Wine of The Week: Big Basin Old Corral Pinot Noir 2019

Silky, brick-colored pinot noir made in the peaks of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains.

Lately, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the Santa Cruz Mountains have been winning over my heart. While they’re Californian in provenance, vines from this area are situated high up in the mountains, in a region where cool ocean winds whisper through the vineyards. This unique climate adds a salty minerality (gorgeous in Chardonnays) and a certain delicate structure (chef’s kiss in a Pinot Noir).

These wines are made with grapes from three different blocks of estate Pinot Noir, each cultivated with low-intervention farming techniques to ensure that every sip best reflects the land it comes from — expect beautiful purity of fruit. 

It’s a lighter style of Pinot Noir, imbued with an underlying forest floor umami. There’s a light red fruit note of pomegranate and cranberry, balanced out by notes of orange peel, rust, bay leaf, and leather. On the nose, it’s pure and driven by notes of cedar, chicory and cherry, plus faint notes of that rocky soil the fruit blooms from.

Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater,, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.