Molnar Family Pinot Noir
Nicholas Molnar is a Hungarian refugee who escaped Communist rule in 1956. In the late 1960s, he
discovered Napa Valley and the wines reminded him of those from his homeland. He began buying
land and developing vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. In 1973, he planted Poseidon’s Vineyard
at the confluence of Carneros Creek and the Napa River at the northern edge of the San Francisco Bay.
This was one of the few vineyards in Carneros which at the time was largely composed of sheep
ranches. Cooling winds blow through the Petaluma Gap from the Pacific Ocean and bring fog throughout
the growing season to temper the heat. Over the next 30+ years, Molnar supplied grapes to notable
wineries such as Joseph Phelps, Heitz Cellars, Sterling, Pride Mountain, Acacia, and Mumm Napa
Valley. There is a rumor that local Carneros legend, Boonfly, is buried in Poseidon Vineyard.
The Molnar sons wanted their own label and so they partnered with Michael Terrien to make Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir from their own vineyards in the cool southern end of the Napa Valley. Michael
Blaise Terrien is a University of California Davis trained winemaker who crafted wine at Acacia for a
number of years and is now at Hanzell. He also makes wine for Kazmer & Blaise and Obsidian Ridge,
which like Molnar Family, is part of the Tricycle Wine Company group (www.tricyclewineco.com).
2005 Molnar Family Poseidon’s Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
13.9% alcohol, 1228 cases, $28. The label shows an 1860 Coastal
Survey of the distinctive bends of Carneros Creek which have been
used as landmarks. This Pinot Noir is unusual in that the cooperage
used was Budapesti Kadar Tokaj oak barrels from Hungary which is
also owned by the Molnar family. 34% new barrels were used and the
wine was aged for nearly a year. The aromatics are extremely subdued
with faint cherry and spice notes.
The flavors, however, are very delicious,
with cherry pie filling the most evident. Sleek and easy to drink, this lighter styled Pinot has appealing
style and grace. Hungarian oak is very tight grained and imparts little to no oak aromas or flavors.
It is said to offer a distinctive spice note to Pinot but I don’t have enough experience to detect that in
this wine. This Pinot Noir is a solid daily drinker that would pair well with simply grilled salmon or roast
Molnar Family wines are distributed to fine wine retail stores such as Roots Cellar in Healdsburg.
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