2009 Peay Vineyards "Scallop Shelf" Sonoma Pinot Noir

SKU #1075801 94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red. Explosively perfumed aromas of candied red fruits, potpourri, blood orange and Asian spices, with a smoky overtone. Incisive raspberry, cherry and rose pastille flavors show an alluring sweetness buffered by zesty mineral and spice notes. Silky, focused pinot with excellent back-end cut and finishing power.  (5/2012)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Grown at the Peay Vineyard in Annapolis, made by Vanessa Wong (Nick Peay’s wife), the Scallop Shelf blend is a clonal selection including five out of the 15 clones planted in the vineyard—one-third Pommard, one-third 777, about one-quarter 115, with a bit of Swan and Mt. Eden—the goal to emphasize high-toned floral scents. The style combines the fruit intensity of the far coast with the rich textures of oak aging, creating something like fresh raspberry cream. It’s soft and gentle, a lovely red to pour with grilled salmon.  (4/2012)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Pinot Noir Scallop Shelf Estate is endowed with striking inner perfume and tons of detail in a weightless style that is highly appealing. Gracious and refined, the Scallop Shelf impresses for its length and depth of flavor. This is more of an aromatic style built on minerality and length. Though quite understated at times, there is no mistaking the pedigree of what is in the glass. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017. (AG)  (2/2012)

K&L Notes

If you want to hear K&L San Francisco's Michael Jordan wax as poetic as the verse he includes in his monthly column in K&L's Wine News then ask him about the wines of Peay Vineyards, a perennial favorite of his and many others at K&L. The 2009 Scallop Shelf from the Peay brothers' vineyards on the far reaches of the Sonoma Coast has a floral, high-toned cherry nose, with crunchy red cherry, cranberry and raspberry fruit, black tea and orange zest flavors adding complexity. A feminine Pinot Noir that balances tannins and acidity, it's drinkable now, but will be even better in a few years as everything knits together and subtler earthy aspects emerge.

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Price: $54.99
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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.


- 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.
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).