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Here From the Very Start




Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:01 pm

WTN: Some Pinots...(long/boring)

by TomHill » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:15 pm

We tried last night (8/21/13) Some Pinots:
1. WindGap PinotGris WindsorOakVnyd/ChalkHill (#1270 of 162 cs; 12.5%) 2008: some copper/brown
murky color; strong grapey/flowery some cidery/phenolic/apple cider/aldehydic fairly complex nose; very
tart rather phenolic/cidery slight grapey/flowery flavor w/ fair tannins; long very tart/lean earthy
strongly phenolic/cidery/aldehydic bit grapey/flowery complex finish w/ fair tannins; a quite interesting
skin contact white w/ ample phenolic character and some attractive underlying aromatics. $36.00
2. WindGap PinotGris WindsorOaksVnyd/ChalkHill (12.8%; #272; 123 cs) 2009: Darker, bright burnished bronze/
gold/orange color w/ perfect clarity; much more fragrant/perfumed/floral strong cidery/phenolic/appley/
aldehydic slight earthy/dusty some orange/orange blossom/orange muscat bit smokey/tobaccoy rather
complex nose; tart/lean/austere rather phenolic/cidery/aldehydic somewhat floral/orange blossom/orangey
bit richer/extracted complex flavor w/ fair tannins; long astringent/lean/tannic/tart rather phenolic/
cidery/aldehydic rather rich/structured some floral/grapey/orangey/orange blossom slight tobaccoy/smokey/
forest fire/pungent complex finish w/ fair tannins; much more perfumed and phenolic than the '08. $32.00
3. WindGap PinotGris WindsorOakVnyd/ChalkHill (6 brls/138 cs; 12.6%; #197) 2010: Med.dark orange/burnished
bronze/gold rather cloudy color; some fragrant/grapey rather phenolic/cidery/aldehydic bit orange/orange
blossom/ripe fruit light earthy/smokey complex nose; softer/lusher rather phenolic/cidery/tannic bit
fragrant/orangey fairly complex flavor with light tannins; long bit metallic tannic/phenolic/aldehydic/
cider some earthy/dusty bit perfumed/orangey finish; my favorite of the WindGaps; seems a biit softer/
lushher/less austere thought still strongly phenolic. $32.00
4. WindGap PinotGris WindsorOaksVnyd/ChalkHill (#913; 12.8%; 4 brls/107 cs) 2011: Dark burnishhed bronze/
deep golden color w/ perfect clarity; much stronger floral/grapey/orangey/orange blossom quite fragrant
some phenolic/aldehydic/cidery complex nose; very tart/lean/austere some grapey/orangey/floral rather
phenolic/cidery w/ some astringent/bitey tannins; very long tart/lean/austere rather grapey/floral/
orangey/very ripe somewhat phenolic/aldehydic/cidery finish w/ ample tannins; seems to have lots of
ripe/overripe fruitbut pretty phenolic & tannic on the palate; a bit hurtey. $32.00
5. KenZinns PinotGris GracePatriotVnyd/ElDoradoCnty (SaH: 24.4 Brix; 10 days of skin contact; 13.46%;
pH: 3.6; TA: 0.59) KenZinns/DaveTeixeira/EnoWines/Berkeley 2011
: Rather orange/burnished bronze/golden
color w/ perfect clarity; some earthy/chalky/dusty light phenolic/cider/aldehydic quite perfumed/grapey/
appley quite lovely nose; soft rather strawberry/grapey/floral/perfumed/orangey light earthy/chalky/
ElDorado light phenolic/cidery/appley fairlly rich/lush flavor w/ modest tannins; very long rather soft/
rich/lush grapey/appley/orangey/strawberry slight phenolic/cidery finish w/ light tannins; much more
fruit (but not the complexity) and less of a phenolic load than the WindGaps; quite an attractive
rendition of PG & my favorite if them all. $nc (KZ)
6. Darting PinotMeunier Trocken Pfalz (Q; A.P.Nr. 5 160 346 015 11; 14.0%) 2009: Med.light color; rather
earthy/mushroomy/dusty bit metallic somewhat plummy/pungent/burnt/toasty/oak very ripe nose; soft rather
ripe/overripe plummy/strawberry some earthy/mushroomy bit charred/burnt/oak flavor w/ little tannins; long
very ripe/plummy/strawberry some earthy/mushroomy some burnt/charred/oak finish w/ little tannins; seems
on the overripe side and totally uninteresting. $19.50 (KK)
7. Pravis Dolomites PinotNoir IGT: Vigneti delle Dolomiti (12.5%; www.Pravis.It) Lasino 2009: Med.color; some
perfumed/cherry/black cherry/PN rather mineral/granatic/earthy/stony terroir-driven nose; tart/lean quite
earthy/stony/granatic bit herbal/pepper some perfumed/black cherry/PN flavor w/ some hard/bitey tannins;
long tart/tangy/grapefruity rather stony/mineral/granatic some black cherry/floral/PN/peppery finish w/
