Mount Eden Estate Pinot Noir 1999

Tasting Notes

Release Date:  Fall 2002

An old friend and former wine writer in talking about Pinot Noir once asked, "What is Pinot Noir?"

From someone whom I knew had tasted thousands from around the world and annually spends three weeks in Burgundy France, I was a little stunned at his puzzlement. Yet, that moment and question still lingers in my mind. With the variety of styles, textures and structures, not to mention flavors, this variety has to offer-it does defy definition. Such is its mystifying beauty.

An exceptionally late bud break was notable in 1999; otherwise we enjoyed a beautiful, long, uneventful season. "Uneventful" may sound boring to some, but to us winemakers it is a joy.

Harvested in the first week of October, a month later then usual, the lateness made its impact on the vintage's style. Ripening in the waning sun and longer nights of September builds density and excitement in this most fragile of red wines. We knew after the long wait it, could be something special.

Fermented and aged along a classic method of open top small fermentors, punched down by hand, then once in barrel, no movement in the cellar for twenty months. Aromas of raspberries and plums continue with signature elements of wintergreen and dill. Visceral red meat/ root spice flavors dominate the palate. Youthful and penetrating, give this '99 a few years rest in your cellar and drink over the following seven to ten years.

By the way, a tidbit to impress your friends is that this vineyard has the distinction of having the longest lineage of estate bottled Pinot Noir in California. A bit of vinous history in your glass.



Tech Notes

Yield: 1.5 tons/acre Harvest dates: September 30 Numbers @ Harvest: 24.5o Brix, 3.54 pH,  7.8 grams/liter acidity Barrels: French Burgundy, 75% new Bottling: April 2001, unfined & unfiltered


92 points Wine Enthusiast Magazine - October 2002

“New Age Pinot: America’s Grand Cru”

Given the intense aromas and flavors, it’s hard to believe this wine is light and racy. The balanced, complex and elegant profile shows cinnamon, anise and soy accents on bright cherry and tart plum fruit.

89 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar - January/February 2003

Deep ruby. Bright, expressive nose dominated by black cherry. Dense and rich, with sweet black fruit flavors of noteworthy concentration and depth. Lively acids and fairly substantial, chewy tannins give this mid-weight port very good grip. Showing very well.