1979 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir

Have you ever been to The Wine Cask in Santa Barbara?  Do you remember how there was a doorway that connected the main dining room to the adjacent restaurant (el Paseo)?  Well, that doorway used to be completely filled with bottles that I assumed were empty.  They weren't.  They were full of 1979 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir.  In a gesture of kindness and curiosity, I was recently given a bottle to have a crack at.

We decanted this wine, there were mild sediments, nothing unusual, and the wine was cloudy.  The nose showed dried strawberries and nettles at first.  The palate revealed decent acidity and fruit, which was overall a little funky but nothing that was out of line for such an old Pinot.  Especially considering that the wine was most likely not intended to be held for 30 years.  After a little more time in the glass, the nose gave off some vanilla and caramel notes and there was a kind of ping in the palate, hinting that the wine may have been stored in a warm environment at some point.  The wine was quite interesting and worth having a taste of, particularly because I would put it into the category of pioneering wines from Santa Barbara County.

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March 2010
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