The Santa Rosa Press Democrat Features 2012 Clone 05 Pinot as Wine of the Week

When it comes to making pinot noir, Joe Webb is a minimalist.

Webb is the co-vintner and winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner – the Foursight, 2012 Charles Vineyard, Anderson Valley, Clone 05 Pinot Noir at $49.

“We are very minimal-input and most of our pinot noirs are below 14% alcohol,” Webb said. “We aim to pick at the right time so we do little to nothing to alter the wine in the cellar, staying true to pinot noir and its ability to seduce even the most jaded wine drinker.”

What gives this pinot the edge is its depth of flavor with bright, tangy fruit. It has a gorgeous melding of flavors – cherry and cranberry – buoyed with crisp acidity. It also has a tasty undercurrent of roasted herbs and cracked black pepper. It’s complex and focused.

Asked what’s the most challenging part of making pinot noir, Webb replied: “Doing nothing.”

“Pinot noir has to be picked at the right time and handled very gently or it can come out tasting like any other generic red wine,” he said. “Being able to know when to stand back and let the natural processes happen can be tough for winemakers.”

Webb began his wine odyssey when he was at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

“My now-wife, Kristy Charles, and I were out wine tasting,” he explained. “We stopped at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande and had its current release of Rosemary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir. It was my first taste of what a really well-made pinot noir could be. We loved it so much we spent more money than either of us had on a bottle to give to her parents as a gift.”

Their college budget couldn’t stretch enough for them to afford a bottle for themselves, and they still joke about that fact. Webb recalls this pricey pinot adventure as a nudge to make classy pinot noir.

“It was an eye-opening experience that led to many more purchases, trips and eventually a career making pinot noir,” he said.

Webb is a co-founder and winemaker of Foursight Wines in Boonville.

The most gratifying part of making a prized pinot noir, Webb said, is uncorking a bottle.

“Seeing that ‘ah-ha moment’ on a customer’s face when they finally understand what a great pinot can be -- that mix of beautiful fruit, fresh acidity, elegance, balance and complexity,” Webb said. “It’s magical for a winemaker.”...

TOP PICK

Foursight, 2012 Charles Vineyard, Anderson Valley, Clone 05 Pinot Noir, 13.9 percent alcohol, $49. ★★★★ 1⁄2 What gives this pinot the edge is its depth of flavor with bright, tangy fruit. It has a gorgeous melding of flavors -- cherry and cranberry -- buoyed with crisp acidity. It also has a tasty undercurrent of roasted herbs and cracked black pepper. Finally, the pinot has excellent balance. Stunning. ...

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