Posts Tagged ‘pinot noir’

E is for Elk!

May 21, 2010

Somewhere along the way of my Alphabet Challenge, I lost my path and started speaking  in tongues, which made my order slightly questionable.  Well, I’m back, from outer space, and am restarting with the letter E.

E is for Elk Cove Pinot Noir, from the Willamette Valley appellation in Oregon.  Now, i am new to the world of Oregon Pinot Noir, and i find it very much hit or miss.  for the most part, I enjoy the subtle earthy spice that Oregon Pinot displays, but sometimes it can be over the top.  The Elk Cove Willamette Pinot Noir is a blend of several vineyard sites, and aims to show the best of their style off.

Elk Cove Vineyards was founded in 1974 by Pat and Joe Campbell, which marks it as one of Oregon’s oldest vineyards.  They specialize in Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir, and has several single  vineyard Pinot Noirs in addition to the Willamette Valley blend.  This blend was an interesting beast, because when I first tasted it there were overwhelming notes of earth, musty leaves, mushrooms, bark, smoke, and dark raspberry.  I wasn’t that impressed, but enjoyed the hidden pomegranate and nutmeg flavors.  I found it a bit too nutty for me however, until i put it down for 30 minutes to enjoy letter G (you’ll have to wait to see that one).  After opening up in the glass, the overwhelming bark had blown off to reveal rich cherry and raspberry flavors, with a touch of dark cocoa.  Considering the ~$20 price tag, this is a

very affordable example of Oregon Pinot Noir.  I definitely recommend that you BUY it, and would encourage you to decant it for maximum enjoyment.

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Arrested Development

May 6, 2010

After our adventure barrel tasting at Cartograph, we were lucky enough (ok fine, Alan knows people) to be treated to a very special private tasting at Arista Winery.  I’ve been to Arista before, and have always enjoyed their Pinot Noirs, but this was realy a treat a we were able to taste 7 older vintages of rare wines. Mark McWilliams met us outside with a plethora of older vintages and we were wowed by some of the Pinot Noirs from Arista.

Arista Winery was founded by the McWilliams family in 2002, with the intention of creating world class elegant Pinot Noirs from the Russian River valley.  Creating wines in the vineyard with sustainable practices and small lots, each wine is an expression on the local terroir.  OK yes, fluff and bother but true all the same.

We started with a Longbow vertical.  Longbow is known for it’s blend of the best barrels, and for creating a more powerful style.  As a general rule, it is unfined and unfiltered, and uses the racking process as a natural filter.  the Longbow series is minimally invasive, which allows the fruit to really show throguh.  Named for the midevel weapon that is very difficult to master, the Longbow series really shows the best of the bunch with Pinot Noirs that are difficult to master.

Megan is working very hard on her Pinot!

The 2004 Longbow Pinot Noir was dark and rich, with powerful black cherry and raspberry flavors.  2004 was a warmer year, and more new French Oak (60%)  was used to counterbalanced the strong fruit.  This is a blend of the Manoni and Taboni vineyards, and the vibrant cherries were followed by a chewy and rich flavor of stewed tomato, caramel, and balsamic strawberries.

the 2005 Longbow Pinot is slightly lighter than the 04, and showed more muddy earth flavors of allspice, nutmeg and black pepper.  I tasted forest floor and mushrooms, with bark and cedar followed by cola and hints of red fruit.

The 2006 was very aromatic and had strong rose petal aromas, with orange blossom notes.  It is primarily clone 113, and was very herbaceous with herbs de Provence, meaty earth, and less pronounced fruit.  there was a strong sense of smoke and sandlewood, which dark plums lingering.  It was quite smooth and velvety, but a bit too smoky for my taste.  Don’t get me wrong, I really liked all of the wines, but this was my least favorite of the batch.

2007 was too young, and the finish fell a bit short.  there was a lot of vanilla and cherry, but I also found tomatoes and soy sauce.  The wood was a bit too pronounced and needs more time to integrate.

