Wine Review: 2009 Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Wine Review: 2009 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

When I first tasted this 2009 Clos Pepe Pinot noir, I thought for sure the winemaker sprinkled fairy dust on the fermentors. Clos Pepe’s winemaker, Wes Hagen confirmed this was not the case.  I guess one could partially attribute this fine elixir to the cool vintage, which really seems to bring out the brightness of this wine. Fruit forward and lively, this wine is (according to Wes) persistently slutty in its infancy. I would agree with this statement and add the wine has a forest floor backbone that leads to its long, spicy finish.  I would imagine the wine would age quite nicely 3-6 years. 900 case production.

I had the honor of tasting this wine online with the great Wes Hagen, Winemaker for Clos Pepe. Wes is quite the character with a great sense of humor, as evident with a dialog I had with him on a recent twitter tasting:

ENO: @weshagen Have you ever considered using French elves or Italian sprites as harvest interns? #DirtDontLie #cheaplabor

WES: @enobytes I used an irishman and an aussie and they drank 2 handles of gin a week! #dirtdontlie

ENO: @weshagen …do you let the vintage speak for itself…even if it means it veers off the beaten path you prefer? #DirtDontLie

WES: @enobytes Yes, 2010 was slutty, I prefer librarians. but I had to respect its inherent sluttiness. #dirtdontlie #vintagedontlie

ENO: @weshagen If you didn’t make wine what would you do? #dirtdontlie

WES: @enobytes Pro disc golfer. I would still be teaching english, #dirtdontlie #whenthegoinggetsdrunkthedrunkgopro

ENO: @weshagen What are typical characteristics your wines pick up after 5-7 years of aging in bottle? #DirtDontLie

WES: @enobytes Blackberry, strawberry and raspb go to bright cherry, dried cherry and picks up leather, violet and earth. #dirtdontlie

Buy this wine directly from the winery to receive a $6.20 sharing discount

Rating:  Excellent (92) | $62 | 14.1% ABV

Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir


About the Author:

Editor and co-founder of, Pamela is a sommelier and former restaurant manager and wine buyer with Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), Court of Master Sommeliers & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, NPR and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.

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