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2007 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch, Carneros CA

What started as an unexpected detour resulted in an incredible find when visiting Saintsbury winery yesterday.  After leaving Gloria Ferrer we headed East along the Sonoma Highway in search of two wineries that we came across on a map in the Carneros region.  The two wineries are named Etude Wines and Ceja - both located off Hwy 121 on Cuttings Wharf Road.  However, before we ventured too far down Cuttings Wharf Rd. we came across a sign for Saintsbury winery.  Rachel saw the small Saintsbury sign and recongnized the name as being one of the featured wines at The Press Club in San Francisco - which we have both tried.   We decided to take the detour and check out the winery which did not stand out from the road since it was tucked back a bit with no signage from the street.   As we pulled into the dirt driveway we noticed a couple heading to their car with a box of purchased wine - which told us that there was indeed a tasting room.

We were greeted by a slew of winery cats that were very friendly and in need of attention as well as a very friendly host named Sandy Hausser (  We were suprised to learn that upon our arrival at 3:45 PM, we were only the second visitors to the winery that day.  We learned that only as of this past summer, had Saintsbury opened their doors on Saturdays to tastings.

We experienced a very personalized tasting seated at a table as Sandy poured eight wines for us.  Saintsbury started producing Chardonnay which paid the bills then slowly grew into producing region-defining Pinot Noir back in 1981.  Interesting to note that Carneros became an official appellation in 1983, two years after Saintsbury’s founding.  The Pinots that we tasted were great and ranged from very young blends to estate designated vintages which were complex and unique.  The wines that we tasted in order were:

  1. 2007 Carneros Chardonnay       $19.99
  2. 2007 Brown Ranch Chardonnay $39.95 *
  3. 2008 Garnet Pinot Noir               $19.99
  4. 2007 Carneros Pinot Noir           $34.95
  5. 2007 Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir     $44.95 *
  6. 2007 Lee Vineyard Pinot Noir     $44.95
  7. 2007 Brown Ranch Pinot Noir     $59.95 *
  8. 2007 Rodgers Creek Syrah        $39.95 *

The wines noted with an asterisk were ones that we especially liked and purchased.  Both Brown Ranch Chardonnay and Pinot were really great tasting wines.  We rarely buy whites but were both impressed by the Chardonnay.  The Carneros Pinot is their most popular wine that contains a variety of Pinot fruit both estate grown and purchased.  The Stanly Ranch and Lee Vineyard Pinots were very complex and were pretty eye opening to be honest.  Both having a unique taste even with fruit being from essentially the same region.  We both like the Syrah which like most Syrahs was very inky and thin in the mouth but with a unique flavor and finish.  All great wines and an even greater tasting experience.  I highly recommend a visit to this winery for a uniquely personalized tasting experience without all the crowds.  I joked with Sandy to hold off from putting up lots of signs to drive awareness until we could get some of our friends in to experience some of their great Pinots.  We'll definitely be going back.  Winery Map.

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