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Wine of the week: Blending pinot noir keeps vintners on their toes

Adam and Dianna Lee give new meaning to the word multi-task.

The co-vintners of Santa Rosa's Siduri Wines make pinot noir from the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County, up through the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey, to Sonoma County and then all the way to Oregon's Willamette Valley.

They produced 21 pinots from the 2011 harvest, and their fingerprints are on every single one, including our wine-of-the-week winner — the Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir at $22.

The grapes for this pinot noir hail from four different vineyards, and the blending process is painstaking.

"Blending takes quite some time, twice a day tasting for all of our wines, and then blending the appellation wines," Adam Lee said. "This goes on for several weeks. In some ways it's a blast because tasting lots of wines every day isn't like digging ditches. But at the same time, it's work. You can't have a cold or allergies; you can't have drunk a bit too much the night before. I can't have drunk coffee right before tasting. All of these things make a difference."

Siduri is a house of pinot, focusing solely on the persnickety grape.

"Pinot noir spoke to us many years ago," Lee said. "Back when I was in wine retail in Austin, Texas, in the late 1980s, the wine shop I worked in was a big supporter of California pinot noir and we carried the wines of Healdsburg's Rochioli Vineyards & Winery, Williams-Selyem and others."

When the couple spent time in California, they learned more about the growing regions and specific vineyards.

"We became more than just casual, pleasure-oriented drinkers but started looking for pinot noirs that were great representations of unique sites," he said. "In our experience, pinot noir has a fascinating ability to be both complex and terroir-oriented and also just wonderful to drink."

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.


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