I’m working on a major post about pinot noir in California, in which I will write about 30 examples of 2007s and 2008s from various regions within the state. I hope that this will be on the blog within a week (or so). Meanwhile, I was in a nearby retail wine shop and saw a couple of cases of the MacRostie Pinot Noir 2006, Carneros, and I bought a bottle, because, frankly, I think that MacRostie’s chardonnay and pinot noir are some of the best around, always filled with character but restrained and elegant. Steve MacRostie had been the winemaker for Hacienda when he left in 1987 to start his own winery. MacRostie made the wines for his label, which include merlot and syrah, until 2004, when he passed that position to Kevin Holt.

The color of the MacRostie Pinot Noir 2006 is moderate but radiant ruby-cherry. Charming aromas of spiced and macerated red raspberries and black cherries waft from the glass; this fruit is ripe and fleshy but not in an obvious or heavily extracted sense. Impeccably balanced yet taut with acidity, the wine goes down like somnolent satin, leaving, in its wake, flavors of black and red cherries, a touch of red currant and traces of sandalwood and sassafras. A few moments in the glass deepen the effect, and nose and palate are equally beguiled by notes of moss and earthy truffles and, as the deepest bass tone, a hint of warm asphalt. The oak regimen was a sensible 10 months in French barrels, of which 30 percent were new. Tremendous pinot noir character, lovely poise and equilibrium, a trove of nuances. 14.2 percent alcohol. Production was 5,091 cases. Drink through 2012 or ’13, but careful storage is essential. Excellent. Suggested retail price is $30, which is what I paid, with Internet prices ranging from $25 to $32.