Top Wine of 2006… … … … ...Not
In the most recent issue of the Wine Enthusiast, the editors selected the top 100 wines of 2006. This has
been quite fashionable since the Wine Spectator started the trend a few years ago. The Wine Enthusiast
selected the best 100 wines from nearly 10,000 total wines tasted. Besides taste, the editors looked
at price, availability, newsworthiness (??), and excitement (???). Imagine my surprise, when I opened
the article to find the Number One Wine of 2006 was the 2004 De Loach 30th Anniversary Cuvée
Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
DeLoach emerged from bankruptcy a couple of years ago and has been resurrected by the large wine
conglomerate, Boisset America Talented winemaker, Greg LaFollette, is now in charge and is steering
the venerable label in the right direction. The tasting room has been renovated under the direction of
noted architect Howard Backen to create a welcoming country farmhouse feeling.
2004 De Loach 30th Anniversary Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 350 cases, $45 (sold out). This commemorative bottling comes from
the original De Loach estate Pinot Noir vineyard adjacent to the winery planted
in 1977. The vines were removed after the 2004 harvest and replaced with new
plantings farmed biodynamically. The wine was made with 100% whole cluster
fermentation in open top wood fermenters. Aging was in French oak for 10
I drank this wine twice this past year several months apart with consistent
notes. It is a medium-bodied Pinot Noir which really needs significant air time to
reveal its charms. Initially the nose is closed. Flavors of herbs, oak, plum and
cranberry lead to a finish which is stemmy, herbal and moderately astringent with a hint of heat. The texture
is smooth and satisfying. I left an opened bottle overnight and re tasted the next day. The nose had
cleaned up significantly with appealing toast and cherries. The overall impression was more mellowness
and the back end astringency had resolved. The finish now featured some lingering spice and a hint of
oak. This wine will benefit from a couple years in the cellar. A decent Pinot with potential, but just not my
cup of tea (pinot). When you consider taste, price and availability, I just don’t see how this wine could
be the Top Wine out of 10,000, let alone the top Pinot Noir.
I recently had the 2005 De Loach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir which
was served by the glass at a restaurant. This wine was thoroughly enjoyable
as a luncheon companion and highly recommended for $20. De Loach also
offers an OFS Pinot Noir (‘our finest selection’, $35)), and single vineyard Pinot
Noirs from Green Valley and Moborishi Vineyard ($42-45).
De Loach Vineyards tasting room is open daily from 10:00 to 4:30. Wines are paired with gourmet
breads, artisan cheeses and chocolate. There is a small charge for tasting. The winery is offering
weekend-long Yoga retreats in 2007 at the winery’s private guest house directed by noted Bay Area
yoga instructor, Rosemary Garrison. Vegetarian meals will be featured using produce from the winery’s
18,000 square-foot organic garden and will be prepared by winery chef Cyndicy Coudray. Cost
is $1000 pp. The winery’s phone number is 707-526-9111. The wines are sold on the website at
www.deloachvineyards.com. The address is 1791 Olivet Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.