somewhat hard/bitey tannins; a wine w/ some PN fruit but mostly dominated by the Dolomites terroir; rather
interesting Pinot at a good price. $18.00 (DiVino)
8. Donkey&Goat PinotNoir BrokenLegVnyd/AndersonVlly (U; 12.8%) 2011: Med.light color; rather pretty cherry/
bright/PN/floral slight earthy/dusty some pencilly/oak attractive nose; rather tart/lean some earthy/dusty
bright/light/cherry/PN bit pencilly/oak flavor w/ light tannins; med.long rather earthy/dusty light cherry/PN/
slight pencilly/oak finish w/ light tannins; a pretty enough AndersonVlly Pinot but just that; bit pricey at
9. Harrington PinotNoir ThompsonVnyd/MendoCnty (40+ yr old/MartiniClone; 14.3%) 2010: Med.light color; some
earthy/tomatoey/Mendo quite attractive cherry/strawberry/black cherry/PN/spicy light pencilly/oak nose; tart
bit earthy/tomatoey/Mendo slight mushroom/truffle quite bright/cherry/strawberry/PN light pencilly/oak
flavor w/ light/delicate tannins; very long light/delicate/cherry/strawberry/PN/black cherry/spicy light
pencilly/oak slight Mendo/tomatoey finish w/ smooth/elegant tannins; speaks some of MendoCnty/tomatoey/
UkiahVlly red w/ a light/delicate/graceful PN fruit. $40.00
10. Harrington PinotNoir RRV (14.3%) 2011: Med.light color; deeper light earthy/dusty very strong black cherry/
PN/spicy/Windex/perfumed light pencilly/oak classic RRV Pinot lovely nose; tart light herbal/peppery/spicy
strong black cherry/PN/cola/quite spicy light pencilly/oak rather delicate/elegant/polished flavor w/
soft/light tannins; long spicy/black cherry/PN/cola slight herbal/peppery/earthy light pencilly/oak finish
w/ light/smooth tannins; a pretty classic RRV PN and emminently drinkable at a very good price. $30.00
11. Harrington PinotNoir WileyVnyd/AndersonVlly (13.5%) 2011: Med.light color; fairly bright/cherry/PN/zippy
bit tight/closed quite pretty slight walnutty/earthy/funky light pencilly/oak attractive nose; fairly tart
slight earthy/funky/,ushroomy some cherry/PN/bright/vibrant flavor w/ light tannins; med.long tart/tangy
light cherry/PN/earthy slight pencilly/oak finish w/ light tannins; quite a pretty/lithe PN w/ classic
AndersonVlly character but seems a bit tight & closed right now. $40.00
12. Harrington PintNoir StoriVnyd/RRV (14.2%) 2011: Med.dark color; very strong black cherry/PN/strawberry/
spicy light toasty/oak slight pungent/licorice some complex quite fragrant/perfumed nose; fairly tart
rather rich/lush very strong black cherry/PN/strawberry/cola very spicy/framboise light toasty/oak flavor
w/ modest tannins; very long/lingering black cherry/PN/very spicy slight peppery/licorice light pencilly/
oak somewhat complex finish w/ modest tannins; on the big/muscular side for a Harrington PN but not
over-the-top in any sense; a beautiful RRV Pinot in a classic Harrington style. $40.00
13. Cristom Syrah Estate/WillametteVlly (14.0%) 2003: Costigan mystery wine. Very dark color; strong
blackberry/Syrah-like/black cherry/boysenberry bit alcoholic/fumey sone toasty/oak slight cracked
black pepper; soft/ripe/lush black cherry/blackberry/Syrah-like some toasty/charred/oak bit alcoholic/
hot flavor w/ fair tannins; rather hard/tannic/extracted some black cherry/Syrah/blackberry slight
cracked black pepper some alcoholic/fumey some toasty/charred/oak finish; this wine used to be
intensely cracked black pepper/cold-climate Syrah in character but has lost most of that; I assumed
it fit the PinotNoir theme and labeled it as a SantaRitaHills PinotNoir...since they all have
some Syrah added to them. Wrongo/dongo. It was a Syrah.
And the same ole stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. SkinContactWhites/OrangeWines: All five of these PG's were made w/ extended skin contact, but in
a reductive manner (little/no air contact after completion of fermentation). I prefer to simply
label these as skin-contact whites (regardless of their orange/copper color), rather than "orange"
wines. I prefer to refer to "orange" wines as skin-contact whites, but made in an oxidative style;
like the Gravner/Radikon/Georgian/qvervi paradigm. Since there is no real/precise definition of
"orange" wines; this is the usage I prefer to adopt...and everybody else danged well better adopt
that usage as well, I say!!
These 5 PinotGris were a very interesting bunch to taste. They all showed a similiar character
that I can only call "phenolic" for want of a better/more precise word; but to varying degrees. But
