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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 6.42

Pinot Lovers Cruise Dan Kosta, co-owner of Kosta Browne Winery in Sebastopol, will participate in a Windstar Cruises Mediterranean Pinot Lovers Cruise, June 8-15, 2008. Noted chef Joachim Splichal will direct the winemaker-led dinners. Barrel tastings of Pinot Noir will be featured. 800-258- 7245,

Supermarket Pinots I recently tasted two inexpensive “supermarket” Pinot Noirs. 2005 Blackstone California Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., $11. A simple wine with wild strawberry and cherry flavors and noticeable oak throughout. Alcohol peaks out on the nose and the finish is harsh. Can’t recommend. 2005 Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., $18. Wood accented red fruit nose with a hint of funk. Light in body with simple cherry, cola and toasted oak flavors. Decent.

Pinot Noir Vineyard Prices Escalate According to Wines & Vines (October, 2007), the increased demand for Pinot Noir has caused Sonoma County vineyard prices to soar above $100,000 per acre (Napa prices, in comparison are $50,000 to $275,000 per acre). For the first time ever in 2006, Pinot Noir achieved a higher price than Cabernet in Sonoma.

Rusacks plant Pinot 26 miles across the sea Geoff and Alison Wrigley Rusack, owners of Rusack Winery in the hills above Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley, have planted 7 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel on Catalina Island, located 26 miles off the Southern California shoreline. The property was originally owned by Alison’s great-grandfather, William Wrigley (of chewing gum fame).

Harmonique Wins Gold at Mondial du Pinot Noir Mondial du Pinot Noir in Switzerland is a world-wide competition devoted solely to Pinot Noir. From its origins in 1998 with 400 mainly Swiss samples, it has grown into a prestigious competition of great renown and credibility. Of 1,050 wines from 18 countries that were submitted, 56 were awarded Gold Medals (Vinea D’Or). The top 4 medal winners (Grand Vinea d’Or) were: 1999 Domaine Philippe Bouzerau Chateau de Citeaux Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru “Les Duresses”; 2004 Las Condes Santiago, Vina Casa Marin, Chile; 2005 Fläsch, Weingut Thomas Marugg Fläscher Blauburgunder Barrique, Switzerland; 2005 Miege, Cave Les Deux Cretes SA, Gerald Clavien, Reserve Badrutt’s Palace Pinot Noir Tete de Cuvée, Switzerland. Harmonique ‘The Nobel One” and Harmonique “Delicace’,” both from the 2004 vintage in the Anderson Valley of California, won Gold Medals. For the full results, The Harmonique website is

New Releases of Favorites 2005 Bonaccorsi Wine Co Melville Vineyard, Fiddlestix Vineyard and Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noirs ( 2005 Dutton-Goldfield McDougall and Sanchietti Pinot Noirs ( 2005 Pey-Marin Vineyards “Tros Filles” Marin County Pinot Noir ( 2005 Davis Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (

Marcassin Finally Through the years I have had the enjoyable opportunity to taste at least one Pinot Noir from every major California producer except one: Marcassin. The Marcassin Pinot Noirs are highly rated and much sought after and only sold through a full mailing list. A friend, Bob Mosby, brought a bottle of 1998 Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to share at dinner a few weeks ago. It was a revelation. A superb wine with glorious color, stunning aromatics and perfectly harmonious Pinot flavors. An epiphany.

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