The 2012 Artesa Pinot Noir from Napa Valley's Carneros district lacks the bright highlights typical of the varietal produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley but makes up for that by layering lush dark fruit in a red wine anchored by deeply satisfying bass notes. Expect to pay about $19 at local big-box stores.
Warm spice, dark fruit and a hint of cedar on the nose give way to big ripe blackberry and black cherry on the tongue, with accents of raisin, spice box and a little snap of pure clove. This wine is wonderfully full at mid-palate, and that lushness brims over into a full long finish. It is beautifully balanced from first to last.
This California pinot noir would bring out the full savor of a cassoulet of duck, sausages and white beans.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.