I remember thinking to myself, as I tasted the 2008 Avitus Pinot Noir, that this is just the sort of Pinot Noir TWH customers have come to expect to find at our store, but is nonetheless challenging to come by; a Pinot Noir with a Frenchy sensibility and an affordable price tag that belies its quality. Now I know that a $15 Pinot Noir is not completely unheard of, we have some tasty offerings from California that are long standing staples, but what I think the Avitus offers is a slightly softer fruit profile overall. Avitus’ American counterparts will always have a more bombastic fruit component to them. Though the 2008 Avitus Pinot Noir is not lacking for charming red cherry fruit, it does finish with earth and mushroom flavors. It is light-bodied, fresh, and sits clean and bright on the palate.
The story behind Avitus begins with Arnaud de la Chanonie who is by trade a wine wholesaler in France. His family has vineyards in Auvergne, which is considered part of the greater Loire region but is actually closer to the vineyards of Northern Rhone than to the Loire River. The vineyards are on steep hillsideswith soils of volcanic origin with basalt, clay and limestone. One of the producers Arnaud represents in France is Chateau St. Cosme in Gigondas. Arnaud is friends with the winemaker, Louis Burruol, whom he met at school. Arnaud enlisted this talented winemaker to make his Pinot Noir. Louis’ approach for the Avitus Pinot Noir is pretty straightforward: after a cold soak, the wine is fermented with natural yeasts and then racked to a stainless steel tank for 9 months before bottling– no pumped up wine trickery here to muck up all the perky fruit.

I just spent a couple days in Southern California pouring our wines for some wine industry events. It’s one thing to know that our imports are good, its another thing to witness wine professionals swoon over our selections. Pretty great, really. Anyway, there were only 125 cases of the 2008 Avitus Pinot Noir imported to the US, and though this is not a huge amount of wine, we hope to have it stocked through the new year.

Anya Balistreri 

And now a word from Emily:

Howdy everyone! If you’ve stopped by the shop recently you may have noticed a tall cardboard box near the door that looks exactly like the one in the picture. Well, it’s not just for decoration… We are officially a Public Collection Partner for ReCORK, a natural wine cork recycling program. How cool is that?! All you have to do is save your (real) corks, bring them to TWH, and we’ll do the rest. Cheers, Emily