Opening Act – The first band to take the stage. Mission Ranch, planted in 1961 is among the first arrivals to the California Pinot Noir stage. This wine shows why the vineyard is still going strong more than 50 years later. Don’t be late to the show.
Formerly known as ‘À Côté,’ now under its new moniker, ‘Opening Act,’ the 2015 is the second vintage to be vineyard-designated from Mission Ranch in Monterey. Like the Santa Maria Valley, the source of most of our Santa Barbara County fruit, the Salinas Valley that makes the Monterey AVA opens to the Pacific Ocean. The Salinas Valley’s angle to the ocean is much steeper though, resulting in a combination of maritime influence and inland protection. As a result, this wine presents a balance of red and black fruit elements.
The mix of Pinot Noir clones (115, 459, 667, 777, 828) are co-fermented to create a wine that brims with red roses, strawberry and cranberry, but also offers cola and earthy components. The palate has a gorgeous weight and just a kiss of oak from the handful of once-used French oak barrels we slipped into the blend.
For this wine, our music pairings go in quite different directions: “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin or “Steal My Kisses” by Ben Harper. That may be a testament to just how versatile this wine is and how, as the drinker, you can associate more with the prettiness or the grittiness.