Every so often, it’s fun to grab something simply off the shelf. That’s what I’ve done a few times of late, including this one. A reasonably priced California Pinot Noir though? Pretty rare indeed. In fact, we need a hell of a lot more of these.
Hi, all. Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. I’m gonna hold this up so you can get a better look at it. So, front label, District 7. Back label, in essence it talks a little bit about how California has 17 crush districts, and District 7 happens to include Monterey. And so this is kind of an interesting one. Here’s a quick District 7 Pinot Noir Review:
So, a couple things. First, talk a step back. This is a new label that’s showing up her locally in the Bay area. District 7 is owned by Scheid family, and that’s S-C-H-E-I-D. They’re a kind of well-known grape-growing family down in Monterey. They handle, including stuff on the Monterey Peninsula and some warmer climates in the Salinas Valley and some kind of hill top stuff maybe, you know, depending on who you ask, 4,000 acres or so in total.
So there’s obviously a huge farming operation and a huge farming family and that allows them to do this which is a $15 bottle of California Pinot. You know I’ve talked a lot about how California struggles to get stuff into this price point. More so than other states it’s easy for California to hit. You know that like crazy two buck chuck or five dollars and under category because we have these warm central valley locations where you, you know, you have a little bit of water, which is going to be an increasing concern going forward. But, if you have a little bit of water stuff will really grow, you know, ten or twelves tons per acre.
We can hit the high end pretty easily because we do have these grape growing regions. You know I was in Napa yesterday with my family and as you drive through it’s relatively easy to kind of feel how, you know, if you can control yield on how you can get some really, really high quality fruit. So you kind of have these two extremes and the problem for California is finding that middle ground. So obviously Napa has priced itself into the stratosphere but you know, even when you’re talking Sonoma Pinot, you know, it’s relatively easy to hit that $35 or $40 price point, but then how do you get people from that $6 bottle of pinot to $40 bottle of pinot. There’s got to be some connect strand in the middle, and that’s where California has challenges.
I’ve talked about cabernet in the past just because I feel like the state of Washington is kind of interjecting themselves into that middle category and then kind of saying, “Well, even if we can’t hit the entry level stuff at five dollars, maybe if we hit $12 to $20 and then we’ll be able to keep, at least some of those into Washington wine as they move from $20 to $40.” And that’s proven pretty true. So I think what the Scheid family is doing is pretty important in the history of California wine and kind of hitting that middle ground.
You know wines often broken in the price points and, you know, Pinots somewhat different from others just because it is more expensive to grow and it’s a little riskier based on the vineyard locations that you have to have. Monterey is kind of an interesting place because it is cold and so it’s cold enough that Pinot grows well but it’s maybe not so cold if you go a few miles inland that you have to risk the grape actually not ripening. You might have to let it hang for a while, but you know, it usually will get there. And it might get there in like a say, Burgundian or Oregon Pinot kind of way where you might get five out of seven years in one set and then you might get seven out of seven in the next one. You might not get nine out of seven like you do in Sonoma, where you don’t have to worry about it.
So in any case, so it’s a pretty solid bottle of Pinot for $15. I think they’ve left some residual sugar in it which is not my cup of tea. But I think it’s more important to talk about the winery industry sometimes and as we see these kind of so, when you see large growers and 4,000 acres by any stretch of the imagination, is a large grower. We often think about those guys as producing kind of entry level wine. And that’s not the case with this Scheid family. You know, they are using this whole large growing operation in essence to be able to produce the one price point in California that we really struggle to get to.
If you walk through a grocery store or a wine store here in the Bay area you’ll see plenty of stuff $40 and above the Pinot and you’ll see plenty of Oregon. But then to get this $15 bottle of Pinot, where does it come from and it’s often overseas. And that’s kind of a challenge in and of itself as the industry moves forward.
So obviously not a good fit for a wine clip shipment but I thought it was interesting and it’s a good bottle of wine. At least good enough for the price point. I think it’s a good intro to what’s happening and it will be interesting to see how well they do with this. I expect it’s going to be very, very, very well and this is probably a household name sooner rather than later.
So once again Mark with Uncorked Ventures and I hope everybody had a nice weekend.