The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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WINE LIST STARS A Passion for Pinot FOLIE À DEUX FINDS THE SWEET SPOT WITH A SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR by Deborah Parker Wong / photo by Erica Bartel W hen Folie à Deux winemaker Joe Shirley wanted to round out the winery's Sonoma-sourced portfolio with a Pinot Noir, he began scouting the Sonoma Coast region in 2009 for undervalued sites planted to topperforming Dijon clones. The resulting wine, a blend that includes heavier-bodied Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley sites and earthy, red-fruit driven wines from cooler spots in Carneros and Gap's Crown in Petaluma, hit the spot with consumers when it was released earlier this year. "My goal was to produce a medium-bodied wine with a broad base of flavors and these sites gave me a lot to work with," said Shirley who vinifies the wine similarly to his Russian River Chardonnay, allowing it to complete fermentation in the barrel, stirring on the lees and using a modest amount (25 to 30 percent) of new oak. At $20 SRP, the Folie à Deux 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir over delivers with complex dark, red fruit, baking spice and truffle aromas that deepen to notes of cocoa and tobacco on the palate. Shirley champions Pinot Noir as the most foodfriendly variety: "Pinot Noir holds earthy characters well and that allows you to be versatile when pairing." At Boi Na Braza, a Brazilian churrascaria, or steak house, in downtown Cincinnati, Manager and Sommelier Joshua Matheus could not agree more. Matheus, who began offering Folie à Deux's Pinot Noir by the glass for $10 and bottle at $35, saw the wine quickly replace a Cabernet Sauvignon as the restaurant's top-selling red after he poured tastes for customers who were waiting in line on Valentine's Day—apropos for a winery whose name translates as "a passion shared by two." Matheus's list isn't shy on California wines. The restaurant offers 110, including Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara and Oregon, and Matheus credits his customers' ability to recognize quality for value in Folie à Deux for the star performance. "The wine speaks for itself," he said. "The fuller-bodied style complements a variety of meats, so it's not a wine that I have to hand-sell." Boi Na Braza, which has a second location in Texas and a third on the way, will soon be offering Folie à Deux in all three restaurants. 154  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2013

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