Introducing Aly’s Pinot Noir
What’s in a name? Here at Wente Vineyards, the name speaks to a rich, nearly 140-year legacy of winemaking in the Livermore Valley (San Francisco Bay) and Arroyo Seco (Monterey) regions. More recently, the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family – namely Eric Wente, Niki Wente, and now Aly Wente – have used their first names to experiment with eponymous, small lot passion projects.
Eric’s Chardonnay was inspired by Eric Wente’s love of Chablis and became the first unoaked Chardonnay in the Wente portfolio, while Niki pursued a leaner style for her Niki’s Rosé that would also showcase the terroir she oversees as Director of Vineyard Operations. Now comes the inaugural release of Aly’s Pinot Noir, which is light in body with zippy acidity – perfect for all the various food pairings Aly is constantly creating as an avid home cook and frequent dinner party host.
Aly’s Pinot Noir is composed of 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown in California’s Central Coast in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County, where our storied vineyards are located. The various clonal blocks were fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks where they were gently pumped over twice daily to gently extract all of the wonderful aromatics and flavors, then aged for 16 months in 100% second use French oak barrels.
As VP of Marketing and Customer Experience at Wente Vineyards, Aly does a lot of entertaining and knows her way around the kitchen. Inspired by her love of seasonal summer pairings, Aly worked with our winemaker, Elizabeth Kester, to create a complex yet sippable Pinot Noir. The 2020 Aly’s Pinot Noir opens with strikingly ripe and fruity strawberry aromas that layer perfectly with aromas of rose water and candied red cherry, complemented by sweet oak spice.
As expected, it pairs beautifully with dishes that are perfect for warm summer nights, like grilled halibut, fresh shrimp pasta, veggie-topped pizza or grilled chicken, lamb or salmon.
We sat down with Aly to learn more about the wine, her style of cooking, and her favorite summer recipes to enjoy with Aly’s Pinot Noir.
Why did you want to make a Pinot Noir?
Aly Wente: Pinot Noir, alongside Chardonnay, is my favorite variety to enjoy. I love how Pinot Noir is easy drinking but robust with complex flavors that excite you sip after sip. I also love the versatility of foods that Pinot Noir pairs with.
What is special about this Pinot Noir in particular and how does it set itself apart from the rest of the Wente portfolio?
AW: This wine is truly unlike any other Pinot Noir in our portfolio of wines. I was able to work alongside the winemaking team through every step of the process to craft a style of Pinot Noir that’s light in body with zippy acidity and flavors of bright cherries, and aromas of toast and earth. I wanted to make something complex but versatile in flavor to complement food well.
On that note, what are some of your favorite recipes to pair with this wine?
AW: Goodness, I could pair so many dishes with this wine. Right now, I’ve been pairing it with just about anything we can throw on the barbeque, like chicken, salmon, or summer vegetables. I’ve always loved to cook, and for me, everything, whether it’s plans with family or traveling, is centered around food and what we’ll be sipping on with each meal.
How did you become a self-proclaimed foodie?
AW: When I graduated from college, I moved to San Francisco and was quickly exposed to the world of food and wine being surrounded by renowned chefs and restaurants. My then-boyfriend, now husband, and I made it a point to check out the latest’ hot spots’ and regularly try out new flavors and cuisines. Eating, cooking, and learning about wine became a natural hobby, and it’s still one of our favorite activities to this day.
If you could have a dinner party with anyone dead or alive, who would you invite?
AW: This is too hard. There are so many people I would love to have dinner with. Michelle Obama, Princess Diana, Beyoncé, Sara Blakely, Oprah, Kim Kardashian. Can you imagine the conversations at this table of women?!
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
AW: Nothing Fancy and Dining In by Alison Roman. They make the best gifts!
What are four staples always in your kitchen?
AW: Wine (this is a given), lemons, garlic, anchovies, fresh herbs (parsley & dill).
What do you listen to while cooking?
AW: We love listening to the “Jazz Vibes” playlist on Spotify while we are cooking. This playlist with a glass of wine and the gorgeous early evening light spilling into our kitchen is my happy place.
What is your go-to summer dinner dish?
AW: We love cooking any recipe by Alison Roman. Her dishes are relatively easy, packed with flavor and always impress a crowd. We absolutely love the “Sungold Pasta with Lemony Shellfish, Garlic and Pistachios” or the “Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Crushed Green Olives” from her cookbook, which both, coincidentally, pair extremely well with Aly’s Pinot Noir.
What are you most looking forward to year?
AW: I became a mom in March, so I’m looking forward to showing my son places I love, like Tahoe and seeing the world through his eyes. I’m also very excited for all the fun events at our tasting room and of course, spending all the beautiful evenings sipping on this new Pinot Noir with friends and family.
Shop Aly’s Pinot Noir
Buy 2 or more bottles of Aly’s Pinot Noir for complimentary shipping in California or Nevada only. Out-of-state residents take advantage of our $10 Flat Rate Shipping on 3+ Bottles (up to $50 savings)! This offer ends on August 31, 2022. First-time purchasers, create a profile and add your address to claim this offer.
2020 Aly's Pinot Noir
Our 2020 Aly's Pinot Noir opens with strikingly ripe and fruity strawberry aromas that layer perfectly with aromas of rose water and candied red cherry. The wonderful fruit purity is complimented by a touch of mild sweet oak spice with supporting tannins, crafting sophistication from front to back.$50
2021 Niki's Rosé
Our 2021 Niki's Pinot Noir Rosé opens with ripe strawberries and rose petals aroma. The strawberry notes carry through on the palate, with a round finishing and touch of acidity.$35
2021 Eric's Chardonnay
Our 2021 Eric's Chardonnay is certified sustainable and hand-harvested from small lot vineyard blocks, ensuring the highest quality. This club wine favorite has delicate notes of lemon verbena and a refreshingly crisp finish.$35