WINE OF THE WEEK: 2011 August West Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands; from California's central coast; costs about $32; serve with braised lamb shanks, roast chicken, earthy casseroles and cheese.
On the lookout for a juicy California pinot, one with some character and grit? Look no further than the 2011 from August West. The label is a collaboration between Ed Kurtzman and growers Howard Graham and Gary Franscioni. The grapes — a tiny crop this year — came from the vineyards Rosella's, Sierra Mar and Soberanes.
Tasting of black cherry, plums and earth, this latest vintage of Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands, their fourth, has gorgeous fruit and ripe tannins. It's an all-occasion wine, great with cheese, braised lamb shanks or a hearty bean dish, sauteed mushrooms or maybe a lovely roast chicken.