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Clos Saron

Owner(s) Gideon Bienstock, Saron Rice
Web site www.clossaron.com
 
Link to this site
Clos Saron

Gideon Bienstock and wife Saron Rice have developed a very small and young vineyard in the northern limits of the Sierra Foothills AVA. Gideon has over 28 years of experience in the wine industry as buyer, seller, educator, writer and winemaker (he is also the winemaker for the famed and nearby Renaissance Vineyard & Winery) and Saron has considerable knowledge of viticulture. Together, they have set a goal to transcend all of the preconceived notions that exist about what winegrowing possibilities exist in this region. What they have started, and what they have accomplished to date, is highly unusual from just about every point of view. They only work with organic fruit and farm all of their grapes, including sourced grapes, themselves. They specialize in Pinot Noir and non-traditional blends of other red and white varietals. Winemaking is pure and simple - no acid corrections, no fining or filtration, no inoculations, no racking and very minimal sulfur dioxide additions during barrel aging. The Home Pinot Noir Vineyard and tiny winery are located in a cool microclimate in the Oregon House Valley just west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. 4,500 vines are planted on a gentle, well-drained, north-east facing slope.

The Sierra Foothills AVA is very large, consisting of eight counties and stretching 170 miles along the Sierra, with elevation ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 feet. The AVA is ideal for cool-climate varieties that thrive on northern exposed hillsides at higher elevations. The heat-loving varieties do best on southerly or western exposed slopes at lower elevations. There are many small producers in the Sierra Foothills AVA and most are family-run, selling all of their production directly to consumers.

Clos Saron is located at 9269 Collin House Rd, PO Box 1004, Oregon House, CA. 530-692-1080. I have visited and tasted in the small winery on the property with Gideon in the past. For those looking for a unique setting and an adventurous trip, I highly recommend a visit. The wines are sold through a mailing list.

Reviewed Wines

2008 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 70 cases, $45. · This is far too young to drink now, but the potential is obvious. The nose is shy, offering demure cherry and berry fruit aromas with noticeable oak. Darkly fruited with hints of smoked meat, earth and cola. Still closed with oak and tannins swamping the fruit now. If you drink now, decant. This is a twenty year wine. Very good. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 70 cases, $45. · An inexperienced drinker could easily be frustrated with this wine. Upon opening, there was some reduction followed by notes of pitch, oak, and bay leaf with no fruit evident. On the palate, the mildly astringent tannin overwhelmed the fruit and the wine seemed disjointed and even unappealing with flavors of iodine, tar and green olive. The longer the wine sat in the glass, the better it became with more appealing berry fruit emerging. The following day the wine was re-tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle and the transformation was remarkable. The fruit aromas were now clean and vibrant, the core of black raspberry and cherry fruit was vivid and pure and the fruit had emerged from its tannic cloak, lifted by crisp acidity. My family enjoyed the wine with dinner that following day, a perfect match for pot roast. Very good. Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »

2007 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 82 cases, $45. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass.The nose is very striking and the most flamboyant in this vertical tasting. Profuse aromas of fresh berries, rose petals, and exotic spices are mesmerizing. Intensely fruity with flavors of black raspberries, cassis, olallieberries, Oolong tea, cola and unidentified exotic notes. This is one of those wines that really makes you want to take another sip. Seamless and harmonious in every way. You can drink this wine now for its hedonistic aromas and flavors, but this is one you will want to dance with after more maturation in the bottle. I was stoked over this Pinot. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 82 cases, $45. · Moderately light and red-toned color in the glass. Very seductive aromatic profile featuring scents of crushed black raspberries, leather, rose petals and oak. Delicious flavors of black cherry glaze and black raspberry jam with complimentary exotic spices and vanilla. The fruit really strikes the mid palate with well-mannered grainy tannins and appropriate acidity to bring the fruit to life. Still great later in the day and the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine has several years of life ahead. Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »

2006 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 78 cases, $45. · Medium garnet color in the glass. The nose needs some coaxing in the glass, eventually offering pleasing aromas of blackberries and boysenberries, oak and baking spices. Striking assault of fruit on the mid palate with a potpourri of dark berries, black cherries and cassis with hints of spice, cola and game. Takes on more interest and intensity with time in the glass. A seamless wine with well-proportioned tannins and acidity bringing the fruit to life. Definitely will improve over the next several years. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2005 Clos Saron Texas Hill Road Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

$35. · A more structured and tannic Pinot Noir that is quite apart from the Home Vineyard style, but retains its own rustic and earthy charm. The 2006 barrel sample was even better (Gideon began farming the Texas hill Road Vineyard in 2006 and it shows). Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Clos Saron Home Vineyard California Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 39 cases, $45. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. This wine pleases on every level. The aromas are reminiscent of a fresh berry tart with some floral, mineral, and oak notes in the background. Incredibly delicious core of crushed wild berries, currants and black cherries with a hint of spice and cola. The savory, even exotic, fruit is bright and striking and its taste lingers on the pleasing finish. There is a deft touch of oak and the tannins never intrude on the experience. Still great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Trust me, you are going to love this wine. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2005 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