I actually really loved all of the Longbow wines, and they are all very different.  My favorite was the 2004.

Mark McWilliams - Arista

Next we moved on to some barrel samples with the 2009 Two birds Swan Vineyard.  this was a HUGE wine, and I referred to it as my hunka hunka burning love.  The 2009 Two Birds Calera Selection was a completely different wine, with acidic zippy cherries and raspberries and bright red fruit.  It had a lot of spice and slightly muted earth.

After tasting both of these wines, we had some fun making our own blends, and I found that about 33% Swan and 66% Calera made for a beautiful wine with the dark red fruit, and zippiness of bright cherries.  I hope the final blend will be something like that1

Special thanks to Alan & Mark for yet another great day out at Arista!

On the birth of a winery

May 5, 2010

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year or so, you know that I’ve ingratiated myself  become friends with the Cellar Rat (@cellarrat), Alan Baker, and his partner Serene Lourie (@slourie), who have launched their new brand, Cartograph Wines.  Morphing out of Alan’s previous project, Cellar Rat Cellars, which was some damn fine Pinot Noir & Syrah, Cartograph is truly a labor of love – and it shows.  (You can read my previous review of Cellar Rat here)

This was my third time tasting the wines in barrel, and it is a joy to watch them grow and develop over the course of the past 9 months.  Much like a new baby, these wines change and grow, becoming something special as they integrate in to the finished product.

The first wine we tried was the Gewurztraminer.  I have a growing love affair with this dry & racy white wine, and this had flavors of lychee, grapefruit, tropical fruit, hay and subtle guava notes.  I also tasted Tuscan melon.  .  The wine is made from the first harvest of the planting, and is fermented in stainless steel.  It had just a hint of spiciness and was a great alternative to other whites for the warmer summer months.

Next, we tasted the 2009 Perli Vineyard Pinot, from Mendocino Ridge.  This AVA is known as the “islands in the sky” since it is the only AVA that is non-contiguous land.  Instead, the AVA dictates that the land must lie above 1200 feet, which is the vertical fog line.  This is one of my favorite Pinots, and I tasted creamy strawberries, cloves, nutmegs and rhubarb with a smattering of black cherry and Dr. Pepper.

From here, we moved on to some of the different clone and barrel selections, and we tasted through to help decide what the blend should be.  I lost track of what was what, but it was fascinating to taste the difference between barrels, particularly when we got to the point where barrels of of the same wine, made from wood from different forests, but made by the same cooper from the same area.  I do know that I did find that the 777 clone in 25% new oak was my favorite, with black cherry and spicy cloves finishing with rich black raspberry.

One of the things that I really appreciate about the Cartograph line is the label design.  you can see from the front label, that there are five points on Alan & Serena’s journey in to wine, From France, Minneapolis and Washington D.C. to San Francisco and Healdsburg.  The back label design shows you the wine making process, and allows you the consumer to take part in the experience. The five points in the wine making process mirror the five points on the front, as you go from budbreak through bottling.  Bottling incidentally for the 2009s starts any day now, so I can’t wait to restock my cellar with smoe brand spanknig new wine!

If you’re in Healdsburg, give them a shout.  You won’t be sorry!  If you like Pinot, and you like small handcrafted wines, run out and buy some today.  While you’re at it, grab some of the Gewertz.  You will be happy you did, and your tastebuds will thank you!

Soléna Soléna Soléna!

April 2, 2010

I first found out about Soléna Estate wines from my blogger friend Ryan Reichert, (@oenoblog)when he moved to Oregon to start his new career in the wine industry.  Through Ryan, I was introduced to Lynnette Shaw, the tasting room manager at Soléna.  When Lynnette was in San Francisco for the Chronicle Wine Competition Grand Tasting, we got to talking about all things social media and how Twitter, Facebook, and blogging can increase exposure to your brand and introduce your wines to new audiences.  I’ve talked a lot about changing perceptions and increasing your market share through exposure, and this was another opportunity for me to share my passion for new media.

