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Auction 17 / Lot No. 50 Saintsbury is in the Carneros appellation in southern Napa Valley. It was founded in 1981 by Richard Ward and David Graves. The men met as students in the winemaking program at the University of California at Davis. They decided to focus on Pinot Noir, which in the early 1980s was rarely produced in California. The pair named their 53-acre estate after George Saintsbury, an early 20th century English writer and wine connoisseur. Saintsbury makes several Pinot Noirs and a few Chardonnays. They purchase some of their grapes, and have also produced Syrah. Flagship wines are vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from Brown Ranch. Wine writer James Laube has noted that “Saintsbury has been a model of intelligent wine making on several counts. The winery’s style emphasizes ripe fruit flavors and supple textures and the ratio of quality to price is high.”
Winemaker’s notes: “What a difference a year makes! From our shortest crop ever at one ton per acre in 2011, to a year of bounty in 2012 when Mother Nature was extra generous with both remarkable quantity and stunning quality….(The Brown Ranch blocks) are located at the back of the ranch. Planted here on the most exposed promontory with the rockiest of droughty soils is the great Pommard clone, which thrives in these challenges….(This wine) encompasses the mantle of great site adversity, draping the broad shoulders of the kingly Pommard in a coolly wonderful growing season capped with the best Indian Summer experience since 1999 – in a word, magnificent!” Aged in French oak barrels, 40% new, for 11 months. Only 20 cases produced. The winemaker is Jerome Chery, a native of France who earned his oenology degree from the University of Burgundy.