Balance and restraint now prized in Californian Pinot Noirs

Drinks: Imbibe Live, Wines
Location: UK, USA

California has turned a corner with regards to its Pinot Noirs, according to one of the Golden State’s most respected winemakers.

‘There’s been a big shift in the last ten years to balance and restraint,’ said Radio-Coteau’s Eric Sussaman, speaking at Imbibe Live.

Sussman highlights the increasing plantings of Pinot Noir in cooler areas like Sonoma Coast as being one of the key drivers behind the change.

‘The climate in California means it takes attention from the start, but it also means with fruit, that’s in the right place,’ he said.

Sussman picks his wines relatively early to guarantee lower alcohol levels – all his wines are comfortably below 14% abv, something which he says is ‘an important factor in the new more elegant style’.

‘When the grapes are actually tasting sweet in the vineyard, you’ve missed the picking date,’ he said. ‘More and more guys are picking earlier – and those are the wines that age better.’

Radio-Coteau wines are imported to the UK by Berkmann

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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