Casa Carneros Casa Carneros Vineyards

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For decades it has been known that the Carneros microclimate is particularly well suited for the cultivation of Pinot Noir grapes. The question still remained, however, whether or not there are characteristics in Pinot Noir wines made from Carneros grapes that are common to all Carneros Pinot Noirs but are not generally found, or not found to be as intense in Pinot Noir wines made from grapes in other regions. In other words, is there in fact a recognizable Carneros style of Pinot Noir?

The Carneros Quality Alliance (CQA) designed a tasting to compare Carneros wines with wines from both Napa County (non-Carneros) and Sonoma County (non-Carneros). Wines from two vintages (1981 and 1983) were tasted in order to minimize any differences due to vintage. A panel of twelve trained judges tasted a total of 28 wines (10 Carneros, 9 Napa, 9 Sonoma) twice each in fourteen sessions held on different days. All wines were tasted blind, four wines per session and no wine was presented in combination with any other wine more than once. The judges were asked to score each of the attributes chosen to describe Pinot Noir wine (fresh berry, berry jam, spicy, mint, prune, vegetal, smoke/tar and leather) on a line scale of 1 to 10.

After the wines had been tasted twice by all the judges, the results were correlated and subjected to a number of complex statistical analyses. The results were then displayed on a two dimensional graph which showed 9 of the 10 Carneros wines clustered together in one area representing high cherry, fresh berry, spicy and berry jam intensities. The wines from Napa and Sonoma Counties were not clustered with the Carneros wines or with themselves; they were scattered all over the graph.

Chemical analysis of all the wines was done and the results showed that the Carneros wines again clustered together, away from the other wines, with regard to the free and bound SO2 levels. All ten of the Carneros Pinot Noir wines had SO2 levels which were significantly lower than in the wines from the other regions.

This study has proven that there are characteristics - namely fresh berry, berry jam, spicy and cherry - which are consistent among Carneros Pinot Noirs and which are significantly more intense than in Pinot Noirs from other regions.


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Casa Carneros Winery - - 1159 Bayview Avenue, Napa, CA 94559 USA
Telephone: (707) 257-8713
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Copyright 2007 Casa Carneros Winery. All rights reserved.
Website: Tincknell & Tincknell.
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