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Small Sips

These are Pinot Noirs that I randomly tasted over the last several months

2005 Malm Cellars Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 118 cases, $19. Highly-touted and a Los Angeles Times Wine of the Week. A reserve release has been highly recommended in the press as well. · Classy bottle with wax capsule which is unusual for wine in this price range. The wine shows an impressive core of plums, blackberries, cassis, and spice. The aromatics are wanting, but this is not a wine made to contemplate, but to suck down with a good hamburger.

2005 B. Kosuge Wines The Shop Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $30. · The perfume of ripe cherries and vanilla with a hint of oak leads to a potpourri of plum and blackberry flavors. Nicely balanced. A calming drink that is easy to cozy up to.

2005 Paul Matthew Vineyards Ruxton Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $30. Winemaker Mat Gustafson. · Macerated ripe strawberries and cherries, exotic woods and oak are featured in the aromas and flavors. Silky texture and admirable balance. At this point in its development, the oak trumps the fruit.

2005 Kanzler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.9% alc. · Very deep ruby color. Bright plum and blackberries with herbal overtones are the theme. Silky in texture with a plush mouth feel and a tangy finish. A big tiger with a pussycat sensibility. A bigger style that I liked alot.

2004 Louis Guntrum Spätbergunder Trocken

13.0% alc. Imported by Broadbent Selections, Inc. San Francisco. · Medium-bodied with sour cherry and cranberry flavors. Unusual wood notes throughout (doubt French oak). Soft tannins and decent balance. A quaff.

2004 Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au-dessus Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $30. From the highest planting in the Bien Nacido Vineyard. · Intoxicating nose of fresh crushed cherries. Cherries and cranberry flavors are set off by herbal notes. The texture is soft. Nothing earthshaking, but perfectly fine.

2004 Au Bon Climat Le Bon Climat Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $35. From the Clendenen Le Bon Climat Vineyard. · Red fruits in the aromas are joined by significant oak. Cherry rhubarb flavors are underlain with earth and herbal touches. A decent Pinot Noir.

2003 Mueller Emily’s Cuvee Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $38. · A veritable cherries jubilee framed by heavy oak. For those with an oak fetish.

2003 Talisman Ted’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 259 cases, · Light in color, this wine still delivers the goods with dark fruits and mushrooms in the nose and lovely cherry fruits on the mid-palate. Earthiness, vanilla and spice add charm. Brisk acidity and residual oak tannins on the finish indicate a need for further cellaring. A Pinot with a light touch that one could spend time with.

2003 Miura Silacci Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir

$54. Vinified by Byron Kosuge (formerly Saintsbury, now B. Kosuge Wines, Mirua, and Kinston Family in Chile). · The nose opens with air time to appealing berry, spice and oak aromas. Flavors of dark Pinot fruits have a rustic and earthy edge. A soft, elegant style with gossamer tannins. The nose trumps the flavors at this stage.

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