Yesterday was my first time attending "Pinot Days", a New World pinot noir tasting, focusing on producers from the glorious west coast of the United States of America. I can be...hmmm...picky (to say it nicely), when it comes to New World pinot noir, liberally using adjectives like "hot," "thin," and "poor value." This tasting offered up the opportunity use some new adjectives. Many of the wines were from the acclaimed 2007 vintage. The single varietal element of "Pinot Days" let me focus on the terroir and style of winemaking for the day's showcase of producers. I was generously granted a trade ticket (thank you!) and took advantage of the extra time I had to take thorough notes. Hope to participate in this tasting for many more years!
With that intro...here goes :)
B E S T
S H O W
California, Mendocino, Oppelander Vineyard
Notes: fresh bing cherries, violets, roses, integrated acidity and alcohol, well balanced Richebourg-ish wine of great character and intensity
Comments: The "Phils" (father and son winemaking team) were awesome. Wish I could drink high quality pinot like this more often. I'm looking forward to visiting the estate and getting to know Phil and Phil Jr. better!
California, Santa Lucia Highlands, "Estate" label
Notes: red and dark fruits - tart, dried, and ripe, roses (again!), subtle tea, captivating balance of fruit, alcohol, acidity, and damn fine tannin
Comments: A graceful, yet bold, wine from start to finish. Dances its way across the palate, not missing a beat. Just lovely. Gary and Ed, pleasure to meet you. Gary, thank you for loving and studying Burgundy. Your wine reflects great attention to detail in your vineyard and appreciation of terroir.
California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley, "RRV V"
Notes: raspberries, red currants, tea, bramble, leaves, potpourri, great balance and palate-forgiving (relatively) low alcohol: 13.5%
(Pause for analogy: George's RRV V is the quiet girl at the party with no makeup. She's polite. She listens, smiles sweetly, and watches the guests' interactions. At the end of the night, you get the guts to talk to her and now you're the one who's speechless.)
Comments: I loved George wines after my first taste at Marche Bacchus when I was living in Vegas a few years ago. At the time, I didn't study or write about wine. I just disliked, liked, or loved what I tasted. I am still loving George's pinots and enjoyed putting a name (and label) with a face at the tasting! Thank you for making a pinot with elegant restraint. There is a delicate, intriguing fruit/earth and young/wise tension in your wines that is always a treat.
P I - N O T A B L E S
(yes, I am a dork)
Arcadian Winery, Jill's Cuvee (2006)
California, Santa Maria, Solomon Hills
Pfendler Vineyards, Sonoma Coast (2007)
Sonoma County, Petaluma Gap
Archery Summit, Red Hills Estate (2006)
Oregon, Dundee Hills
Belle Pente, Belle Pente Vineyard (2006)
Sojourn Cellars, Sonoma Coast label and Sangiacomo Vineyard (2008)
California, Sonoma County
P L E A S A N T
S U R P R I S E S
A white! (shhhh)
Zotovich Family Vineyards '07 Chardonnay - a delightfully pleasant (and quite well-made) break from pinot
An '08 barrel sample from Fess Parker's Ashley's Vineyard (pommard clone) - fresh and tasty :)
Alana Estate's pretty pinot from Martinborough, New Zealand
A Humphrey Bogart!
Cono Sur's "20 Barrels" '07 pinot noir from Casablanca Valley, Chile - poured by Steve from Wine Exchange (love the OC representation!)