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SommSelect: “Two Kings” Pinot Noir by Wonderland Project Carneros, Sonoma, California 2016 - SommSelect

$29

Buy 4 and we‘ll include shipping.*


“Two Kings” Pinot Noir by Wonderland Project Carneros, Sonoma, California 2016


SommSelect Editorial Director David Lynch embraces the spirit of Matt Ahern’s Wonderland Project, which is informed by his experiences as a sommelier and distributor sales rep. In the world of restaurants, price-to-quality rules, and it’s the guiding principle behind Ahern’s Wonderland wines.


I’ve often said that the by-the-glass list is a window into a restaurant’s soul. I realize that this is not exactly ‘engrave-on-your-tombstone’ material, but I do believe it—and I’m still shocked at how many restaurants get every aspect of the by-the-glass program all wrong, from pricing to temperature to the glassware itself. Last year, we offered ex-sommelier Matt Ahern’s “White Queen” Chardonnay, which he created with restaurant by-the-glass lists in mind. He (like me, apparently) saw a dearth of genuinely good wine in this category and sought to change that. When I was buying wine for restaurants, the most exciting discoveries were undoubtedly the wines that worked as “glass pours”—not just financially, but qualitatively. I wanted every single glass of wine poured in my restaurant to have as much thought behind it as every morsel of food. And what I appreciate about Ahern’s Wonderland Project is that it doesn’t treat inexpensive California Pinot Noir as some sort of bulk-wine ‘branding’ experiment but as something to be taken seriously. This 2016 “Two Kings” Pinot Noir is best described as a wine from someone who’s tasted a lot of wine and who still believes—despite all the evidence to the contrary—that inexpensive California Pinot Noir can have real character. If you’re looking to elevate the by-the-glass program in your home, this is a fantastic place to start!

Ahern’s vineyard sources for this over-achieving Pinot Noir are both on the “Sonoma side” of Carneros: The “Kiser-Sangiacomo” vineyard straddles the Carneros and Sonoma Coast AVAs, spanning 170 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot planted in the characteristic silty loams of the region. Kiser-Sangiacomo fruit comprises 60% of the “Two Kings” blend, with the remainder hailing from another Sonoma-Carneros vineyard called “Sandman,” which is farmed by the Scribe winery. The wine was fermented on native yeasts in stainless steel, with about 15% of the must comprised of ‘whole clusters’ (i.e. grape bunches with their stems still attached), then aged seven months in French oak barrels, of which 20% were new.

As with his “White Queen” Chardonnay, Ahern delivers a Pinot Noir of balance and energy in the form of this 2016 “Two Kings.” In the glass, it’s a nearly opaque dark ruby with pink and garnet hues on the rim. The aromatics are a fruit-driven mix of black cherry, strawberry-rhubarb pie, damp violets, a hint of underbrush, and a hint of oak spice. On the palate it’s medium-plus in body, elegant and pure and full of energy—no sweetness or “cola” notes here, just bright, pure Pinot Noir goodness. It is ready to drink now: Serve it at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems alongside a nice crispy pork shoulder as in the attached recipe. This is a terrific “house wine” for those of you who have such things. Enjoy!
I’ve often said that the by-the-glass list is a window into a restaurant’s soul. I realize that this is not exactly ‘engrave-on-your-tombstone’ material, but I do believe it—and I’m still shocked at how many restaurants get every aspect of the by-the-glass program all wrong, from pricing to temperature to the glassware itself. Last year, we offered ex-sommelier Matt Ahern’s “White Queen” Chardonnay, which he created with restaurant by-the-glass lists in mind. He (like me, apparently) saw a dearth of genuinely good wine in this category and sought to change that. When I was buying wine for restaurants, the most exciting discoveries were undoubtedly the wines that worked as “glass pours”—not just financially, but qualitatively. I wanted every single glass of wine poured in my restaurant to have as much thought behind it as every morsel of food. And what I appreciate about Ahern’s Wonderland Project is that it doesn’t treat inexpensive California Pinot Noir as some sort of bulk-wine ‘branding’ experiment but as something to be taken seriously. This 2016 “Two Kings” Pinot Noir is best described as a wine from someone who’s tasted a lot of wine and who still believes—despite all the evidence to the contrary—that inexpensive California Pinot Noir can have real character. If you’re looking to elevate the by-the-glass program in your home, this is a fantastic place to start!

Ahern’s vineyard sources for this over-achieving Pinot Noir are both on the “Sonoma side” of Carneros: The “Kiser-Sangiacomo” vineyard straddles the Carneros and Sonoma Coast AVAs, spanning 170 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot planted in the characteristic silty loams of the region. Kiser-Sangiacomo fruit comprises 60% of the “Two Kings” blend, with the remainder hailing from another Sonoma-Carneros vineyard called “Sandman,” which is farmed by the Scribe winery. The wine was fermented on native yeasts in stainless steel, with about 15% of the must comprised of ‘whole clusters’ (i.e. grape bunches with their stems still attached), then aged seven months in French oak barrels, of which 20% were new.

As with his “White Queen” Chardonnay, Ahern delivers a Pinot Noir of balance and energy in the form of this 2016 “Two Kings.” In the glass, it’s a nearly opaque dark ruby with pink and garnet hues on the rim. The aromatics are a fruit-driven mix of black cherry, strawberry-rhubarb pie, damp violets, a hint of underbrush, and a hint of oak spice. On the palate it’s medium-plus in body, elegant and pure and full of energy—no sweetness or “cola” notes here, just bright, pure Pinot Noir goodness. It is ready to drink now: Serve it at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems alongside a nice crispy pork shoulder as in the attached recipe. This is a terrific “house wine” for those of you who have such things. Enjoy!





Country USA
Region California
Sub-Region Sonoma-Carneros
Varietal Pinot Noir 100%
Alcohol 13.5%
Oak 20% New French
Soil Silty Clay-Loam
Farming Sustainable
Service Temperature 60-65ºF
Glassware Burgundy Stems
Drinking Window Now
Decanting Optional
TASTING PROFILE

Fruit

Earth

Body

Tannin

Acid

Alcohol
TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Country USA
Region California
Sub-Region Sonoma-Carneros
Varietal Pinot Noir 100%
Alcohol 13.5%
Oak 20% New French
Soil Silty Clay-Loam
Farming Sustainable
Service Temperature 60-65ºF
Glassware Burgundy Stems
Drinking Window Now
Decanting Optional
SommSelect: “Two Kings” Pinot Noir by Wonderland Project Carneros, Sonoma, California 2016 - SommSelect SommSelect: “Two Kings” Pinot Noir by Wonderland Project Carneros, Sonoma, California 2016 - SommSelect

$29

Buy 4 and we‘ll include shipping.*

“As both a sommelier and a distributor/importer rep, Matt Ahern fixated on price-to-quality as the ultimate measure of a wine’s worthiness. His Wonderland Project is devoted to the idea that inexpensive wine can also have real personality of place.”

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SommSelect brings a sommelier’s knowledge and experience to everyone, at every budget, every day. We aren’t influenced by scores or ratings, or by a need to move inventory. Instead, our co-founder and in-house Master Sommelier, Ian Cauble, tastes dozens of wines from the world’s best producers each week to find those that truly stand out. Enjoy our selections.

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