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Alta Maria 2010 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley 

“Outstanding” was my first thought upon tasting this wine. And then I tasted another very good Pinot from the same appellation and found it unequal to this one. This vintage is only the sixth for this relatively new brand by James Ontiveros and Paul Wilkins, who consistently produce ultra-premium wines from Santa Maria Valley. This irresistible Pinot is perfectly balanced with ripe flavors of black cherry and boysenberry, nicely weaved with tangy flavors of strawberries and cranberries. Aged in 33 percent new oak, it’s well integrated and only shows subtle notes of spice on the long, delicious finish. It was ideal with grilled filet mignon in a buttery mushroom sauce, and it would be equally well-paired with salmon, pepper-crusted ahi, or rack of lamb. Get it at the Los Olivos tasting room for the value price of $28 retail.

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