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Lizbeth S

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What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Lizbeth S » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:01 pm

I may be bringing up an old debate with this question, but what is happening to Pinot Noir? In the past month, I have had 3 different Pinots that were all heavily oaked, hot, and tannic. A friend even guessed one was a Shiraz! I don't remember the names, but 2 were from CA and one was from Argentina I believe. If this is the new style of Pinot, I want out!!
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Redwinger

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Redwinger » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:10 pm

You're not alone. I've never had Pinot from Argentina, but your impressions regarding Cali-Pinot are very close to mine. I find many of them to be ripe/alcoholic/fruit Bombs and usually have a tough time deciding if it is Pinot or Syrah (if tasted blind mostly I would guess are the latter). There are a handful of Caifornia Pinots that I like, Au Bon Climat and Arcadian come immediately to mind, but for the most part my Pinot purchases are coming from Oregon and Burgundy.

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OW Holmes

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by OW Holmes » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:12 pm

I just read an article - where the heck was it? - that said Pinot and Syrah were related grapes. But I doubt that explains it. Yes, many on this board have lamented the heavily extracted heavily oaked pinots from California that look and taste more like Australian Shiraz than Pinot Noir from that expensive place in France. And of course, many (maybe even most) like it that way. To each his own.
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J Nolan

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by J Nolan » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:17 pm

One to try maybe is the Pinot Noir from Conte D'attimis or franz haas with out breaking the bank
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Shaji

Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Shaji » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:20 pm

"Bigger is better" seems to be the creed some winemakers are adopting. whatever happened to subtle elegance indeed. I like Pinot Noir from Taft Street. Their "PEKA" is indeed a bold (and pricey I may add) wine. While I like it, I also feel that their Sonoma coast Pinot Noir is a good value. Anyone here tried these wines ?
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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by James Roscoe » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:28 pm

Try pinots from Oregon. they generally taste like pinots, not anything else. They also have a sense of place.

While I'm at it, let me welcome Shaji, and Lizbeth to the forum. Pull up a virtual stool and stay a while.
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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Shaji » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:47 pm

Thanks James. Interestingly, I was never one who went for the Pinot until few years ago (No, no, no....before Sideways). Somehow, we (my better half and I) associated a lighter bodied wone with less intensity. It was much later that we realized our folly. I haven't had Oregon Pinot Noirs yet. It is available around here, but I have never got around to it. I will eventually. I did however, buy a "Kirkland Oregon Pinot Noir" from Costco recently which is currently residing in my cellar.
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OW Holmes

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by OW Holmes » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:57 pm

Here's a part of the blurb I referenced above. The abstract of the article appears at http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/vaop/ ... 0842a.html :

"For the first time in grapevine genetics we were able to detect FS without knowing one of the parents and identify unexpected second-degree relatives. We reconstructed the most likely pedigree that revealed a third-degree relationship between the worldwide-cultivated 'Pinot' from Burgundy and 'Syrah' from the Rhone Valley. Our finding was totally unsuspected by classical ampelography and it challenges the commonly assumed independent origins of these grape cultivars."
-OW
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JC (NC)

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by JC (NC) » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:24 pm

Lizbeth--try some Pinots from the Russian River Valley--Gary Farrell, Susie Selby, etc. They do not have as warm a climate as the ones from Santa Lucia Highlands and perhaps Santa Barbara, etc. I also like some of the Carneros Pinots which are from near the Napa-Sonoma border as I recall.
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Terri T

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Terri T » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:05 am

I agree that PN's from the Russian River Valley are nice. Along with Oregon I have had some wonderful PN's from the Vancouver area, expecially the Okanagan Valley.
Some of my favorites are: La Crema 2001 from Sonoma which I think drinks like a typical PN, Jackson Triggs which is a large producer out of Okanagan has a nice PN in their Black Label Line. Also from BC are Tinhorn Creek, Stags Hollow, and Gray Monk. The Gray Monk was an interesting PN, I can't remeber the vinatge. It was so light in color and soft that I almost thought it wasn't good. But it opened up so beautifully after a bit and had everything a PN has, but in a velvety sublte way. Really enjoyable.
I have really like all BC wines I have tried and only wish I could get them here in Texas. Here is a link to some.
http://www.winesnw.com/okanagan.html
But as we have discussed in the Miles/Sideways thread, Pinot's seem to be fashionable and so a lot of wineries are producing them. It is such a finicky grape, there is just no way that it can be mass produced well...at least that is my hope/opinion. Cheers!
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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Terri T » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:12 am

Oh, you know I forgot to mention one California Wine producer that I think is producting a good Pinot Noir. That is Mac MacDonald of Vision Cellars. I had a chance to meet him at a wine tasting and found him to be the most unikely wine maker. However he has a gift and the two PN's that I tried were very nice. They were a bit out of my confort zone in retail price, but I enjoyed a glass or two there.
Has anyone heard of him? I would like to hear others opinions. Here is a link to his site which lists the wines I tasted. Cheers
http://www.visioncellars.com/wine.html
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:32 am

Wow, great to see a Texan promoting BC wines! Sorry I know nothing about the wines coming out of your area. LOL. Have you come across Blue Mtn or La Frenz?
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JC (NC)

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by JC (NC) » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:52 am

Terri T,
I've met the Vision winemaker/owner at an event in Raleigh. I tried the Vision Cellars 2000 and 2002 Sonoma Pinot Noirs and the 2002 Monterey Pinot Noir (sampled in 2004). I especially liked the 2000 Sonoma P.N. which had such a great fragrance. The Monterey wine seemed a little heavier in body and style.
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Terri T

