2007 Loring Wine Co Pinots
Brian Loring is all smiles these days, doting over his 2007 vintage Pinot Noirs. Every winemaker says that the
current vintage is better than the last, but Brian really means it with the 2007 wines. He is not alone, as the
2007 harvest in California was stellar all over the state. Yields were low giving the wines superb concentration
and perfect weather at harvest allowed phenolic ripeness to develop without excessive alcohols. 2007 was
more challenging in Oregon but adept winemakers crafted very good wines there too.
Brian is a self-admitted “pinot freak” who was at the vanguard of those who in the late 1990s who left other
occupations and pursued dreams of making Pinot Noir. Brain came from a software engineering background.
His early experiences with Pinot Noirs from Williams Selyem, Chalone, Calera and Sanford lit his fire, but it
was the friendship he developed with winemaker Norm Beko of Cottonwood Canyon Winery in the Santa Maria
Valley that committed him to the wine business. While participating in the 1997 crush, he made two barrels of
his own Pinot Noir and the Loring Wine Company was hatched. The name was a homage to Josh Jensen and
his Calera Wine Company.
His success has been predicated in part on his insistence of acquiring first-rate Pinot Noir grapes from
prestigious vineyards. He never professed to be a winegrower, so he allowed vineyard owners to farm his
blocks as they farmed the ones that were sourced by experienced winemakers. He began humbly, with 150
cases of Pinot Noir in 1999 and currently crafts about 5,000 cases. He has been quite generous to other
budding winemakers, eagerly sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge and inspiring a number of others to make
their own Pinot Noir, including Greg Piatigorski (Alcina Cellars), Jamie Kutch (Kutch Wines) and Andrew
Vingiello (A.P. Vin).
An investment group composed of admirers of Loring’s wines started Pali Wine Company and built a large
winemaking facility in Lompoc. Brian crafts the Pali Pinot Noirs in exchange for use of the winery where he
produces his own Loring Wine Company Pinot Noirs.
The Loring Wine Company style is representative of the New World or “Caliesque” Pinot Noir and Brian has
become a “poster boy” for this style of Pinot Noir. He has attracted considerable favorable wine press and has
enjoyed widespread popularity, although his wines draw divided opinions among pinotphiles. His wines have
been darkly hued, ripe, bursting with showy, sappy fruit, full-bodied in structure, possessing plentiful toasted
oak, significant alcohol and firm tannins. To his credit, he is still refining his style and the 2007 vintage wines,
although still fruit-driven, have better balance with noticeable but well-managed oak tannins, brighter acidity,
appealing aromatics, less jammy character, and less alcohol. They are more refreshing to drink as a result.
That said, if I have one criticism, it would be that the lineup of wines, excluding the Keefer Ranch, all taste very similar. All the wines are bottled under Stelvin screw cap.
2007 Loring Wine Company Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.2 % alc., 400 cases, $46. About a third of
the barrels containing this wine were bulked out, unusual for this vineyard.
Attention-grabbing scents of rich black cherry, spice and a touch of oak. A
broad-shouldered gulp of dark fruits with nicely balanced t ‘n a. Mild polished tannins and noticeable oak on
the slightly astringent finish. The aromatics are far ahead of the flavors at this stage and this wine demands a
couple of years in the cellar.
2007 Loring Wine Company Keefer Ranch Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 900 cases, $46.
really stands out from the pack. I would love to bottle the scents of Bing
cherries, strawberries, and baking spices. This wine has the reddest fruit
profile in the lineup, showing off crushed strawberries in particular. Modestly
weighted and easy to drink due to polished, dry tannins and an uplifting, tangy
and dry finish accented with grapefruit.
Loring Wine Company Pinot Noirs are sold primarily through a mailing list. Brian has always maintained
reasonable prices for his wines with only a 10% increase in seven years. The prices above include shipping.
Visit the website at www.loringwinecompany.com. Tasting is by appointment at the winery in Lompoc.
805-736-0053. For the 2007 vintage, there are seven other releases: Brousseau Vineyard Chalone AVA Pinot
Noir (14.0% alc., 300 cases, $46), Naylor Dry Hole Vineyard Chalone AVA Pinot Noir (13.7% alc., 75 cases,
$46), Aubaine Vineyard San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir, Clos Pepe Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Cargasacchi
Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Russell Family Paso Robles Pinot Noir and Rancho La Vina Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.
The theme of this year’s attractive labels is vineyard gates.