Fortunately for me, Lynnette left me with samples of Soléna’s current releases to sample and share, and knowing that I was a pinotphile (thanks Ryan!) I was excited to explore a bit of Oregon.  Being a California girl, with some much world class wine available at the source an hour away from my house, I find myself occasionally getting stuck – although I am not complaining about my love of the Cellar Rat, Cartograph, Holdredge, and MacPhail, in the well trodden track between my house and Sonoma County.  I suppose stuck isnt’ exactly the right word, since i don’t really find myself that motivated to climb out of the so called ditch, but exploring other regions reignites my passion for wine, and allows me to refresh my palate with new wines.

Soléna’s Estate was started by Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus-Montalieu, and the name is derived from the French word Solene, and the Spanish Solana, for the sun & moon.  the first vintage was the 2003 Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, from Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton appellation.  Low yields in the source vineyards and various vineyard techniques including biodynamics produce high quality fruit and some amazing wines of distinction.


2007 Pinot Noir – Hyland VineyardSome funk on nose, which I expected from Oregon, with rose petals, lots of mushrooms, forest floor and wet river rock.  What I didn’t expect was that this was a BIG pinot, with dark ripe raspberry, blueberry, baking spice, and a touch of jalepeno.  While it did seem a touch hot to me, I did really enjoy this wine.  If you should find it, BUY it.  It is a great example of an unfined and unfiltered pinot from a different region.

2008 Grand Cuvee Pinot Noiris the entry level Pinot from Soléna, and can be found more readily in major markets.  Once again, I found lots of forest floor and mushroom, but this blend had more ripe cherry, red berry, and rhubarb flavors followed by cranberry and strawberry.  This has the softest body, and a plush finish.  The Cuvee is a blend made from a selection of grapes from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and the blending process allows the winemaker to select the best of each vineyard to create a masterpiece.  It’s a bit like a full symphony versus a single stanza, and while it was indicative of Oregon, I found it very much like a Russian River pinot in the cherry berry cola flavor profile.  This wine retails for $25, and is a MUST BUY for the high QPR.


The final Pinot Noir that I tasted from Soléna was teh 2006 Domaine Danielle Laurent. With a small production of 573 caes, this single vineyard designate from Yamhill-Carlton has black cherries and clove, which you immediately feel on the tip of your tongue.  This wine cries for food, and the dark earth and spice would be perfect for a pork roast or brown sugar glazed salmon.  At $45, it’s a splurge but worth it if you are exploring the Oregon pinot regions.

I enjoyed my meander through the Oregon wine country, and I suggest anyone who is a Pinot Prince or Princess to do the same.  I am guilty of being blinded by the amazing wines right in front of me in Russian River, carneros, and Anderson valley, and I forget that slightly farther to the north, there is a world class region waiting to be explored.  For this California palate, I was a bit wary of breaking the glass door between California and Oregon, since in the past I have been less than enthused with some examples, but I am happy to report that my taste buds have grown up and gone to Pinot heaven.

Special thanks to Lynnette Shaw and Soléna Estates for providing this samples and being a great dinner companiona s I rambled on about social media and the wine writing revolution!

A pinot that doesn’t fail!

June 3, 2009

I first found MacPhail Wines at a tasting held at San Francisco Wine Trading Company last year, at the recommendation of my friend.  Since i know he is a bigger wino than I am – NO!  It’s true Alex you are! – I couldn’t miss it, and I knew that I would be blown away.  BOY was I not wrong!  At the time, I was pinching the employment pennies and only walked out with one bottle of the Sonoma Coast which I am treasuring like a pot of gold.

Recently, my wino friends Jim, Shana, Vicki and Lil and I snuck in an impromptu visit with James and his dog, Zuni.  I am in love.  Pure, magical, pinot love.  One was better than the last, and the last was better than the first!

