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More Sips of Pinot

2007 Reserve St. Martin Vin De Pays D’Or Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $10, screw cap. The flagship varietal brand of the Les Vignerons du Val d’Orbieu, one of the largest wine producers in the world. Sourced from high altitude vineyards in the Languedoc region of Southern France close to the Mediterranean. The grapes are not de-stemmed, fermented in temperature controlled cement vats lasting 12 days. Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, NY. · Very floral and perfumed with slight scents of black cherry and oak. Mildly tart berries particularly cranberries with Christmas spices. Soft and light with mild tannins and a prominent acid tang on the finish. A bright acidic wine quite distinctive in character from New World Pinot Noir. A good value and a suitable accompaniment to food.

2006 Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $17, screw cap. Produced by Vavasour Wines Ltd, Awatera Valley. This label first appeared in 1989. A blend of fruit from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. Long-standing winemaker is Glenn Thomas, who joined Vavsour in 1988. Made in an earlier drinking style than the wines bearing the Vavasour label. Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, NY. · The aromatics are really attractive featuring red cherries, herbs, oak and a hint of cinnamon. The flavors echo the aromas. Juicy, light on its feet, with polished tannins and perky acidity on the somewhat lengthy finish. A very good daily drinker and an exceptional value.

2006 Mayo Family Winery “The Barnstormer” Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 650 cases, $24. · Moderately light red-violet in color. Fresh picked strawberries explode from the glass with an echo of oak. Redder fruited, light in the mouth, with noticeable oak and veggies on the tight finish. The nose trumps the flavors. Gold Medal 2008 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

2006 Vavasour Marlborough Awatera Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $24, screw cap. The family have made wine from the Awatera Valley since 1989, longer than anyone else. Sourced from high quality vineyards in Awatere Valley. Clones 115, 777 and AM10/5. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels. Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, NY. · Moderately deep reddish-violet color. Rich scent of black cherries with a subtle hint of oak char. Juicy earth-dusted cherry flavors with a riff of oak, citric peel in the background and a touch of smoke on the satisfying finish. Well-balanced and quite satisfying.

2006 Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $30. A combination of fruit from estate and neighboring vineyards. Dijon, Pommard and Swan clones. Gold Medal San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2008. · Ripe flavors of dark cherries, blackberry jam and a little dark chocolate. There is a moderately lush entry attack of dark stone fruit, berries and root beer flavors with an accompanying velvety mouth feel, supple tannins and lively acidity on the dry finish. A reliable drinker from a consistent producer.

2006 L’Angevin Sonoma Stage Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., 400 cases, $58. This vineyard is farmed by the Hyde family. Calera and Swan clonal selections. Unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish-purple in color. Subdued but pleasant aromas of black cherries, fresh bread and subtle oak. Darkly fruited with a mild grip of tannins. A decent drink but lacks energy and complexity. This wine will undoubtedly benefit from more time in the bottle.

2006 Jim Ball Vineyards “Signature Label” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 690 cases, $60. From the 10-acre Middle Ridge Vineyard, located at 1,200 ft on a south facing Anderson Valley hillside just outside of Boonville. Clones 115, 667,777,828 and Pommard 5. Inaugural release. · Shy but sexy scent of red cherries and oak spice. Delicious cherry and strawberry fruit, nicely spiced with gossamer tannins and a tangy finish. Delicate and elegant with impeccable balance. A ballerina in full flight. This is an up and coming producer of great promise.

2005 French Rabbit Vin de Pays d’OC Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $10, boxed. Imported by Boisset America Sausalito, CA. · This wine will be disappointing to regular Pinot Noir drinkers. First off, it is strange to remove a plastic seal and pour the wine out of an aluminum clad box. Strong aromas of prunes and raisins carry over to the flavors. I suspect it tasted less oxidized when first released and fresh. The texture is silky and the medicinal finish is clean. It is definitely a wine but most definitely a poor imitation of Pinot Noir.

2005 Lucien Albrecht Amplus PInot Noir

13.0% alc., $55. Maison Albrecht is a family owned and managed winery founded in 1425 and now in its eighteenth generation. The estate has prestigious terroirs in Alsace. This cuvée was vinified by Jean Albrecht. Made from low-yielding vines. De-stemmed, cold soaked for 2 weeks, total maceration 5 weeks, aged up to 18 months in small Burgundy oak barrels. Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, NY. · This is an oak dominated wine yet has some appealing red raspberry and cherry flavors with refreshing acidity. Silky textured and relatively light in the mouth with a lively finish.

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