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Hey California…the quality of your Pinot has “skyrocketed”

on 05/11/13 at 3:00 pm


Laetitia-Estate-Pinot-NoirThe quality of Californian Pinot Noir has improved more than any other grape in the state over the last decade, according to Karen MacNeil.

The comment was made during a Pinot Noir tasting at last month’s California Wine Summit, where attendees tried 18 Pinots , selected by a group of professionals led by MacNeil, who is author of The Wine Bible and chairman of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley.

Initially, MacNeil recorded a period 15 years ago, where “California Pinot Noir was evolving, but not at a very brisk pace”. Continuing she said, “There were a few exemplary wines, but Californian Pinot didn’t move the needle of emotion and intellect; it was relatively simple.”

However, she added, “In the last 10 years, the quality has skyrocketed faster than any other variety.”

Interestingly, in compiling a selection of Pinots for the Californian Summit from a total of 126 wines from 17 appellations, she said that “no single appellation stood out”.