While not the most popular or widely planted (prolly Cab Sauv on both counts), Pinot Noir might be the consummate wine grape. The source material for some of the planet’s priciest and most elusive bottlings in red Burgundy, as well as a at least a few bricks in the discount pyramid at the  grocery store, it’s a varietal you’ll encounter almost everywhere because it does most everything - ride solo, pair with food, reflect terroir - well.  Except share the spotlight: aside from a few exceptions-that-prove-the-rule (Champagne, Passetoutgrain) Pinot Noir doesn’t really participate in blends. It is expensive and difficult to grow, and the same perfect pitch that allows it to render its environment so precisely means other grapes risk garbling the signal. Pinot needs space to preen, in other words, but that makes it a great partner for rosé, which lives by its lustre. A well made Rose of Pinot Noir, as the syntax insists, will first and foremost reflect its varietal point of origin; you’re guaranteed great color, vivid red fruit and tensile acid. But Pinot’s sense of place also prevents the local color from bleaching out entirely. To start this New Year and illustrate the point, we are staying local with a duo of Pinots from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Carneros, just two of the Golden State’s seemingly endless shades of pink.  

In a relatively short span of time the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA has achieved superstar status. Located about 150 miles south of San Francisco and about 50 southeast of Monterey, the region boasts 6,000 acres of vines ‑ primarily Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah ‑ planted on terraces below the Santa Lucia mountain range. The region’s climate is shaped by the morning fog and strong winds funneled daily down the Salinas Valley along with warm sunshine affording it one of the longest and coolest growing seasons in California. Steve McIntyre is a known viticulturist in Central California and have been making wines since 1973 and farms over 16,000 acres across Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties with a quarter of their vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. McIntyre was among the first properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands to be SIP (Sustainability In Practice) Certified. Steve produces incredibly intense and complex Pinot Noirs and well-structured, concentrated Chardonnays in addition to this crowd-pleasing Pinot Noir Rosé. 

The Carneros AVA is located in the southern tip of the Napa valley next to Sonoma and is a well known for producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (though it’s worth noting that it’s not the only region in Napa Valley to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). Though long recognized for producing premium quality Pinot and Chardonnay, recent vintages have achieved global press recognition which has further skyrocketed its popularity and giving Sonoma County wines a run for its money. Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in Carneros with their focus on craft producing vibrant, exciting wines with influence of Burgundy, the exuberance of California and the terroir of Carneros. They make over 20 wines including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Chris Kajani is the winemaker and General Manager at Bouchaine, a big Burgundy enthusiast, she has built her winemaking career around crafting worthy California wines. After almost a decade working with Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as Saintsbury’s winemaker, she joined the Bouchaine family as head winemaker and general manager in 2015.

Think Pink,

Carrie Upson

General Manager


2021 McIntyre Rosé of Pinot Noir

Region/Country of Origin:

Santa Lucia Highlands AVA

About the Vineyards: Sourced from the McIntyre Estate Vineyard located in the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County, California. This estate vineyard was purpose-grown for production of this rose of Pinot Noir. The vines are planted in north-south orientation, which benefits from even southern sun exposure in the afternoon and also enjoys cool morning fog.  

About the Winemaking: McIntyre takes a very minimalistic and non-interventional style to allow the grape and terroir to speak for themselves. The grapes were hand harvested and hand sorted to retain proper acidity and maintain alcohol levels to below 14%. The wine is mostly fermented in stainless steel tanks, but 10% is fermented in neutral oak barrels to soften and add a little richness to the final product. 

Tasting Notes: This wine’s natural, vibrant copper color foreshadows the stunning aromas of fresh berry, watermelon, rhubarb, black cherry pie and currants. While the bouquet is open and forthright, the texture is a bit more mysterious. One moment it is dry, crisp and refreshing; the next it is bold, plush and opulent. The finish, as you might expect, is pure, full and satisfying. 

Winemaker: Steve McIntyre

Price per bottle / Price per case: 


Suggested Food Pairing:


Roasted Chicken

Salads with cheese 

2021 Bouchaine Rosé of Pinot

Region/Country of Origin: Carneros AVA

About the Vineyards: Located in the southern border of Napa Valley in the Carneros AVA, Bouchaine’s 100 acre estate vineyard overlooks the San Francisco bay with the City off in the distance. Fog, wind, and the cold nighttime temperatures lend to this distinctive regional identity to Bouchaine wines.

About the Winemaking:   85% whole cluster pressed and 15% saignée. Clusters are harvested at low sugars and directly presses the wine similar to their Chardonnay. The juice is fermented in tank to preserve the freshness and aromatics, no oak contact. The saignée portion of the blend was “bled”from tank (saignée is a French term meaning “to bleed”) on the second

day after crushing Pinot Noir grapes. This concentrates the juice on the

skins for the lush Pinot Noir and gives a bit of light, lively juice.

Tasting Notes: Nose exudes fresh picked strawberry, juicy watermelon and guava, while the palate shows layers of white nectarine, cantaloupe and more melon. This fun and vibrant wine grabs your palate and does not let go. 

Winemaker: Chris Kajani

Price per bottle / Price per case: 


Suggested Food Pairing:



Poached shrimp

Dungeness Crab


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