Backhouse is produced by O'Neill Vintners, founded in 2004 by Jeff O'Neill. His winemaking roots go back to Prohibition. O'Neill has proven that big isn't bad, as they craft wine for many of the world's leading beverage alcohol companies and brand owners. Today, O'Neill Vintners has grown to become the 8th largest U.S. winery and has earned a reputation as one of the premier custom wine producers in California - or anyplace else.
Winemaker Mark Rasmussen began his career in 1977 and became head winemaker at Sebastiani in 1986. He earned an undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and a graduate degree in Food Science/Enology from Fresno State University. You might say that food and wine is in Mark's blood and you'd be right.
Mark is the reason we can get a quality Pinot Noir, at this price, from grapes grown in Clarksburg and Lodi. Pinot Noir is a cool-climate grape, and these areas are considered not cool enough. Mark, however, knew that the soil in these areas was perfect for Pinot, and used his skill as a grape grower to train the vines so that the sun would not sit directly on the grapes and overripen them. This is one of his first efforts, and it is nothing less than stellar.
Everything you could want in a great Pinot Noir is here except the price. Lilting candy and mint in the nose, sweet/tart cherry and spice on the palate and a perfect finish just screams for grilled salmon, rack of lamb or duck breast seared with a green peppercorn sauce.