2011 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir

SKU #1109411 89 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep red. High-pitched red berry and floral aromas are accented by cinnamon and pungent herbs. Taut and linear on the palate, offering tangy redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of cola. Finishes clean and brisk, with lingering spiciness and a touch of bitter herbs.  (6/2013)

K&L Notes

If 2010 was one of the coolest vintages in recent history in Sonoma County, 2011 brings more of the same for the newly released Banshee Sonoma Coast Pinot. This translates to brightness, purity, and a cool, Burgundian sensibility. Like the 2010, the fruit was sourced primarily from the Sonoma Coast AVA, where the cool-climate fruit features a natural vibrancy and earthy character that the folks at Banshee like in their Pinot. But to keep things balanced and accessible for across-the-board palate appeal, they added fruit from a top Sonoma Mountain grower and a smattering of Russian River sources. The real kicker, though, is that 2011 marked the first vintage in which Banshee included declassified single vineyard fruit (a hefty dose of almost 20 barrels are in the final blend) from Tina Marie and Hurst Vineyards, and the quality really shines through. Compared to the 2010, the 2011 offers extra layers of depth and refinement, with added complexity and richness. Try it with grilled salmon or mushroom risotto as the folks at Banshee recommend, and you will be thankful you didn't buy just one. Sure to sell out.

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Price: $22.99
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Staff Image By: Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/30/2013 | Send Email
This is a powerful wine from a range of vineyards in Sonoma. Raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, and cola blend with earthy characteristics and lush tanins to make a bold, easy drinking wine. This is an absolute crowd pleaser!

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/29/2013 | Send Email
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Classic dark fruited, soft and rich CA Pinot. The guys at Banshee have done very well in a less than stellar 2011 vintage. If you like rich, upfront and very easy drinking pinot with class and balance, look no further.
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/30/2013 | Send Email
This is one of our favorite wines year in and year out, this vintage continues the trend. One of the most expressive and complex offerings, the 2011 has notes ranging from bright cherry to dark raspberry, hints of alluring spice on the nose. The more than generous addition of single vineyard wines into the blend really add depth and density to the wine.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/15/2012 | Send Email
Banshee…Can these guys make anything that isn’t just a completely insane value? We’ve touted these wines for years now so I won’t bore you again with the back story but I will tell you that the new 2011 Sonoma County Pinot Noir is as good, or better, as any of the wines that have come from them. One of the reasons is that not only did they use even more Sonoma Coast fruit this year but they also had a few of their high end single vineyard sources come on this year. The Tina Marie, Hurst and Sullivan Vineyards, amongst others, accounted for a nice chunk of what is in the bottle here. Plus they added another cog in an already well oiled machine; Ross Cobb of Cobb Vineyards helped them blend down this bottling and is going to stay on helping these young lads take their project even further than it has already gone. More aromatic early than vintages past this wine exudes pretty red fruits like currant and pomegranate with a darker edge on the palate that turns more to dusty, wild blackberry. The finish is much more complex as well with much more of a confectionary spice reminiscent of Mexican cocoa and grated nutmeg. Plain and simple: this has been and continues to be one of the best values in California Pinot Noir in the market place today.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).