The 2016 Karo-Kann Pinot Noir from the cool-climes of Los Carneros is a win-win. The 2016 is elegant above all else, marrying tantalizing red cherry, raspberry, and black tea notes with candied cherry and clove on the palate, and this crimson stunner comes in at just $20 per bottle --or ⅓ the standard retail price of Carneros Pinot Noirs. Simply put, Karo-Kann makes its neighbors from the swanky Hyde Vineyard (which retail from $65 onward) look bad.
In fact, Karo-Kann defines a “front of cellar wine”—it’s easy on the wallet and palate, making it just the type of bottle to be opened with frequency and poured with generosity. It doesn’t matter what’s on the table, Karo Kann’s vivacious acidity and silken mouthfeel play a perfect supporting role.
The Karo-Kann strategy—like most of chess—centers around making the perfect move for the long game, and Karo-Kann wines are the result of decades of strategy. The 2016 Carneros Pinot Noir emerged when that strategy struck gold, first winning incredible placements at Michelin-star restaurants, but today’s bottles couldn’t be snapped up by restauranteurs: the 2016 vintage was so abundant, the team behind Karo-Kann simply had too much of a good thing.
At Wine Access, we employ the long-game strategy too. We snapped up this incredible, strawberry-scented value Pinot Noir just for Wine Access insiders who understand the value of Carneros Pinot Noir. Napa’s coolest subzone, it’s the renowned home of vineyards like Hyde, where luminary Pinot Noirs like those from Patz & Hall ($65) and Paul Hobbs ($80) are crafted with the utmost care in a perfect, coastal microclimate.
Not far from the San Pablo Bay, the vineyard source for the 2016 Karo-Kann is owned by a single family, whose attention to detail and knowledge of terroir is second to none in Carneros.
Unlike its low-yielding predecessor, 2016 was an excellent, abundant vintage, throughout California, but especially in Los Carneros. The season got off to an early start and temperatures never spiked, allowing Pinot Noir to ripen slowly and evenly throughout the summer. The result, in our case, was a luscious Pinot Noir, bursting with mouthwatering red cherry and raspberry, that drinks like $50—we strongly suggest stocking up.