this phenolic character was the dominate character in the noses, with a bunch of underlying nuances
from other things. Nothing that I would characterize as PinotGris varietal least as
I recognize it. They all showed a noticible tannic bite on the palate.
Of these 5 PG's, I liked KenZinns the best because it had a reduced level of phenolic character
and more underlying fruit and a bit more lushness. Of the WindGaps, it was probably the '10 I liked
the best because of less tannins and a bit more fruit/lushness on the palate.
These 5 PG's were a tough bunch to taste. Most of the people in the group did not care much for
them and were sorta left scratching their heads in puzzlement at what these wines meant. I think,
with food, they would be much more attractive wines to most of my tasters. I actually kinda liked the
wines and thought they were some of the better examples of skin-contact whites. "Interesting" was the
term that kept running thru my mind as we tasted them. "Gobs of hedonistic fruit"??? Nope...not these
wines. But definitely interesting. But, then, I'm a bit more opened minded when it comes to tasting
eccentric wines like these. As we've been admonished to do by certain Monktown
have "to think outside the box".
I made a point to serve all of these PG's at a cool/room temperature/red wine temperature to minimize
the tannic impact on the palate. When I put the leftover blend in the fridge overnight and tried it
the next day, it was fiercely tannic and unpalatable. Room temperature also seems to enhance the
phenolic/aldehydic character in the wines...for better or worse. Just don't serve these types of wines
at too cold a temperature.
Whither skin-contact whites?? Got no idea. One of the benefits of making whites w/ skin contact is
that the higher tannin levels allow you to make wines w/ lower SO2 additions....the HolyGrail for
"natural" winemakers. The higher tannin levels, in theory, should allow them to age longer. Didn't
necessarily see that in this WindGap collection. Maybe, some 10 yrs down the road, the virtue of
these skin-contact whites will become more obvious. I'm clueless. But, because these wines are rather
on the eccentric side, I think they will appeal only to a pretty small niche of wine drinkers who
are more adventurous, not to your everyday white wine drinker. They won't sell at TraderJoe's
I suspect. Or maybe only the the customers of very hip somms. But I find these types of wines fascinating
and am curious just how far these winemakers can push the boundaries until they make something w/
absolutely no redeeming features. Thus far they're not there.
2. KenZinns: An old....errrr...long-time friend dating back to our early days at ZAP. Lives over in the
EastBay area. Like bad pennies, we kept running into each other at various wine events in Calif. We
share a lot of wasted band width on of EricAnderson's Site. He makes a few of his own
wines at both Eno w/ Sasha and Harrington w/ Bryan. A big help on the recent NEB4 event as well. This
is the first KenZinns wine to receive a review by TomHill; a much more impressive imprimateur than's ever
come out of Monktown. Fame & fortune is certain to follow.....

3. BryanHarrington: Gotta yield to Ken on this one as he's followed Bryan's work from the very start. But
I was just right behind when I found out he was making Nebbiolo. Makes his wines in a rented space in
a grungy/industrial part of warehouse over from the GowanusCanal....or SanFrancisco's
version of that putrid waterway. An iron fabrication shop occupies the front half. Alas, Katie the
Riveter has long departed. But the wines coming out of this less-than chi/chi facility are pretty
Bryan's original passion was to make PinotNoir. And he makes some of the best around. But in a lighter/
delicate/more balanced style than many in Calif. Not the kind to garner big scores from Monktown attourneys.
But they're some of my favorites. Since then, Bryan's taken a few detours from the Pinot rat-race and
expanded (maybe gone off the deep end??) into other/lesser known varietials. Can we say Fiano/Teroldego/
Nebbiolo? I think maybe Bryan is on the fast track to out-Rorick MattRorick in searching out varieties
that are "forlorn hopes". The two of the must get together sometime to compare notes.

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