Ken Brown Wines Envision Pinot Noir Review
The nose was full of cranberry and cherry, and some kind of earthy note. The wine was smoky and palate-coating, medium bodied with medium acidity. It was savory and meaty, and beautiful.
Wine review by: Jessyca Frederick |
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About this Wine
Wine: 2017 Envision Pinot Noir
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Region: Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California
Vineyard: 44% Rita’s Crown, 22% Radian, 22% Rio Vista, and 12% Sanford & Benedict
Retail price: $48
I consumed it: April 2023
My source: Ken Brown Tasting Room
The Back Label
From this winery: Ken Brown Wines
Wine color/style: Red wine
Grape variety or blend: Pinot noir
Envision Pinot Noir: What I think
I spend a lot of time (and money) on Pinot Noir from Santa Ynez Valley (SYV). It’s one of my favorites. I love the rich flavors, the variety of terroir around the valley, the different clones planted in wildly different vineyards – but most of all I love seeing how all of the different winemakers approach fruit from the same vineyards.
Since Ken Brown is one of the SYV OG, he had a hand in siting and planting MANY of the well known vineyards and often has leases at some of the most interesting Pinot-producing vineyards in the area.
As I was recently informed (reminded?), Ken Brown’s wines (which he no longer makes himself) are as "old school" as he is. That means they’re not organic (though some of the vineyards he gets fruit from are indeed organic) and their too "produced" (careful oak programs, use of sulfur, non-native yeasts, etc.). This is why the natural wine community gets blowback from long-time wine drinkers — his wines are excellent, every single one of ’em.
The 2017 Envision, a blend of some of SYV’s best vineyards, represented a classic style of Pinot Noir common to the area. The nose was full of cranberry and cherry, and some kind of earthy note, maybe brambly? (I’m not always great at picking out which earthy things I’m tasting, I’m pretty sure it’s a mental block.) The wine was smoky and palate-coating, medium bodied with medium acidity. It was savory and meaty, and beautiful.
If you have the chance, I highly recommend stopping in to the unassuming tasting room located on Hwy 246 in Buellton. You’ll probably catch Amber or John pouring all of the current releases, which include Chardonnay and Syrah. If you want to learn about local Pinot Noir, there’s no better place to start than those two.
Notice: I hold no formal wine credentials. I am a wine geek who has consumed 1000+ of bottles from 100+ different wine clubs and 1000s more bottles that didn’t come from those wine clubs. I do not accept payment for wine reviews, and I do not accept payments to influence my opinions. I happily accept free wine (and I buy wine).
Why read my wine reviews: Wine taste is subjective. What I like may not be what you like. I try to leave room for you to form your own opinions, so I don’t provide a score or a rating. I do point out wines that are an incredible value or truly not worth the money. I note flaws, wines that don’t have typicity (because this matters if you are buying wine without having tasted it yourself), when wines are out of balance, and when wines lack appropriate body.
I don’t like wasting money (or anything for that matter). I’m careful about where I spend my money and my mindset as a reviewer is to be careful about where you spend yours. I don’t believe a high price tag equals quality and I know for sure there are wines of very good quality that are also a great value.