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Terri T » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:04 am

Hey guys! I have not heard of or tried either of those wines Bob. Where are they from?
I was so surprised by the BC wines, I really didn't know that they existed until I spent some time on Vancouver Island. We ended up bringing home as much as legally possible. Then a year later at a cruise stop in Victoria we shunned all touristic endeavors and trecked down to a wine store and stocked up again!
I think I will start a topic on Texas wines, as they are a very interesting bunch and a new "hot" area. Hummm....?
JC, I wish I remembered which Vision wines I tried. I know that the one I liked the most retailed for like 68$, which is just beyond my comfort zone for wine ( I have a true peasants pallette). One was very heavy but I think it was not a PN. Cool that you met him, he is very interesting. I enjoyed talking to him. T
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David Creighton

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by David Creighton » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:50 am

Have you seen the article in the latest issue of Decanter on Texas wines? you'd better take a valium! hook 'em horns!
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Terri T

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Terri T » Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:30 pm

No, what does it say?
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David Creighton

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by David Creighton » Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:09 pm

well, it starts out with a quote from a grower who says he decided where to plant the vineyard based on where they could still get their favorite classical music station on the radio. apart from a couple of decent tasting notes, its kind of downhill from there. maybe it would be on their website. i enjoy the magazine even though a lot of things are unavaiable in the states. good to get another point of view on things.
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Dave Erickson

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Dave Erickson » Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:27 pm

What has happened to pinot noir is Robert Parker. He likes his wines dark in color and big in flavor, and more than a few producers are ready to give the Big Guy what he wants. At some level, who can blame them? They're in the wine game to make money, not to win the admiration of cranky purists like me.

As far as the syrah/shiraz bit goes, there is a long and honorable tradition of giving Burgundies a shot of color and richness through adulteration with a little something from the South. :mrgreen:
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Diane (Long Island)

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Diane (Long Island) » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:22 pm

I used to enjoy some of these big California Pinots, but I seem to have lost my taste for them. Now, I am noticing the alcohol more than ever. I've experienced an alchohol burn upon sniffing, and I give up without noticing the fruit. I don't want to generalize because I have hope that there are some that will still provide pleasure, but a recent ROAR and A.P. Vin were disappointing.
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Tom N.

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Tom N. » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:22 am

Lizbeth wrote:I may be bringing up an old debate with this question, but what is happening to Pinot Noir? If this is the new style of Pinot, I want out!!


As a pinot lover, I have been drinking many pinots lately including some from CA that qualify for the new style, as you call it. My CA pinots are Loring pinots that tend to be high alcohol, fruity, nice acidity, ample oak recently, great finish, and good balance. In general, I like this style and find it a good food wine and a nice sipper. The Loring pinots I have had all exhibited good pinot typicity, with no syrah type tastes to my palate. However, not all concentrated pinots are made the same and I have had some concentrated pinots (not Loring) that had too much alcohol heat and were too oaky. So, even I have my limits.

I also like the burgundy style pinots and have been drinking a number of pinots from New Zealand lately that are made in this style with lower alcohol, less extraction of color, but still nice light to medium bodied wines that are great with food.

I find that matching the burgundy style pinots with food is generally easier. The big CA pinots require more care in food choice to get a really good match. For this reason, and substantial price differences, I tend to drink more burgundy and lighter new world style pinots than big CA pinots.

So, I guess I am the switch hitter of pinots. I don't find this contradictory, just my personal tastes.
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Diane (Long Island)

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Diane (Long Island) » Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:39 pm

Tom - I agree with you on the Lorings. I still enjoy them, but Brian Loring recommended ROAR a few years back and he mentored Andrew Vigniello of A.P. Vin, so I don't know what went wrong there. While Lorings may also be high in alcohol, they seem better balanced.
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Bernard Roth

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Bernard Roth » Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:54 pm

Nothing has haappened to it based on 3 samples.

PN has always been a difficult variety that requires careful selection by the consumer. Seems like you must have forgotten that rule.
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michael dietrich

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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by michael dietrich » Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:17 am

I am a retailer here in Oregon. I just spent 2 weeks in New Zealand in the very south of the north island and the north of the south island. The main red was Pinot Noir. In general they were very well balanced and had excellent aromatics. I still thought that Martinborough had the best. Oregon continues to improve every vintage. My focus is trying to find really good Pinot in the under $20 category from anywhere. That is the real challenge. When I visited New Zealand it showed once again that there is no such thing as good cheap Pinot Noir. People keep bringing me $10-12 Pinot to taste and maybe 1 out of 8 actually tastes like Pinot.
While I was in NZ I found quite a few under $20 Pinots that were quite good. I really enjoyed Mount Riley, Konrad, Matua, Villa Maria, and St. Clair. Here in Oregon, they all sell for under $20 US. I agree that it is hard to find good Pinot at this price but you just have to search and taste.
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Re: What is happening to Pinot Noir??

by Tom N. » Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:43 am

Michael,

I have had 3 different NZ pinots recently, all good and all in the affordable (for Pinots) range. Kim Crawford's Pinot was the cheapest of the bunch at about $18 US$. Delta pinot, my favorite was about $23 US. The third pinot was about $22 US. All had good balance, solid fruity (mostly cherry) taste, nice hint of earthiness, silky tannins and were great with food. Still, they could have had better finishes.
Tom Noland
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