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Cooper Jaxon: A Reasonably Priced Pinot Noir Blend Worth Touting

It is often said that in Pinot Noir you only get what you pay for. With the Cooper Jaxon California Pinot Noir from Loring Wine Company, you get more than what you pay for.

This wine is crafted by veteran winemaker Brian Loring as an inexpensive offering for those seeking a reliably good Pinot Noir. The name refers to Brian’s offspring, Cooper Jaxon, the next generation of Loring. It is a blend of multiple vineyards that in 2017 included Ranchi La Viña (Sta. Rita Hills), Kessler-Haak (Sta. Rita Hills), Close Pepe (Sta. Rita Hills), John Sebastiano (Sta. Rita Hills), Aubaine (Arroyo Seco), Rosella’s (Santa Lucia Highlands) and Sierra Mar (Santa Lucia Highlands). The clones included “Pisoni,” 113, 115, 667, 777 and 23.

The front label reads “California,” but the back states “Santa Barbara County,” apparently because the majority of the fruit came from that AVA. Brian says that he does not limit this wine to any specific AVA, but rather looks for a winning blend.

The quality of a blended wine is often a reflection of the expertise of the winemaker. Brian has been making Pinot Noir since 1997 and under the Loring Wine Company since 1999, and was one of the first boutique California Pinot Noir producers. He has refined his style over the years. Initially, he was producing dark-hued Pinot Noir bursting with sappy, well-ripened fruit and infused with significant French oak toast. More recently, his wines have toned down for the better, with less ripeness, more acidity and better balance. He has used much less new oak (only about 15%). All wines are aged 10 months after which they are bottled under screwcap unfined and unfiltered.

The 2017 vintage of this wine (1,000 cases, $29 with some retail sources $24) was reviewed by me in February 2019: Fresh flavors of dark red and black cherry fruits with hints of red licorice, spice, oak and earth. Easygoing, with commendable balance and some finish. The Wine Enthusiast reviewer scored it 92 and the 2018 vintage 90.

2018 Cooper Jaxon Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, 800 cases, $29, screw cap. Pre-release. A multiple vineyard blend: Boekenoogen (Santa Lucia Highlands), Peterson (Santa Lucia Highlands), Cortada Alta (Santa Lucia Highlands), Spanish Springs (San Luis Obispo), Rancho La Viña (Sta. Rita Hills), Kessler-Haak (Sta. Rita Hills), Peake Ranch (Sta. Rita Hills) and Cargasacchi (Sta. Rita Hills). Clones 113, 115, 667, 777 and 23. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 15% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Instant pleasure in the glass with fresh aromas and flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and spice invigorated with uplifting acidity and moderated by gentle tannins. Everything is working in harmony in this immensely appealing offering that defies its modest price tag. This is the perfect everyday, go-to Pinot Noir. Score: 91

Sign up with the Loring Wine Company mailing list to obtain this wine when it is released. Visit The winery’s new tasting room is located at 201 Industrial Way, Suite B, in Buellton, and is open Thursday-Monday. Grab a bite after at Industrial Easts that shares the same parking lot. ߐ

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