MacPhail Family Vineyards was founded in 2002, with a directive to create passionate Pinot Noir from the best Sonoma and Mendocino County sources.  To that end, here are my yumyumyummy notes from our visit!

2008 Rose of Pinot Noir was a deep rose hue, and smelled of rose petals, hibiscus and cranberry.  I tasted the cranberry and hibiscus as well, along with  red ziner, rich red fruit, and grapefruit.

2007 Sonoma Coast is a blend of two vineyards, the Pratt Vineyard and the Goodin Vineyards, both of which are located in Sebastapol.  These wines were vinified separately, and then hand picked for the single vineyard wines.  The remainder was blended in to this treat, which showed spicy clove, dusty cherry, black cherry, even a touch of blackberry, followed by Dr. Pepper,  and dark rich intense flavors.

2007 Anderson Valley Toulouse Vinyeard is a combination of a the Dijon clones 115, 667, 777, and 2A.  MacPhail is one of the premier examples of a Toulouse pinot, and one of the first.  This is a big pijnot for Anderson valley, and was full of bright strawberries, salty creamy berryies, lots of earthy bark and cinniomn.  It had a lighter body and color and was zippy.

2007 Sonoma Coast Goodin Vinyard had a rich, deeper color.  I loved the rich, spicy earth flavors.  Lots of Dr. Pepper and black cherry.  Dark delicious ruit.

2007 Anderson Valley Vagon Rouge was a very special wine indeed!   Only 8 barrels were made, and it had wild strawberry, rich intense fruit and bright red berries with a nice balance.

Strictly speaking, I loved ALL of these wines.  I left with 3 bottles to add to my 1 at home, and I will remember my visit for a long time.  I look forward to coming back and tasting again next year!

A pinot that doesn't fail!

June 3, 2009

I first found MacPhail Wines at a tasting held at San Francisco Wine Trading Company last year, at the recommendation of my friend.  Since i know he is a bigger wino than I am – NO!  It’s true Alex you are! – I couldn’t miss it, and I knew that I would be blown away.  BOY was I not wrong!  At the time, I was pinching the employment pennies and only walked out with one bottle of the Sonoma Coast which I am treasuring like a pot of gold.

Recently, my wino friends Jim, Shana, Vicki and Lil and I snuck in an impromptu visit with James and his dog, Zuni.  I am in love.  Pure, magical, pinot love.  One was better than the last, and the last was better than the first!

MacPhail Family Vineyards was founded in 2002, with a directive to create passionate Pinot Noir from the best Sonoma and Mendocino County sources.  To that end, here are my yumyumyummy notes from our visit!

2008 Rose of Pinot Noir was a deep rose hue, and smelled of rose petals, hibiscus and cranberry.  I tasted the cranberry and hibiscus as well, along with  red ziner, rich red fruit, and grapefruit.

2007 Sonoma Coast is a blend of two vineyards, the Pratt Vineyard and the Goodin Vineyards, both of which are located in Sebastapol.  These wines were vinified separately, and then hand picked for the single vineyard wines.  The remainder was blended in to this treat, which showed spicy clove, dusty cherry, black cherry, even a touch of blackberry, followed by Dr. Pepper,  and dark rich intense flavors.

2007 Anderson Valley Toulouse Vinyeard is a combination of a the Dijon clones 115, 667, 777, and 2A.  MacPhail is one of the premier examples of a Toulouse pinot, and one of the first.  This is a big pijnot for Anderson valley, and was full of bright strawberries, salty creamy berryies, lots of earthy bark and cinniomn.  It had a lighter body and color and was zippy.

2007 Sonoma Coast Goodin Vinyard had a rich, deeper color.  I loved the rich, spicy earth flavors.  Lots of Dr. Pepper and black cherry.  Dark delicious ruit.

2007 Anderson Valley Vagon Rouge was a very special wine indeed!   Only 8 barrels were made, and it had wild strawberry, rich intense fruit and bright red berries with a nice balance.

