom, and a very persistent red berry finish. Drink now and through 2019. Thoroughly enjoy it on its own with good company, or pair with wild mushroom soup, roasted pork tenderloin with fennel and garlic, or a grilled duck sandwich.