Soul Sister Pinot Noir 2011, California
What: If you like the California rock band Train, this is the wine for you. It’s also the wine for people who like easy-sipping Pinot Noir.
The wine is produced by the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co., which was started by members of the band Train and is named after one of their albums.
Celebrity tie-ins and clever marketing are fine, but what’s important is what’s in the glass. And Soul Sister delivers.
The wine is a pretty, light ruby red in the glass, with mild aromas of tomato, cherry and a bit of vanilla. The tastes are like a spring fruit salad, with strawberries and cherries dominating.
The grapes come from the cool climate Central Coast, where the grapes stay on the vines for an extended time, allowing for a balanced acid content.
Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow, so you don’t often see decent Pinot at this price. This is not a wine you want to cellar and let develop, but it is a very pleasant wine for a weeknight dinner or sipping on the porch.
Winery: The Save Me, San Francisco winery grew out of Train guitarist Jimmy Stafford’s love for wine. He likes to have a glass or two of red wine before every concert. He said he has had wine all over the world, but he still likes California wine best.
So he and the other members of the band decided to join winemaker James Foster to create their own winery. The Pinot Noir is the latest varietal to be added to their list.
“Wine and music tell stories and connect those who share it,” says Stafford. “Just as a song’s message strikes a chord with so many people, our wines will transport you back to that moment.
“My favorite thing about having our own wine brand, aside from the wine tasting and choosing the varietals, is working directly with our winemaker James Foster.”
A portion of the proceeds from wine sales are donated to Family House, a non-profit organization that serves as a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The wine company also sells chocolate bars made by Ghirardelli.
The name of the winery comes from the band’s 2009 album, “Save Me, San Francisco.” The name of the Pinot Noir is taken from that album’s first single, “Hey, Soul Sister.”
The winery is part of Underdog Wine and Spirits and The Wine Group. Underdog also is home to Cupcake, Fish Eye, flipflop, Big House and Octavin Home Wine Bar.
Save Me, San Francisco also produces Calling All Angels Chardonnay, Drops of Jupiter Red Wine (primarily Petite Sirah), California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon and Hella Fine Merlot.
Goes with: My wife Teri and I had this wine with pan fried breaded pork tenderloin, a favorite from my childhood. We served it with mashed potatoes and creamed corn. It was an excellent pairing.
The crisp juicy pork cutlets got even better with the lively fruit flavors of the wine. The wine had plenty of body, but it was light enough so it didn’t overpower the pork.
This also would be good with grilled chicken, pasta with tomato sauce, beef stir fy or salmon over wild rice.