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Wine of the week: Pinot noir

At Husch Vineyards, a deliberation over a blend is often dinner table fodder.

WINE GRIDTOP PICK:

Husch 2007 Anderson Valley, $23

**** A tasty earthy pinot noir with bright fruit. Aromas and flavors of cherry, pomegranate, herbs and mushroom. A great value for pinot.

Winemaker Brad Holstine said consumers benefit from this family business because members have a shared vision and wine quality is always a top priority.

"If it's a choice between my favorite barrels or an upgrade in the office, barrels always win," he said. "Our operations are lean so that the wine can take priority. Again, it boils down to our vested interest, eye for detail and production of wines that we can all be proud of."

Holstine said what he finds most difficult about producing the finicky pinot noir grape is deciding the right time to pick and "bringing the fruit in at the ephemeral state of perfect ripeness for the given vintage and vineyard block. This, of course, is a major concern for all varieties. But it seems to me, your window of opportunity is much shorter with pinot. Things happen fast in the pinot blocks I'm familiar with."

The Husch tango with pinot dates back to 1968 when the late Tony Husch was the first to plant pinot noir in Anderson Valley, Holstine said. "Given how this appellation has proven pro-pinot power as well as its gew?rztraminer greatness, we are proud of that legacy."

The Oswald family purchased the winery from Husch in 1979 and now the third generation of Oswalds run the winery.

"A success that consistently poses challenges is from H.A. Oswald's dictum - that Husch strive to produce the highest caliber wines at a fair price," said Holstine. "He wanted to make award-winning wines that all could afford at the end of the day."

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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