In all honesty, winemaker Rick Hill is a longtime friend of mine. I’ve known him since he first arrived in Santa Maria Valley from his native New Zealand. Although he’s Tantara’s winemaker (more on that in an upcoming column), Labyrinth is his personal label. And like all wineries that I review, I don’t always like every vintage just because I know the winemaker. This pinot noir, one that Hill cellared longer than usual, will make any aficionado sit up and take notice. I loved its upfront, juicy fruit flavors of blackberries, black cherries, and plums, nicely nuanced with subtle notes of spice and earth. Ripe but not too sweet, this red will enhance any grilled red meats, and has the mojo to stand up to wild game. Available at California Fresh or online at labyrinthwine.com, it’s a good value at $40 retail for the quality.
LABYRINTH WINE 2009 PINOT NOIR SANTA BARBARA COUNTY :