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Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir Review

Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir Review

Belle Glos is a line of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs produced in California. The owner and winemaker, Joseph “Joey” Wagner, is a third-generation winemaker.

He is the son of Chuck Wagner, the man behind Napa Valley’s legendary Caymus winery.

The brand takes its name from Joey’s grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner. She co-founded Caymus, along with her husband Charlie Wagner, in 1972.

Situated in Rutherford, right in the heart of Napa, this winery was the beginning of a veritable dynasty of Californian winemakers.

Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir Review

While all of the Belle Glos bottlings are single-vineyard offerings from coastal regions in California, they all have their own distinct style.

Clark & Telephone has long been my personal favorite Pinot Noir from this line. The vineyard itself was established in 1972 and is the Southernmost vineyard from which the labels source their grapes.

The vintage I will be tasting today is the 2020 offering. Despite major scares involving wildfires and smoke damage that year, few crops were majorly affected.

I would wager that was the case with Clark & Telephone. There appears to be no smoke taint whatsoever. On top of that, this wine certainly is not in short supply, so fire damage is unlikely.

Belle Glos Clark & Telephone

Belle Glos Clark & Telephone

  • Brand: Belle Glos
  • Country: United States
  • Region: California (Santa Maria Valley)
  • Wine Type: Red Wine
  • Varietal: Pinot Noir
  • ABV: 14.8%
 
 

Appearance

This wine pours a bright, ruby color. It is absolutely stunning in the glass. A quick glance reveals the wine to be denser and heftier than your typical Pinot Noir.

Smell

This is a highly aromatic wine. Robust notes of strawberry jam, ripe cherries, and blueberries pour out of the glass immediately.

This is followed quickly by blackberry sauce, figs, and rich chocolate. Weaving together with hints of clove, cedar, and vanilla, the scent alone is almost intoxicating.

Taste

The flavor of the wine is as rich as the smell. The first thing you notice is a blueberry-pie-like flavor upfront.

After that, cranberries, maraschino cherries, and rich oaky notes coat the tongue. The wine is heavy but supple, without any noticeable acidity.

The wine has richness to it, unlike traditional Pinot Noir. It has a certain warmth to it thanks to the high abv, which makes the wine scream “fall-sipping” to me.

It also has more residual sugar to it than your average Pinot.

What does Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pair With?

Dishes that are rich and savory are definitely what I would reach for when popping this bottle. Filet mignon, pork tenderloin, and scotch eggs all come to mind for tasty options.

With a wine this rich and intense, you really want to go all out. You want to make sure you are matching power with power.

Your other approach would be to pick some things with some spice. Dishes featuring chorizo would be perfect. It will help the fruit from this bottle really pop!

On top of that, the residual sugar from the wine will help cut down on the perception of the spiciness of the dish while bringing out the flavors of the meat.

What are wines that are similar toBelle Glos Clark & Telephone?

The obvious answer here is to explore the rest of the Belle Glos lineup. The Las Alturas and Dairyman would be the two other well-known options.

That said, I also strongly recommend the Eulenloch, their only offering sourced from Napa Valley.

Aside from that, try the family’s other offerings. Elouan and Boen are two other great Pinot Noirs produced by Joey Wagner. The Mer Soleil line is also from the same family. They offer an excellent reserve label.

Final Thoughts

This is a good example of modern California wines. It is rich, heavy, supple, and a good crowd-pleaser.

That said, it is much more hedonistic than traditional Pinot Noir and may not be the first bottle I would recommend to fans of French Pinot or Oregon Pinot.