Balance and restraint now prized in Californian Pinot Noirs

Chris Losh

Chris Losh

05 July 2017

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

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