Must-Try Wine of Week: 2012 Alouette Sonoma County Pinot Noir

This wine is vinified by fifth-generation Belle Glos Wines winemaker Joseph Wagner, whose family founded Caymus Vineyards. Alouette is the French name for lark, a songbird that is a familiar sight in vineyards along the California coast. The lark has been romanticized over time and serves as the wine’s muse. 2012 was an exceptional California vintage, and the high quality of the fruit from the coastal regions of Sonoma County shows through in this wine, which was aged in 60 percent new French oak fornine months.

Aromas of red grapes, spice, violets, and oak vanillin lead to deeply flavored notes of cherries, strawberries, and sarsaparilla, with welcome accents of spice and oak. It’s very soft and silky in the mouth, with balanced tannins that make for easy drinking. Closed with a screw cap, the wine is a friendly accompaniment to early fall barbecue fare, including bacon-wrapped hot dogs, salmon kabobs, or London broil. This inviting wine was No. 5 among the Total Wine & More Top 20 Wines of 2013. At $25, you can find it in Orange County at and

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