2006 Rust Rock Terrace Pinot Noir Carneros, CA
Founded in the 1980s by the Ferrers, the family behind Spain's Freixenet empire, Gloria Ferrer was the first winery to consider the Carneros region's potential for sparkling wine. At the time the family first planted vines, the region was dotted with sheep and cattle ranches but the Ferrers were sure the sloping hillsides and maritime influences, so similar to their home in Catalonia, would be ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A quarter century later, the Ferrers are considered leaders in American Sparkling wine as well as critically-acclaimed producers of estate and vineyard designate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The 2006 Rust Rock Terrace Pinot is an elegant wine with bright cherry and blueberry aromas rounded out by a foresty note. On the palate, the wine's fruit flavors are of red cherry and tart pomegranate with button mushroom, cinnamon and a savory something toward the back of the palate. If we had one criticism, it would be that the wine finishes a little short. But its well-balanced style makes it a food-friendly choice for any occasion. Try it with roast game birds like duck, squab or guinea fowl. It would also make a welcome partner to seared tuna in a red wine sauce, mushroom risotto or a plate of aged, sheeps' milk cheeses.