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The wines of Saintsbury (Carneros, California) 
1500 Los Carneros Avenue, Napa, CA 94559, USA
UK agent: Adnams (Tel: 01502 727222)


Saintsbury is a premium-level winery based in the cooler Carneros region of California's Napa valley, producing around 55 000 cases per year, the majority of which is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a tiny amount of Pinot Gris. According to joint proprietor Dick Ward, 1999 was a spectacularly good vintage in the Carneros region, and this line-up (mostly 1999s) was pretty stunning, all the way from the less expensive Garnet Pinot Noir to the top. Pinot Noir is a hard grape to get right, and Saintsbury seem to have cracked it.

Carneros Chardonnay 1999
Showing a lovely toasty, fruity nose, this is a ripe, nutty Chardonnay that manages to be concentrated and restrained at the same time. Quite classy and not at all overdone. Very good/excellent

'Garnet' Carneros Pinot Noir 1999
25% new oak is used to produce this 'entry level' Pinot Noir. It may be the lesser of the Pinots Saintsbury produce in terms of price, but it is a classy wine in its own right. The lovely cherry/herby nose is attractive and savoury, with a slight medicinal edge. There's lovely balance on the palate, with cherry fruit and nice complexity. A real treat. Very good/excellent

Carneros Pinot Noir 1999
40% new oak. Rich, varietally true nose, with cherries and herbs. The full palate shows savoury cherry fruit with good complexity and a touch of spicy oak. In a similar style to the Garnet, but with a bit more 'oomph', and some seamlessy integrated oak. Very good/excellent

Carneros Pinot Noir Reserve 1998
Spending longer in barrel, the reserve bottling has a spicy nose with some sweet fruit and oak. The palate shows concentrated savoury/sweet fruit with a medicinal edge. It's nicely balanced and quite powerful for a Pinot, but I preferred the less ambitious bottlings. Very good+

Wines tasted May 2001

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