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Aliento del Sol Winery - California Central Coast


Gold Medal - Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition

There exists an incredibly specific passion within the California wine community concerning the Pinot Noir grape, one that has existed for at least thirty years. The passion was formulated following the first pronouncements by the wine media that early California Pinot Noirs were unequal to their Burgundian counterparts in many ways, and that to continue production of the classic varietal was basically a futile effort.

Ever since then, a number of dedicated vintners have dedicated themselves to the prospect of producing a truly classic Pinot Noir, deep and rich in body and taste and somewhat spiritual in nature. Many have tried, and it has become the in thing within many California wineries to expend inordinate amounts of time and effort in pursuit of the aforementioned quest.

Almost everyone will agree that in the past decade, a number of wineries appear to have mastered the Pinot Noir. The highly respected Pinot Noirs from William Selyem comes to mind and also the award winning Saintsbury Pinot Noir from the Carneros Region of Napa Valley. Each winery’s efforts were incredibly well received and deserve much praise and adulation.

Still, there is a hint of apprehension at world class levels, and few realistic writers actually compare California Pinot Noirs to the best Burgundies of the Cotes d’Or.

Enter the Riboli Family of California, whose interest and passion regarding Pinot Noir is as deeply rooted as any in the industry. This interest was nurtured by the Riboli Family’s close association with the Joseph Drouhin collection of outstanding French Burgundies which they have distributed in California for over a decade.

“Our friendship with the Drouhins ignited a flame of sorts within our Family,” offered Anthony Riboli, fourth generation spokesman for his family’s far-reaching wine business. “We visited Burgundy often and were charmed by the finesse and wonderful flavors that we experienced. When we returned home, we waited until all the factors seemed to work in our favor. With Pinot Noir, it’s a delicate balance that decides the ultimate quality and character of each wine. With the Aliento del Sol Pinot Noir, we think we are close to achieving that marvelous balance.”

The wine of which Riboli speaks is the first offering from Aliento del Sol (literally, Spirit of the Sun, a phrase embodying California’s wine dependence on the combination a truly benevolent sun and other cooling influences), a new winery that is part of the Riboli Family Wine Estates collection. The emphasis at Aliento del Sol will be on low-production (six bottle cases) of vineyard designated wines with specific micro-climatization.

They selected grapes from the excellent La Colline Vineyard in San Luis Obispo and sought the help of consulting winemaker Christian Roguenant, a French transplant that specializes in Pinot Noir with stints at both Laetitia Winery and Talley Vineyards to his credit. Both parties agreed that the cool Arroyo Grande Valley appellation La Colline fruit would suit their purpose of producing a world class Pinot Noir.

“To my Family,” Anthony Riboli added, “ it seemed that the emphasis on Pinot Noir fruit was shifting somewhat from the established Carneros vineyards of Napa and Sonoma further southward, towards Santa Maria, Edna Valley and even Monterey. It is everyone in the wine industry’s quest to find the best fruit and growing conditions for this particular varietal so that the wines that are produced can realistically be called ‘best of the best.’ We are really no different from many other wineries in that regard.”

A miniscule 600 cases of the 1998 Aliento del Sol Pinot Noir La Colline Vineyard was produced and Anthony Riboli feels that a similar levels of future releases can be expected. “When you try and produce the very best, you must be content with what the Lord provides you. He dictates quality and quantity, and in this case, less is usually better.”

Gold Medal Wine Club is proud to offer such a small production wine that is basically unavailable to the greater portion of our country to our Platinum Series Wine Club Members. We are confident of your enthusiastic response to this delightful wine.



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