by Fred McMillin
for April 7, 1997

An All-Pro Pinot

Prologue: "Instead of the four to six tons of grape yield per acre, which is normal for Napa and Sonoma counties, in the Carneros district it's only 1 1/2 tons. The soil is sandier, the climate is milder and the growing season is longer. This means the grapes are smaller, more intense and juicier. The wine that comes from it is distinctly different: it has more of a fruity quality that hits you in the nose right away"...by Gloria Ferrer Winemaker Robert Iantosca.

The Rest of the Story: Robert is right. His 100% Carneros Pinot Noir table wine pops you pleasantly right in the nose with light cherry and strawberry aromas, plus a little French oak spice and vanilla in the background. In the mouth, it's just as pleasing...light and smooth...ready to drink young. I pulled a '94 out of the cellar to get my panel's opinion. The consensus: fine wine for ham, veal and lamb dishes.

1994 Pinot Noir, Carneros
Gloria Ferrer
Carneros, Sonoma County

Category: Recommended

Postscript: Robert doesn't make much of this wine. Most of Ferrer's 180 acres of Carneros Pinot Noir goes into 80,000 cases a year of Ferrer sparkling wine. That may sound like a lot, but parent company Freixenet dwarfs it. The Spanish firm's annual production is about 3 million cases!

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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