AP Vin is a small production Pinot Noir house based in San Francisco. The entire winery is less than 3000 cases and pretty much a one man show, with Andrew Vingiello handling almost everything. Since Sideways made Pinot popular several years ago, there have been way too many wineries pumping out jacked up Pinot for the executive going through his mid-life crisis. If your two favorite wines are Silver Oak and any big Pinot Noir, you may want to revisit Pinot and look for the subtle side of it. There is a reason some of these Cali Pinot resemble Syrah in color........(hint, hint). They are appealing to the guy who wants to order a Pinot but really wants a big wine. While a couple of the AP Vin wines are meaty, they have what Pinot is usually lacking in Cali, a sense of time and place.
Here are our notes and some favorites:
2009 Keefer Ranch- Every Pinot producer has to fight for Russian River Valley fruit. It is considered some of the best Pinot available in California. If done right, it walks the line between red & dark fruit, with the oak in the background. AP Vin hit it right on the button. Just enough oak to support the fruit but still letting the earthy side of Pinot show through.
2009 Gary's Vineyard- Probably the most recognizable vineyard AP Vin produces a wine from. The Santa Lucia Highlands are some of my favorite Pinots. Monterey is never going to be confused with Napa or Sonoma and that is fine with me. The wines tend to show more delicate fruit notes, with some cinnamon and other baking spices. They are also approachable early. While some Pinot are better with food, it would be hard to not finish this bottle if you opened it before dinner. It is almost too easy to drink.
2009 Ridgetop Vineyard- The Sonoma Coast is where some of the best Pinots are being made. Pushing the envelope of where Pinot will ripen is a little dangerous and can be a disaster if a vintage makes a wrong turn. This shows what happens when it all works out. Being only 3 miles from the ocean, this is a very cool vineyard, resulting in a much bigger wine. Unlike some Pinots, it doesn''t go over the top. It is a bigger Pinot, but is still a Pinot through and through with dark cherry and some mushroom notes as well. This one is built to last for a few years if you can leave it alone.
AP Vin wines are what California Pinots should strive to be. They should reflect a time and place, not a particular house "style." If AP Vin has a style, it is know when to get out of the way and let the vineyard show through.