Strictly speaking, I loved ALL of these wines.  I left with 3 bottles to add to my 1 at home, and I will remember my visit for a long time.  I look forward to coming back and tasting again next year!

A pinot that doesn't fail!

June 3, 2009

I first found MacPhail Wines at a tasting held at San Francisco Wine Trading Company last year, at the recommendation of my friend.  Since i know he is a bigger wino than I am – NO!  It’s true Alex you are! – I couldn’t miss it, and I knew that I would be blown away.  BOY was I not wrong!  At the time, I was pinching the employment pennies and only walked out with one bottle of the Sonoma Coast which I am treasuring like a pot of gold.

Recently, my wino friends Jim, Shana, Vicki and Lil and I snuck in an impromptu visit with James and his dog, Zuni.  I am in love.  Pure, magical, pinot love.  One was better than the last, and the last was better than the first!

MacPhail Family Vineyards was founded in 2002, with a directive to create passionate Pinot Noir from the best Sonoma and Mendocino County sources.  To that end, here are my yumyumyummy notes from our visit!

2008 Rose of Pinot Noir was a deep rose hue, and smelled of rose petals, hibiscus and cranberry.  I tasted the cranberry and hibiscus as well, along with  red ziner, rich red fruit, and grapefruit.

2007 Sonoma Coast is a blend of two vineyards, the Pratt Vineyard and the Goodin Vineyards, both of which are located in Sebastapol.  These wines were vinified separately, and then hand picked for the single vineyard wines.  The remainder was blended in to this treat, which showed spicy clove, dusty cherry, black cherry, even a touch of blackberry, followed by Dr. Pepper,  and dark rich intense flavors.

2007 Anderson Valley Toulouse Vinyeard is a combination of a the Dijon clones 115, 667, 777, and 2A.  MacPhail is one of the premier examples of a Toulouse pinot, and one of the first.  This is a big pijnot for Anderson valley, and was full of bright strawberries, salty creamy berryies, lots of earthy bark and cinniomn.  It had a lighter body and color and was zippy.

2007 Sonoma Coast Goodin Vinyard had a rich, deeper color.  I loved the rich, spicy earth flavors.  Lots of Dr. Pepper and black cherry.  Dark delicious ruit.

2007 Anderson Valley Vagon Rouge was a very special wine indeed!   Only 8 barrels were made, and it had wild strawberry, rich intense fruit and bright red berries with a nice balance.

Strictly speaking, I loved ALL of these wines.  I left with 3 bottles to add to my 1 at home, and I will remember my visit for a long time.  I look forward to coming back and tasting again next year!

A Grape Stomp!

May 10, 2009

I first met Uzi Cohen, and his wife Kathryn, at at event at Crushpad about a year ago.  After spending some time talking about the wines we were drinking,DSC_6663 I came to learn that he actually made wine himself.  Lo and behold after much planning and anticipation, I finally got to do some barrel tasting of his amazing pinot noirs!

DSC_6760

After meandering my way through Berkeley, I finally found their tasting room, or rather their beautifully furnished basement.  We were warmly welcomed by our hosts, and we proceeded to taste through some of the best Pinot Noir I’ve had.  Sadly, two of the tasty delights were Uzi & Kathryn’s personal homemade wine, so they are not for sale, but if these are any indication of their talents, I see a brilliant future in wine!

The two commercially  produced wines under the Stomping Girl label are from two vastly different regions in California:  Santa Lucia Highlands, and Sonoma Coast.  This gives the taster an excellent opportunity to taste two different terroirs side by side.  Both of these pinots are single vineyard selections.  Both of these wines will be released early next year, so I have to be patient!

Lone Oak Pinot NoirThe 2008 Lone Oak Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir comes from the Lone Oak Vineyard, which is in the northern part of the larger SLH appellation.   The location of the vineyard provides a great foundation for Pinot Noir, where the soil is rocky and the fog is cool.  The Lone Oak fruit was hand sorted, something I myself have done – and the source of great amusement to my friends – and then cold soaked and punched down several times a day.  It was aged in a mixture of new and used FrenDSC_6676ch oak, which gives it the depth of character of oak aging without overwhelming the delicate fruit.  This wine showed flavors of bright cherry cider, spices, juicy strawberries and raspberries with nice earthy undertones of mushrooms and bark.

