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Newest Releases from Talisman

I am a big fan of Scott and Marta Rich’s Pinot Noirs and have told their story several times in the PinotFile. I recently reviewed three of their 2007 releases (Gunsalus Vineyard, Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, and Hawk Hill Vineyard). See the reviews at

There are several notable features of Talisman Pinot Noirs. First, the wines come from expressive and unique terroirs that are beautifully displayed in the wines. Second, the wines are not released until they are ready, often a year after other wineries released their newest vintage. The wines are given a minimum of one year in bottle before release. Third, the wines are very age worthy.

I recently sampled three new releases (April 1, 2011) from Talisman and they were in step with previous wines I have thoroughly enjoyed. All the wines are moderately big-boned and generously fruited, but they are nicely balanced and texturally pleasing. All are raised in a high percentage of new French oak, but the source of the fruit and the concentration demands it, and none of the wines have a distracting oaky presence. The wines were bottled in August 2009. Prices are sensible.

Talisman Pinot Noirs are sold through a mailing list. The small winery is in an industrial space in the town of Sonoma and is open for tasting by appointment only (707-258-5722).

2007 Talisman Adastra Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.55, 193 cases, $46. From a Certified Organic vineyard planted in 1994 that Rich has worked with for many years dating back to his days at Etude. Farmed by Chris Thorpe and his son-in-law Edwin Richards. All clones (Swan, Pommard, Dijon 113, 2A) co-fermented, 25% whole cluster, natural fermentation. Aged in 86% new French oak barrels from several prominent coopers and bottled after 20 months in barrel. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose opens slowly to reveal bright aromas of red and black berries, stone fruits, dried rose petals and subtle oak. Subdued and mysterious in the mouth, with a healthy core of black cherry and black plum flavors with a little red fruit mixed in. Still tight with healthy tannins, but has an appealing softness and a charming earthy appeal. Drink with hearty protein now, or cellar for an even better experience. Very good.

2007 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Dijon Clones Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 256 cases, $46. Dijon clones 115 and 777. 25% whole cluster, wild fermentation, post-fermentation maceration, aged 20 months in 69% new French oak barrels. This vineyard is located high above Bennett Valley at 1,200 feet on the northwestern side of Sonoma Mountain. · Deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing perfume offering many nuances including crushed dark red fruits, smoked meat, spice and subtle oak. Striking flavors of raspberries, black cherries, ripe strawberries and smoky oak. Smooth and seductive in the mouth, lingering with a refined aromatic finish. The more I tasted it, the more I liked it.

2007 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Pommard Clone Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.87, TA 0.51, 218 cases, $46. Most years, the Pommard and Dijon clone blocks are co-fermented or blended before barreling. In 2007, the Pommard (UCD 4) was picked much later than the Dijon clones and the wines made from the two clones were interesting enough to stand on their own. 25% whole cluster, wild fermentation, post-fermentation maceration, aged 20 months in 86% new French oak barrels. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued fruit aromas with a loamy bent. Brimming with boysenberry and cassis flavors becoming more charming over time in the glass. Deep and generous, with complimentary oak notes and well-endowed fine-grain tannins creating a pleasing textural experience. Very good.

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