This is the best Pinot Noir at this price. Period! Relatively deep in color and alluringly scented with marvelous aromas of juicy black cherry fruit, cocoa and ginger backed by lurking notes of cardamom and violets. The wine's flavors are boldly expressive.
Kevin Mehra and Brett Vankoski founded Latitude Beverage in 2007 and the 90+ Cellars brand in 2009. Modeled after Cameron Hughes, 90+ Cellars selections are relatively small lots of wine from prestigious wineries that cannot sell all their wine under their own labels (at significantly higher prices). Kevin and Brett started out by calling and e-mailing wineries with high ratings and asking if they had wine for sale. Some told them to get lost, and others ignored them, but a few said yes.
Kevin and Brett protect the identity of the wineries they buy from, divulging very little information on their labels or their website. This 2500-case lot appears to be from several vineyards located in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. The valley was granted AVA status in 1983 and generally lies between Sebastopol and Santa Rosa in the south and Forestville and Healdsburg in the north. The valley has a characteristically cool climate heavily influenced by fog generated by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The cooling influence of the fog is responsible for the large diurnal temperature variation with nighttime temperatures dropping as much as 35 to 40 degrees. The summertime warmth is tempered by this maritime influence and facilitates a long, slow ripening period, ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Lot 75 Pinot Noir spent nine months in a combination of French and American oak. Easily the equal of wines selling for well over $20 , it has a nice mouthfeel and improves substantially with airing. Kevin and Brett claim that the winery sells it for $39.99. I’m not sure it’s worth 40 bucks, but it’s a steal at $16 and one of our best sellers!