Split Rock Pinot NoirThe 2008 Split Rock Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir comes from the Gaps Crown vineyard, in the southern Sonoma Coast appelation. Again, this area has the cooling influences of ocean fog, but the Sonoma Coast appelation provides a different flavor structure.  The Split Rock section of the vineyard is planted between 300-800 feet, in rocky soils.  Another personal favorite from Gaps Crown is the Humanitas Gaps’ Crown Pinot, and i plan on doing a side by side when the Stomping Girl gets released!  I found this pinot earthly, with tons of sour cherry and Dr. Pepper flavors.

I hope you’ll get the chance to taste these great wines, and get to know these lovely people!  Enjoy!

Pictures by Maureen Sullivan

It’s the PINOT stupid!

April 13, 2009

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the 7th Annual Passion for Pinot Summit.  This was an opportunity for the Pinot Noir lover, Press & Trade to get together and have a Pinot Noir Taste-Off.

This is a unique event that really pulls the lid off of wine judging, and allows the average Josephine to become a wine judge for a day.  While the officially judges taste 32 wines each day for an eternity until the contenders were whittled down, the attendees at the Summit were given the top 44 wines to taste blind in The Final Showdown.  Additionally, the attendees at the Pinot Summit got to vote on our top 3 wines, in a Girls vs. Boys challenge, that shows us that there really is a difference in biological palates.

Below are my tasting notes from my favorites, plus the group winners by gender, and the over all judges winners for kicks.  I’ve also included some tasting notes, just cuz, well, they help! Here are my 90+ pointers.

Color

Points

Tasting Notes

Wine Name

Lilac 92 Rich spices, black raspberry. Dr Pepper, lavender. Herbs Fort Ross 2005 Estate Reserve
Black 92 Brick color. Cherry, chocolate, black cherry Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills
Red 92 Deep dark rich red. Bright red fruit, cherry cola. Brown sugar, raspberry jam. Black cherry. Baking spices. Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Rdige Vyd
Chartreuse 92 Pale, light, cola. Very light, dried oranges. Bargetto 2006
Dark Red 91 Pomegranate, red zinger tea, strawberry jam RN Estate 2007 Fiddlestix Vyd
Khaki 91 Cherry cola, slight barnyard that blew off. Pomegranate, bright cherries, bark, mushrooms Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vyd
Coral 90 Back cherry, dark earth. Roses & lavender. Herbaceous. Zesty. Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate
Blue/Green 90 Light juicy, cloves & spice, mince meat Adobe Road Winery 2006
Blue 90 Big spicy fruit. Dr Pepper. Vision Cellars 2007 Coster Vyds
Deep Purpple 90 Bronze red. Rhubarb pie, spicy smoke Londer Vyds 2006 Paraboll
Periwinkle 90 Very light. Nice balance, light spice. Cherry. Claiborne & Churchhill 2006 Twin Creeks
Pumpkin 90 Raspberry, cranberry, hibiscus, great with food. Brutocao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled
Purple 90 Big rich syrah like. Blackberry Jam. David Brucie Winery 2005 Reserve

Once the business was out of the way, the wines were unveiled, and we were invited to the Grand Tasting reception.  This was when we matched our favorite wines, previously only identified as colors, to their names.  This was also when we could see the medal winners from the official competition, as well as try some other offerings from the participating wineries.

Here’s how my top three compared to the rest of the attendees:

Summit Men

Panel Men

Summit Women

Panel Women

Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Red – Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Turquoise – Bohemian Vineyard 2007 Freestone Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River
Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley (Periwinkle) Coral– Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains TIED FOR SECOND: Orchid – Lucienne 2006 Lone Oak Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
AND
Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
TIED FOR SECOND:
Khaki – Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley AND
Black – Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Pumpkin– Brutacao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley

I love how I get to compare my pallate to the “official judges” pallates, and see the results. Looks like

Purple, Red, Coral, Khaki, Black & Periwinkle all ended up on both winners plates!

