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Schug Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2021


One of California’s few wineries with German ownership is Schug Carneros Estate in Southern California. At least ‘Schug’ sounds more German than ‘Harary’. They recently celebrated their 40th anniversary – started by German businessman, Walter Schug. While most people were experimenting if California could grow PN and Chard on par with Burgundy, Walter was seeing if Pinot Noir grown in the Sonoma Coast could mirror the great Pinots of the Rheingau.

He set his winery up in the cool marine climate of Carneros where the climate and terroir set up perfectly for highly concentrated, low-yielding wines. The estate is perfectly situated where it gets hit with morning fog from the Pacific and then the afternoon winds that come busting through the famous Petaluma Gap. This keeps the acid levels high and allows for extended maturation on the vine until the sugar levels catch up – making it super easy for the winemaking team to know when it’s time to pick.

Perhaps Walter Schug will always best be known as the founding winemaker at Joseph Phelps and the creator of Insignia (one of Napa’s first cult wines), but the Schug Estate churns out some incredibly high scoring top values as well, like today’s 2021 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

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Expert Reviews

92 Points, Wine Enthusiast
This moody, dusky, flavorful wine offers rich black tea, forest duff and black-cherry notes on a full body framed by light tannins. Complexity without noticeable oak, length and a supple mouthfeel make it especially enjoyable.

92 Points, Tasting Panel
Red cherry and shaved cocoa are heady scents. The flavors of tobacco, cinnamon, pomegranate pith, and sandalwood form a charming parade. This is a juicy red, with unearthed raspberries and a spiced cedar finish.

91 Points, James Suckling
An attractive nose of red cherry, sliced strawberry and hibiscus. Medium-bodied with gentle tannins. The palate has more wet mineral and wild berry notes than the nose lets on, giving it more width and depth through the juicy finish.

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