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Must-Try Wine of the Week: 2011 J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Monterey County Pinot Noir
Founder J. Lohr has a special interest in pinot noir, and grows several hundred acres of the grape in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County. This unique wine is 76 percent pinot noir (primarily Dijon clones) and 24 percent Valdiguié, a red wine grape that pairs beautifully with pinot noir. Ninety percent of it is aged in stainless steel and 10 percent in neutral French oak barrels. This pinot has lovely aromas of dark berries, rose petals, and exotic spices that retain interest over time in the glass, leading to delicious and entirely seductive flavors of dark cherry and berry, with complimentary notes of spice and anise. The wine is soft in the mouth, with mild tannins, commendable balance, and very respectable finishing intensity. Pinot noir purists may scoff, but the addition of Valdiguié is what gives it a very interesting flavor profile. A lower alcohol level (13.6 percent) adds to the appeal. Pair it with duck confit or rack of lamb. A superlative value at $17, you can find it at Hi-Time Wine Cellars; Liquor Warehouse, 9092 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-965-6000; and Laguna Wine, Coffee and Specialty Foods. It’s also served at multiple O.C. restaurants, such as Pizza Lounge and SeaLegs Wine Bar, both in Huntington Beach, and Summit House Restaurant in Fullerton.