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A.P. Vin: Plenty of Pinot Singing

Andrew P. Vingiello was just another wine lover when he had his epiphany after drinking a Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands of California. He began researching California Pinot Noir labels and was intrigued by Brian Loring who had entered the wine business cold from another profession. A telephone call to Loring led to one thing and another, and before long, Loring became Vingiello’s friend and mentor. Loring showed him the way, but many others offered information and inspiration including winemakers Adam Lee, Ed Kurtzman, and Peter Cargasacchi. A.P. Vin was launched with the 2003 vintage and now produces 2,000 cases of Pinot Noir annually. Vingiello has been fortunate to obtain grapes from some of California’s most prominent Pinot Noir vineyards. I can think of only a handful of other vintners with such an impressive lineup of vineyard sources.

The name, A.P. Vin represents the history and heritage of the Italian Vingiello family name as well as containing “wine” in the name. Based in San Francisco, A.P. Vin has had a low profile. I haven’t seen the wines poured in recent years at World of Pinot Noir or Pinot Days. I have dabbled here and there in the past, trying an occasional A.P. Vin wine, but did not find anything remarkable. It was quite a surprise to me, then, to sample the latest 2007 vintage releases and find that these Pinot Noirs were all singing a catchy Pinot tune and were very well-crafted. They are vinified in the Kosta-Browne style and every bit as good. Of the four wines sampled, all of them were close to receiving a Pinot Geek confirmation. Befitting the sports season, I found the wines reflective of different positions on the football field.

The wines are generally 100% de-stemmed and crushed. After fermentation and pressing, the new wine is placed in a variety of new and old French oak barrels for 11 months of aging.

2007 A.P. Vin Kanzler Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., 250 cases, $40, Stelvin screw cap. Clones 667 (10% whole cluster) and Pommard. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Intriguing aromas of black fruits, Moroccan spices, cedar, earth and brier patch. The least forthcoming wine in the lineup with copious and brooding dark fruit. Begins to open with time in the glass revealing an intense plum fruit finish. Little nuance now, but has amazing fruit and will get much better over time. The fullback in the lineup: muscular, hard headed, imposing. Very good (+).

2007 A.P. Vin Keefer Ranch Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 250 cases, $40, Stelvin screw cap. Clones 777, Pommard 4, 2A and 23. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Redder fruits that are pure and bright with a touch of herbs and baking spices on the nose. Intense cherry and raspberry core with noticeable persistence on the finish marked by a touch of citrus tang. Well-proportioned with perfect balance. The tailback in the lineup: not the biggest player, but flashy, in control and wellsculpted. Very good (+).

2007 A.P. Vin Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir.

14.9% alc., 375 cases, $40, Stelvin screw cap. Clones 777, 115 and Pisoni. Aged 11 months in 40% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Enticing scents of perfectly ripe cherries and berries with side car notes of oak and spice. A cherry bombast in the mouth that literally explodes on entry, well-clothed in ripe tannins and bright acidity. The aromatic finish lasts and lasts. A seamless wine with the most finesse of all the wines in this lineup. Fantastic the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The quarterback in the lineup: good-looking, clean, smart and demands the focus of attention.

2007 A.P. Vin Turner Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 125 cases, $55, Stelvin screw cap. Clones 667 (10% whole cluster), 114 and 777 (5% whole cluster). Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Very dark reddish-purple in the glass. Wooded dark fruit, spiced plum and smoke on the nose. Very taste core of dark berries, black cherries, and plums with an earthy undertone. Flashy and juicy with well-endowed fine-grain dry tannins. Showing admirable silkiness and elegance on the palate, this wine grew on me, and the more I sampled it, the more I liked it. This is the linebacker in the lineup: husky, down and dirty, but deft and agile on its feet. Very good (+).

A.P. Vin wines are sold through a mailing list at www.apvin.com and through retail distribution. Besides the above wines, there is a Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir and Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir for 2007. For 2008, the Ridgetop Vineyard (Sonoma Coast) and Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley) are new additions. The 2008 vintage Pinot Noirs have already shipped. Phone 415-218-7161 to inquire about tasting.

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