$45. · A strikingly refined Pinot Noir with appealing cherry and berry flavors and lovely elegance. The 2006 barrel sample is equally impressive. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 Clos Saron Home Vineyard California Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 32 cases, $45. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of dark berries, crushed rock, Crayola and oak char. Delicious essence of fresh crushed berries that is vivid and intense on the palate and persisting for what seems like a minute on the big finish. Very soft in the mouth with melded tannins. An impressive effort. Very good. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2004 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.3%, 47 cases, $45. This year Gideon said was his experiment with joining the “ripeness is all” crowd. He waited longer for more physiological ripeness than ever before or since. Water had to be added to the must. “In retrospect, I think it did not turn out too bad, but I feel that we went further in that direction than I would ever go again. In my perception, the very hint of over-ripeness, which this wine does show to my palate, compromises the typicity and terroir expression, which are the wine’s soul. That said, I have been told by many that this is their favorite vintage of ours.” · I have to admit, I liked this wine very much too. The aromatics are terrific with plenty of barnyard, mushroom and minerality. The flavors are subtle and alluring with luscious strawberry and cherry fruit. Just the right mix of fruit and earthiness. No over-ripeness evident. The tannins are well-concealed and the whole package is nicely balanced. Makes you want to clap your hands. Reviewed December 3, 2007 ARTICLE »

2003 Clos Saron Pinot Too Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 56 cases, $30. · This is a “tannic mutha’.” Heady spiced and confected cherries with a floral note that composes the attractive aromatics. The masculine Pinot extract is currently obscured by oak. This wine needs cheese or hearty food. Reviewed December 3, 2007 ARTICLE »

2003 Clos Saron Home Vineyard California Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 31 cases, $45. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The fruit plays second fiddle to the aromas and flavors of loamy earthy, smoke, tobacco and ash. There is plenty of drying tannins and a bright acid spine. A rustic wine with plenty of heft and a prominent smoky tone throughout. Decent. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2003 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 32 cases, $45. Ripening was more even in this vintage. There was Botrytis pressure for the first time. Once again, Gideon and Saron were removing individual defective grapes from otherwise beautifully ripe clusters. The wine seemed similar to the 1999 vintage when bottled showing a powerful presence. Unlike the 1999, there was a distinctive chocolate aftertaste early on. · Very dark ruby in color. Barnyard and mushroom scents dominate. Woody tart cherry flavors with noteworthy drying tannins on the finish yet to be shed. Muscular but not harsh. Needs further time in the cellar. Reviewed December 3, 2007 ARTICLE »

2002 Clos Saron Pinot Too California Pinot Noir

13% alc., 30 cases, $25. From young vines in the Home Vineyard. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The biggest surprise in the lineup. Alluring scents of wild berries, black plum sauce, brier and exotic woods. Tasty core of black raspberry fruit with an underpinning of grilled and smoked meat. Still retaining moderate tannins but smooth and silky in the mouth. My only nit would be a little sharpness on the finish as the brisk acidity surfaces, but this would be easily tempered with the proper food. An impressive young vine wine that has held up nicely. Very good. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2002 Clos Saron Pinot Too Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 29 cases, $25. Another frost damage year. In a larger vineyard, 2002 would have been a disastrous vintage, due to a combination of both unripe and over-ripe grapes in the same clusters. Hours were spent painstakingly removing every under-ripe and over-ripe grape from every cluster in order to crush only perfectly even, ripe fruit. · Rather restrained aromatics with deep, dark fruits, a hint of oak, cardamom, ripe tomato and char. Redder fruits peak through in the finish, particularly candied cherry. Tannins are reigned in. A very easy drink now and thoroughly enjoyable. Reviewed December 3, 2007 ARTICLE »

2001 Clos Saron California Pinot Noir

13% alc., 28 cases, $45. · Deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Dark berries and black cherries are the featured fruits with oak, smoke and loamy earth in the background. A bit rugged and still sporting flamboyant tannins, this Pinot drinks more like a Cab. The fruit core is quite tasty, and there is a good spark of acidity on the finish. This wine will benefit from the proper food accompaniment. Good. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2001 Clos Saron Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 28 cases, $45. A very structured and concentrated vintage with yields reduced by extensive frost damage. A notable spice dimension at the finish has distinguished this vintage. · Aromas of crushed dark cherries, cassis, game, pepper, barnyard and a hint of oak spice lead off. Lovely black raspberry fruit lingers on an elegant frame. Burly tannins. Offers a clear and unmistakable sense of terroir. I later decanted the wine which softened the tannins. This wine will reward even further aging. If drunk now, try a ripe Epiosses cheese or hearty meats like duck and game. Reviewed December 3, 2007 ARTICLE »

1999 Clos Saron California Pinot Noir

13% alc., 58 cases, $45. Inaugural vintage. · Very good color. Appealing aromas of black raspberries, blackberries, brioche, earth and oak, becoming more fruity over time in the glass. The wine is holding up beautifully with plenty of juicy dark berry fruit, integrated soft dusty tannins, and a good acid lift on the fruity finish. Reminds me of an aged Burgundy 1er. Still drank well the following day from an opened and re-corked bottle. Could go for another 5 to 10 years. An exceptional older Pinot Noir. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1999 Clos Saron Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 58 cases, $45. Inaugural vintage. A “large” production not matched again until the 2005 vintage. Yields were 1.5 tons per acre. This was initially a very dense, structured and concentrated wine that has aged gracefully and acquired more elegance and harmony. · Complex bouquet of dark Pinot fruits including plums and wild berries, mushrooms, farmyard, smoke, and even a touch of spearmint and flowers. A rustic wine that is structured and stuffed with flavors of black cherry, mushroom and game. Still showing a fair amount of tannin. Reviewed December 3, 2007 ARTICLE »