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2012 Cru Pinot Noir 

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Retail $20

This award-winning pinot noir features some of the best fruit from the Monterey area, a place with excellent growing conditions for this difficult varietal. Grapes for the 2012 vintage were sourced from the Santa Lucia HighlandsAmerican Viticultural Area that hugs the western side of the Salinas Valley at elevations reaching 1,200 feet. The slopes enjoy warm, sunny mornings, chilly afternoon coastal breezes, evening and morning fogs and maritime influences, all of which create a long ripening period in the area's already lengthy growing season. Sourced primarily from the Sarmento Vineyard, the blend includes four pinot noir clones from different plots with different soils and elevations to create balance and depth. After harvest, the fruit was fermented in open tanks. The wine was racked into 20 percent new French oak barrels and aged nine months. It offers aromas of sour cherry, red berries and cedar. On the palate, taste strawberry, raspberry, tea, spice and earth notes. Decant 15 minutes before serving. Drink it with salmon, tuna, duck and pork. Buy it at: Habanos and the Wine Cellar, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket and Rouses on Tchoupitoulas Street, Franklin Avenue and Belle Chasse Highway. Drink it at: GW Fins, Flaming Torch, Tommy's Cuisine and Impastato Cellars.

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