Naples Flatbread and Wine Bar Spinarti and Chalone Pinot Noir 2010

I had a lovely lunch today with my Mom (she’s 91) at Naples Flatbread and Wine Bar which is fairly new in Tulsa. It’s my second time to visit and both times were a delicious experience. The menu includes heavenly flat breads, pizza, panninis, chicken wings, boned and boneless, and salads. The decor is upscale bistro, white table cloths and wait staff dressed in black and professionally friendly. We shared the lunch portion of the Spinarti Flatbread, a divine combination of spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, carmelized onions, ricotta, asiago, and mozzarella cheeses, garlic and a beautiful balsamic reduction. The flatbread is thin and uber-tender. They have a sufficient by-the-glass wine menu, reasonably priced.

Naples Flatbread and Wine Bar Spinarti

Naples Flatbread and Wine Bar Spinarti

Chalong Pinot Noir Monterey 2010

Chalone Pinot Noir Monterey 2010

My glass of Chalone Vineyards Monterey Pinot Noir 2010 was $7.00, a pretty garnet color, a very bright nose of strawberries, maybe raspberries and something floral. On the palate it is nicely ripe and fresh and bright with a hit of spice. Medium-bodied, maybe medium-bodied-plus, silky mouthfeel and the finish brings on ripe dark cherries, 100% Pinot Noir in the bottle. A worthy side-kick to my Spinarti. Mom had coffee black.

From the Winery: “Chalone isn’t a label, it’s a place on earth”—a saying that our winemaker, Robert Cook, and vineyard manager, Richard Boer, hold as truth. The wines speak to the limestone and decomposed granite soils that are specific to this wild, isolated mountain plateau in Monterey County. The low-nutrient soils make the vines struggle and give the wines unique minerality; the diurnal temperature swings and cool winds retain acidity; the intense sunshine builds flavors and tannin structure; and the age of our vines enhances the wines’ concentration, complexity and ageability.

Winery Tasting Notes – Fragrant aromas of ripe black cherries, sun-warmed roses and spices lead to the silky, bright flavors of this Pinot Noir. Hints of tobacco from terroir and smoky incense from Hungarian and French oak barrels add complexity. Fine tannins and balanced acidity frame the red-berry flavors midpalate and then enliven the vibrant finish. This smooth, easy-to-love wine marries with a broad range of foods, including grilled salmon or ahi tuna, herb-roasted chicken or pork loin, and lamb or beef kabobs with succulent mushrooms.

Vineyard – Our winemaker for the Monterey County wines, Tom Westberg, selected 82 percent of the grapes from his favorite Pinot Noir vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Monterey County. East facing and above the fog line, these vines begin their day bathed in morning sun and calm tranquility. However, Pinot Noir vines yield their finest fruit where they must struggle and here, every afternoon, they stand against strong, Pacific Ocean winds that slow ripening and develop grapes with deep color, intense flavors and lively acidity. To complement the flavors of these grapes, Tom selected fruit from a valley-floor vineyard near Greenfield, just a little to the south.
Winemaking – After night harvesting the fruit, we first cold soaked the partially crushed Pinot Noir grapes for gentle extraction of flavors, color and tannins. Following fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, we pressed the wine and transferred it to French and Hungarian oak barrels to complete malolactic fermentation, which softens and rounds the acidity. During seven months of aging, the grape flavors integrated with the aromatic spices of the European oak, while the grape tannins developed their supple, silky quality.
Vintage – A cool, foggy summer followed a rainy spring in 2010, making us wonder if the grapes would ever ripen. But then an Indian summer surprised us with a heat spell that provided a much-needed boost to flavor and sugar development. The grapes’ long hangtime on the vine gave our wines great elegance and balance, combining lush flavors with excellent acidity.

The 2011 Chalone Monterey Pinot Noir 2011 should also be in the market now. Now owned by the mammoth Diageo – Chateau and Estates

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