The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5079

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:50 pm

Notes on a blind tasting of Californian Pinot Noir from the 2005 and 2006 vintages.

I should disclose that I am a fan of elegance and complexity in wine and that necessarily narrows my choices to some degree when it comes to new world wines. It was interesting to revisit California Pinots after many years of basically ignoring them from a buying point of view and sampling them only infrequently.

2005 Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – as it happens, one of the most appealing wines for me popped up first. It showed a lovely sweet pinot nose that featured cherry fruit rather than funk, and an acceptable level of oak, and excellent flavour intensity and length. I have seen reviews claiming this wine is dead or dying. I suggest those posters look to either their cellar conditions or those of their suppliers.

2005 Etude Pinot Noir – a more mature but equally sweet nose here, but on palate, simpler and sweeter and while pleasant, ultimately unsatisfying.

2005 Kendall Jackson Seco Highlands Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir – based on all previous experience with this producer, I was more than a bit surprised when this wine was revealed. It had an earthy nose with dark cherry, was medium bodied but not overly sweet and a nice crisp finish. Decent wine, needs drinking.

2006 Delicato Loredona Vd Pinot Noir (Monterey) – even more surprised to hear this producer, never one of my faves. Light strawberry nose middle of the road rather bland wine that didn’t merit extensive discussion.

2006 Ch. St. Jean Sonoma Pinot Noir – primary fruit nose with a herbal component, medium body, not much complexity, ending a bit short with some cola notes. Getting old and probably never that good.

2006 Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir – a nicely perfumed nose didn’t make up for a flatness in midpalate, nor the sweet simple finish that tailed off.

2006 Inman Russian River Meredith Vd. Pinot Noir – a new producer for me and not one I will likely revisit. Bland lightweight simple and watery wine.

2006 Davis Bynum Russian River Pinot Noir – slightly sweet fruit in the nose, sweet lush fruit in the mouth, decent, but with too much wood and a dry finish.

2006 Gary Farrell Russian River Pinot Noir – this one wasn’t showing much in the nose and it had simple, sweet, somewhat diffuse flavours in the mouth with an unexceptional finish.

2006 Fess Parker Bien Nacido Vd. Pinot Noir – a little grassy spice in the nose made this instantly more interesting than most of the others, and significant tannin immediately showed up in the mouth, along with good fruit levels. Finished long and sweet. Best wine of the night for me.

2006 Byron Nielson Vd. (Santa Maria) Pinot Noir – found this one a bit odd – ripe to almost over ripe nose, and it followed through with a ripe impression in the mouth. No remaining tannin, overly soft finish and over oaked. A miss for sure.
no avatar
User

Diane (Long Island)

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

731

Joined

Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:47 pm

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Diane (Long Island) » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:39 pm

Bill - I don't believe I've had any of these producers, but I've had some lovely 2006 Pinots from Rhys, Arcadian, and Scherrer. These wines have the finesse and interest that I require in order to enjoy wine, and I continue to buy from them. I wouldn't write off California Pinot based on your selection.
Diane
no avatar
User

Tom N.

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

768

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:17 pm

Location

Soo, Ont.

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Tom N. » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:40 pm

Hi Bill,

The only one of these producers I have had is the Fess Parker and that was by accident. I really liked the 1/2 bottle of Fess Parker pinot that I had at a restaurant in Michigan back in 2004. Nice pinot profile with a good finish and went well with my salmon dish. We do not usually get much California pinot in Ontario. What California pinot I buy I usually order directly from the winery.
Tom Noland
Good sense is not common.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26720

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Jenise » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:11 pm

What Diane said. I don't believe there is a single owner/operator, or artisinal, winery listed among the wines you tasted. Inman I'm not sure about, but everything else listed here is a 'brand' of a big conglomerates. Brown Forman now owns Sonoma Cutrer, Byron's a Kendall Jackson brand, St. Jean belongs to Aussie beer giant Fosters, Delicato is owned by a company that owns all lower tier wineries, and Gary Farrell was sold to Allied Domecq which was then bought by Pernod Ricard, just for instance. IOW: the elegance and complexity you seek is still out there, but these aren't the guys who are going to show it to you.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22447

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:18 pm

The big question is where will Bill be able to find wines from Rhys, Anthill Farms, Arcadian, Mount Eden, etc to repair his perceptions of California Pinot Noir.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5079

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:32 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:The big question is where will Bill be able to find wines from Rhys, Anthill Farms, Arcadian, Mount Eden, etc to repair his perceptions of California Pinot Noir.


It should be noted that I said I'd ignored them from a buying point of view, not that I hadn't tasted many good ones (a lot due to Jenise) from places like Arcadian, Dom. Serene, Claudia Springs, Hollywood Hill, Copain, Chalone, and Sean Thackrey in the last year, so I am aware of what is going on out there, they just don't make much sense to buy in ouir market given the prices compared to alternatives from France, mostly.
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22447

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:34 pm

Bill Spohn wrote: they just don't make much sense to buy in our market given the prices compared to alternatives from France, mostly.


Some of them (Rhys top wines especially - and they are going up again!) don't really make all that much sense in my market either!
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5079

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:53 pm

Perhaps Jenise will bring a Rhys PN to lunch...(hint, hint....) :mrgreen: Image

PS - not picking on US pinots - the prices on the better New Zealand juice (e.g. Felton Road) are just as bad!
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26720

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Jenise » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:58 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:The big question is where will Bill be able to find wines from Rhys, Anthill Farms, Arcadian, Mount Eden, etc to repair his perceptions of California Pinot Noir.


Actually, it was indirectly through Bill--a now mutual Canadian friend met through Bill, IOW--that I first tasted Arcadian wines (of which I now own some 30 bottles). And I bought my first stash in Vancouver! But as Bill indicates, prices are high there which heavily reduces the incentive to explore independently, especially when you already have a full cellar like Bill does.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5079

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:06 pm

Through assiduous and selfless application I have managed to reduce the cellar below 4,000 bottles, and feel that having done that I can rest easy. SWMBO demurs, however.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26720

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Jenise » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:13 pm

Bill, you need to quit complaining to SWMBO about whole cases of port you can't find. Also, is the wine out of the laundry room yet? ;)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5079

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:16 pm

No, the laundry room is the BC wine cellar. We have been working away at it though - weekday wines!
no avatar
User

Tom Troiano

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1328

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:22 pm

Location

Massachusetts

Re: WTN: 2005/6 California Pinots

by Tom Troiano » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:58 pm

FWIW I ignore most of thse wines also.
Tom T.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign