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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Cool Climate Pinot Noir: Withers Peters

Pinot Noir snobs abound. I should know, I'm one.

As with so many others, my favorite Pinots are from Burgundy, and probably from famous sites in Burgundy, but I find a lot to love in Pinot grown elsewhere. I get a little twitchy with a lot of California Pinot, so much of it is just not my thing. I do know however that there are plenty of California Pinots worth seeking out, but they'll inevitably be from cool coastal sites, made with little new oak, and will probably incorporate whole clusters. The Withers makes Pinot this way.

We quite like The Withers. The evidence is in the glass, their focus on elegance and freshness is clear. Whenever I taste one of their Pinots, I want to buy it, but I don't always have room for another $50+ wine, so I don't always bite. When I got an offer that would let us offer their 2019 Peters for $44, I did not hesitate. It is a fabulous Pinot by any measure; you don't have to compare it to Burgundy, though parallels and divergences might inevitably surface in the analysis. It's just a joy, and though it's delicious on its own, it begs for a place at the table (duck would be my first instinct, but it will be a versatile red).

The Withers Pinot Noir 'Peters Vineyard' - $44 (reg. $53)

Aromas of wild berry compote, sweet cherry, blood orange, pine forest, beets, roses, a little cola and raw cacao... this is just bursting on the nose. On the palate it is supple and ripe, silky texture and sweet juiciness is buffered by pleasantly bitter fruit skin and forest notes, tannins are integrated and fine-grained, acids are buried but strong, this has sneaky structure and density. The long complex finish demonstrates Pinot's abilities with aplomb: rich fruit, refreshing tanginess, delicate spice, deep forest, mysterious earth... In a great spot right now, this is probably just a few years away from maturity, but should be worth following a decade or so. Lovely stuff, and quite serious as Cali Pinot goes.

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