The grapes for this wine, and actually all the Pinot Noirs they make, come from a single vineyard in a place called the Petaluma Gap in Sonoma. The vineyard is famous for its cold blustery climate, which allows the grapes to ripen slowly and maintain all their zippy acid. This is important because it leads to a more Burgundy-style wine, one with less jammy fruit, and more baking spice, orange zest, violet and a touch of bittersweet chocolate. The wine is aged in neutral oak barrels, which means the oak doesn’t mask the pure flavor of the fruit. The wine is fresh, but also has tons of grit. This is a big Pinot (big in its structure), which is what makes it perfect for the cold weather wine line up.
The classic salmon and Pinot Noir pairing is a must here. This wine has the earthy backbone to stand up to a lot of hearty meals (don’t be afraid to pair this with a juicy burger or veggie burger with all the fixings), but it really sings with simply grilled salmon. If you are a pâté or rillettes fan, this is also your moment. Some crusty bread, a hearty country pâté and cornichons make quite the feast.
This joint venture between husband and wife team, Laura Carpenter Hawkes and Jake Hawkes, is another collector’s dream! Laura has been in the food, wine, and hospitality industry since the ‘90s and has recently made her newest passion for wine a real venture with the recently launched Carpenter wine label. Jake Hawkes, the winemaker for Hawkes (we swooned over their Alexander Valley Cabernet in our Fall Collection and are still sipping on that one enthusiastically!) and now also winemaker for Carpenter, has no formal training as a winemaker, but he has always loved to drink. He was born in Alexander Valley, grew up on a farm, and started making Chardonnay in high school in glass demijohns (that super cool glass bottle used to ferment wine, vinegar, kombucha, etc.) Thirty years later, his approach to winemaking is very much the same as it was then: keep it clean and stay away from oak. They live in Alexander Valley with their two kids and work in the family business: growing grapes and making wine.