The online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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December 2017
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Words such as complex, concentrated, and elegant are thrown about in the wine world like balls in a McDonald’s play pen enclosure.

Well, I’m here to tell you that no 3 words could be more accurate than when applied to the 2008 La Follette Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir.  A wine that is nothing short of magnificent. 

Managed by third-generation farmers, the Sangiacomo Vineyard benefits from a daily stream of cool air pulled inland from the San Pablo Bay in the Sonoma Coast.  The resulting wine is freshly fruity, yet impeccibly balanced with tea, a sweet earthiness, and french oak to coax out additional length and harmony.

Mostly what struck me about this wine was it’s elegance.  It absolutely slipps off  your tongue in a way only pinot noir can, yet exceeded any preconcieved ideas I may have had.  This is one of those wines that I receive in the mail from a winery or distributor that made me stop in my tracks, take a step back, and realize why I dedicate so much time to teaching and writing about wine. 

Honestly, I went directly to the grocery store and purchased a beautiful piece of fresh salmon, roasted it in the oven, and served with a few spoonfulls of pesto cream over the top.  It was absolutely perfect.

One more note on concentration.  When my wife and I don’t finish a bottle over dinner together, we know it is a wine with depth and concentration, and this was no exception.  I corked the remaining wine and had it the next evening prior to dinner, but this time with some lofty expectations. 

I was not disappointed. 

Find it.  Get it.  Enjoy it now or age for up to 10 years.

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