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Great Wine: WALT Pinot Noir, Gap’s Crown Vineyard


Gap’s Crown is one of the marquee names in Sonoma vineyards that put out great Pinot Noir grapes. How valuable is this real estate? Official numbers are undisclosed, but the property was bought out for more than $100,000 per acre back in 2013. At this valuation, not just anybody can get access to these grapes. It’s kinda like trying to get piece of equity in Uber—don’t even think about it unless you know the right people and unless you have the right kind of power and influence. Well, the folks at HALL winery in St. Helena, Napa, happen to have great relationships with growers throughout California’s north coast wine region, and their WALT Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir is a winning combination of commerce and artistry.

A Gap’s Crown Pinot is something you want to lay down for just a while but not for too long. One should never open the bottle right out of the gate, but one also hesitates to linger too long and miss out on the expressive depth of the fruit of the vineyard which runs the risk of getting tampered down or tamed with old age. 4-7 years from vintage is a great window of opportunity for a Gap’s Crown, in our opinion, and so the 2012 bottling is prime time for evaluation. And it’s a beauty. On the nose are expressive, wafting notes of black cherry, ripe strawberry, violets, cola and a hint of menthol. All of these notes move forward onto the palate like a sonorous symphony, full of woodwinds and middle-range brass, i.e. French horns and trombones—creating a flavor profile that is rich and deep. Additionally, the wine’s texture is velvety and soft—all of this surmounting to a crown jewel of a Pinot Noir of beautiful balance and resonance. A great expression of a great vineyard.  –J.M.


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September 14, 2016


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