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by Fred McMillin
An All-Pro Pinot
United States' Pinot Noir is fast closing the quality gap with Burgundy. There is a groundswell of interest in California Pinot Noir.
...Wine Spectator, 1998, Harvey Steiman
During the last decade, Meridian Vineyard's Chuck Ortman has been making gallop-sized strides with Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara.
...Bob Thompson, Wine Atlas of California
The Rest of the Story
I can recall visiting Harvey Steiman around 1990, when he was not an admirer of California Pinot Noir. Here's how he recalls those days in the Spectator...In their search for success, California vintners tried nearly everything. They threw stems into the fermentors, they let fermentations get very warm, they played with enzymes...and made some "weird wines."
Those days are gone, and Chuck Ortman has helped get rid of them. My panel just tasted his Santa Barbara Reserve '96 and gave it an EXCELLENT. Details:
The Wine of the Day
1996 Reserve 100% Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County
What's a Bridge Wine? Answer: A wine for those interested in more vigor than provided by whites and pinks, yet not ready for powerhouse big Bordeaux-grape reds. Mr. Ortman's Pinot will escort you across the bridge nicely.
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