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Clos du Bois Sonoma Reserve Pinot Noir

Wine: Clos du Bois Sonoma Reserve Pinot Noir.

Grape: Pinot noir

Region: Sonoma Coast, Calif.

Vintage: 2006

Price: $12.99

In the glass: Clos du Bois Pinot Noir is a fairly deep garnet-red color with a semi-opaque core going out into a fine tinged red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: There are good amounts of crushed black plums, cranberry juice, cherries jubilee, milk chocolate and licorice root, then bright red flowers, mint and earth-driven minerals round out the layered vanilla-laced toasty nose.

On the palate: This wine is very powerful for a pinot noir, without masquerading as syrah, which happens a lot in California. There are fresh, bright, crushed red berries, cherries, plums, raspberry coulis and cranberry fondant as well as copious amounts of phenols and earthy minerals with underlying hints of aniseed powder. The midpalate seems rich and forward with good balance between fruit and acidity, and a good tannin structure that reflects the wine’s microclimate. The finish is very fine with hints of candied cranberries and faint oak references, along with an excellent length.

Odds and ends: I used to import Clos du Bois wines in Hong Kong almost 20 years ago, and back then they were famous boutique wines that were highly sought after. Then the wine boom happened and their operations grew exponentially, with the result that their wines were just average at best. When I tasted this 2006 pinot noir, that normally retails for more than $20, I was excited to see this company return to its original roots with a classically proportioned wine of a noble grape varietal. It is a wonderfully balanced wine that should appeal to all. Open it about one hour before consumption. Try it with roasted chicken. Clos du Bois Pinot Noir should drink well through 2012.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at gil@winevegas.com.

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