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A Peppery Pinot!

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Brian K Miller

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A Peppery Pinot!

by Brian K Miller » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:22 pm

Completely atypical for a Carneros Pinot (Cherry Cough Drop has been my experience :twisted: ), the 2015 Whitehall Lane Las Brisas Pinot Noir was quite intriguing! Definitely cherry Pinot fruit-plenty of Pinosity!, but with a distinct and interesting and, to me, quite appealing, strong pepper note on the wine! Very interesting and appealing! Balanced and earthy as well.
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kasey.dubler

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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by kasey.dubler » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:26 pm

My first guess was a small amount of Syrah added, but the web-site says it is 100% Pinot... It does mention some whole cluster and some oak aging, but curious myself...
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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Jenise » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:52 pm

I've had the odd peppery pinot and wondered the same thing about a syrah additive.

Btw, a very well known and regarded winemaker in the Santa Barbara region indicated by label that all his pinots, which had above average body and proved to be curiously long-lived, 100% as well. At least neither he nor his wines ever admitted to another grape being included--but every year he bought a ton or two of petite sirah. Might not be so rare a practice.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by kasey.dubler » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:20 pm

I've always been curious what the rules are. I know in California if it say Pinot Noir it only has to be 75%, Oregon 90%. So mixing in other grapes is perfectly legal, but does your technical data sheet need to be accurate? I've never once seen a sheet from a winery that states Syrah or Petite Sirah, but I'm sure I've tasted Pinot's with it blended in...
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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Jenise » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:43 pm

Dunno re the tech data sheet. At the time this story was relayed to me I probably didn't even know there were tech data sheets to ask that question. :) The topic of discussion was why some pinots have more longevity than others. IIRC in the real early days of Napa Valley, charbono was used to make above averagely sturdy pinot noirs as well.

I'm sure adding petite sirah or any grape in the small percentage needed wasn't against the law. It was just a bit coy of the winemaker to deny monkeying with it.
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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Victorwine » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:18 pm

Some might find the following link interesting

http://www.winemakernotesblog.com/2010/ ... lones.html

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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Jenise » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:45 pm

Victor, I think you're pointing out that clonal differences can bring structural integrity, too. I'm sure we all agree on that, doesn't mean the winemaker I referred to didn't add petite sirah to his pinots, especially in 1988 which is the vintage that sparked the conversation I relate having.

But toward that end, in 2017 friends opened three '05 Melville pinots from three different clones for us. I don't remember seeing the 9 mentioned in your article, but the 828 and 777 are certainly there. It was fascinating to experience the differences, which I cataloged in the notes below:

2005 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 828 Sta. Rita Hills
@ John and Annabelle's. Tasting of Melville clones 9, 777, and 828. Dark and opaque, heaviest and ripest of the three, most alcoholic too. BUT, it's a chameleon! Over the course of the night it lightened up: color, flavor, everything, and attractively so. Initially our least favorite, but bumped to second place behind the 777 by the end of the night.

2005 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 777 Sta. Rita Hills
@ John and Annabelle's, tasting of 05 Melville clones 9, 777, and 828. Out in front of the others with the best fruit and balance for current drinking and continued aging. Some secondary nuances, too.

2005 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 9 Sta. Rita Hills
@ John and Annabelle's. Tasting of three Melville Clones: 9, 777, and 828. Bright raspberry and bay leaves, decent tannins, lightest of the three. Still Little to no secondary nuances. Still alluring but it's best days are past.
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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Brian K Miller » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:51 pm

I wonder if it was a percentage of clone 777 that gave it the richness and peppery character?

The tasting room staffer seemed to think it was the whole cluster fermentation that added that peppery not?
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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Victorwine » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:56 am

Not only bring elements that contribute to the structure and integrity of the wine, but some clones might bring
elements that might seem "atypical" (but "desirable") for a wine. As stated in the article some clones grown in
certain areas under certain conditions, alone could produce wines "un-Pinot" like.

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Re: A Peppery Pinot!

by Paul Winalski » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:18 pm

kasey.dubler wrote:I've always been curious what the rules are. I know in California if it say Pinot Noir it only has to be 75%, Oregon 90%. So mixing in other grapes is perfectly legal, but does your technical data sheet need to be accurate?


The 75% and 90% laws mean that you can call the wine "Pinot Noir" on the label if it contains at least that amount of the variety.

I would assume that if your technical data sheet is inaccurate, either on the label or on a website or on any form of advertising, that constitutes consumer fraud.

So you can label the wine as California Pinot Noir if it has 76% pinot noir in the blend. You don't need to mention what else is in there. But if you also say it's 100% pinot noir, it had better be just that.

-Paul W.

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