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2013 Ballard Lane Pinot Noir 

Central Coast, California

Retail $12

The bargain price of this California pinot noir belies its quality. The Central Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA) encompasses 100,000 acres of vineyards stretching from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Santa Barbara County. The cooling effects from fog and Pacific breezes foster a long growing season resulting in slow, even ripening of varietals such as chardonnay and pinot noir. Vineyards are marked by high concentrations of sand, limestone and rocky soils deposited by mountain run-off. and the unique soil composition provides excellent drainage for root development. For this bottling, the grapes' free-run juice maintained contact with the skins for seven days to enhance color extraction. The wine was fermented for seven days and then aged for eight months in new and used French oak. In the glass, the wine offers aromas of red and dark berries, a hint of oak and an earthy quality. On the palate, taste red currants, mushrooms, strawberries, well-integrated tannins and bright acidity. Drink it with rare tuna, grilled meats, filet mignon, mushroom dishes, duck and other fowl, roasted vegetables and soft and medium-firm cheeses. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Company. Drink it at: Pearl Wine Company. — BRENDA MAITLAND


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