Thanks much to Affairs of the Vine for the invitation and the fun day!  I hope everyone goes out and buys Pinot.  There are great finds at every price point, and it’s a very versatile beast.

Happy Drinking!

(more…)

It's the PINOT stupid!

April 13, 2009

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the 7th Annual Passion for Pinot Summit.  This was an opportunity for the Pinot Noir lover, Press & Trade to get together and have a Pinot Noir Taste-Off.

This is a unique event that really pulls the lid off of wine judging, and allows the average Josephine to become a wine judge for a day.  While the officially judges taste 32 wines each day for an eternity until the contenders were whittled down, the attendees at the Summit were given the top 44 wines to taste blind in The Final Showdown.  Additionally, the attendees at the Pinot Summit got to vote on our top 3 wines, in a Girls vs. Boys challenge, that shows us that there really is a difference in biological palates.

Below are my tasting notes from my favorites, plus the group winners by gender, and the over all judges winners for kicks.  I’ve also included some tasting notes, just cuz, well, they help! Here are my 90+ pointers.

Color

Points

Tasting Notes

Wine Name

Lilac 92 Rich spices, black raspberry. Dr Pepper, lavender. Herbs Fort Ross 2005 Estate Reserve
Black 92 Brick color. Cherry, chocolate, black cherry Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills
Red 92 Deep dark rich red. Bright red fruit, cherry cola. Brown sugar, raspberry jam. Black cherry. Baking spices. Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Rdige Vyd
Chartreuse 92 Pale, light, cola. Very light, dried oranges. Bargetto 2006
Dark Red 91 Pomegranate, red zinger tea, strawberry jam RN Estate 2007 Fiddlestix Vyd
Khaki 91 Cherry cola, slight barnyard that blew off. Pomegranate, bright cherries, bark, mushrooms Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vyd
Coral 90 Back cherry, dark earth. Roses & lavender. Herbaceous. Zesty. Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate
Blue/Green 90 Light juicy, cloves & spice, mince meat Adobe Road Winery 2006
Blue 90 Big spicy fruit. Dr Pepper. Vision Cellars 2007 Coster Vyds
Deep Purpple 90 Bronze red. Rhubarb pie, spicy smoke Londer Vyds 2006 Paraboll
Periwinkle 90 Very light. Nice balance, light spice. Cherry. Claiborne & Churchhill 2006 Twin Creeks
Pumpkin 90 Raspberry, cranberry, hibiscus, great with food. Brutocao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled
Purple 90 Big rich syrah like. Blackberry Jam. David Brucie Winery 2005 Reserve

Once the business was out of the way, the wines were unveiled, and we were invited to the Grand Tasting reception.  This was when we matched our favorite wines, previously only identified as colors, to their names.  This was also when we could see the medal winners from the official competition, as well as try some other offerings from the participating wineries.

Here’s how my top three compared to the rest of the attendees:

Summit Men

Panel Men

Summit Women

Panel Women

Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Red – Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Turquoise – Bohemian Vineyard 2007 Freestone Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River
Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley (Periwinkle) Coral– Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains TIED FOR SECOND: Orchid – Lucienne 2006 Lone Oak Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
AND
Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
TIED FOR SECOND:
Khaki – Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley AND
Black – Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Pumpkin– Brutacao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley

I love how I get to compare my pallate to the “official judges” pallates, and see the results. Looks like

Purple, Red, Coral, Khaki, Black & Periwinkle all ended up on both winners plates!

Thanks much to Affairs of the Vine for the invitation and the fun day!  I hope everyone goes out and buys Pinot.  There are great finds at every price point, and it’s a very versatile beast.

Happy Drinking!

(more…)