More Sips of California Pinot
2008 Adrian Fog X Decade Anniversary Bottling Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $75. Four of the best barrels in the
cellar, two from Oppenlander Vineyard and two from a Sonoma Coast Vineyard. Native fermentation, free run
juice only, unfined and unfiltered. Aged 11 months in new and seasoned oak.
The unpleasant nose is lacking
in fruit with aromas of brier, oak char, oiled wood and ash in the forefront. Decent core of deep red berries,
currants and plum with a citrus underpinning ending with a piercingly tart grapefruit peel finish. Definitely not
worth the tab. Decent (-).
2007 Belle Glos Taylor Lane Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $40.
Dark purple color. Well-spiced black cherry and berry
scent reminiscent of jam on toast. Rich middle palate of sweet cherries,
berries and plums which is plush, even syrupy, but not jammy. A fruit driven
wine with moderate dry grainy tannins that will find many fans.
Take this handsome wax-dipped bottle (a tab is attached to the wax for
easy opening) to a restaurant and you will get some attention. The best wine I
have tasted from this producer to date. Widely distributed (under the Caymus
2007 Gary Farrell Carneros Selection Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.46, 1,336
cases, $42. Sourced from 10 blocks of the Ramal Vineyard in the Carneros
appellation. Clones 115, 777, 828, Pommard 5. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold
soak, fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular punch downs. Aged in 37%
new French oak barrels for 9 months before bottling.
Feral nose of barnyard,
forest floor, and smoky oak. Understated cherry core with grilled meat, smoke
and oak in the background. Silky and mildly tannic with bright acidity. A shy wine
that is not particularly exciting. Decent.
2006 Tati’s Block O’Neel Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5%, $25. This bottling is a private reserve wine of the O’Neel family who sell
some of their fruit to Kosta Browne.
Moderately deep ruby color. Aromas of
cherries, strawberries, herbs and toasty oak. Elegantly styled with admirable
acidity and supple tannins. The wine is initially herbal and oaky but sampled the
next day from a previously opened re-corked bottle, had become more fruity and
lost its woody qualities. Decant or cellar for a year or two. Decent (+).
2006 Buena Vista Ramal Vineyard Carneros Estate Vineyard Series Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.66, 4,047 cases, $38. Clones 115, 667, 777, 828,
Pommard 5 and Swan. Grapes were de-stemmed, cold soaked 5 to 8 days,
fermentation in 5- and 7-ton open-top fermenters, aged in 39% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color. The nose really draws you in with aromas
of ripe black cherries, vanilla, and a woodsy tone of forest floor and mushrooms.
Discreetly concentrated cherry and berry flavors with some pomegranate, earth
and oak toast in the background. Tangy and smooth on the finish leaving a
pleasant impression of fresh cherries. Very good.