2007 Smoking Loon California Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 212,000 cases, $8.99.
Released July 2008. From the Three Loose Screws division of Don Sebastiani &
On the nose their are shy darker fruits, toasted oak and tobacco. Tasty
black raspberry fruit with a smoky edge (the label is appropriate). Medium bodied,
soft in the mouth with minimal tannins. Straightforward and simple and
very Decent for the price. Perfect price point for Generation Y.
2007 Belle Glos Meiomi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $25.
The name is pronounced May-OH-mee” and means “coast” in the
language of the native Wappo tribe. A blend of several vineyards with
different sub-climates in the true Sonoma Coast.
Very expressive nose
right out of the bottle smelling of black raspberries, blackberries, dark
chocolate, and fermenting Pinot Noir, with a whiff of alcohol. Vivid and fruity with
tones of spice and herbs. Likable for its smooth texture and easy drinkability.
Tasted on two occasions by the glass at a restaurant recently and at home from a
bottle with consistent findings. Very good and very well priced.
2007 The Bohan-Dillon Hirsch Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $28.
Deeper and earthier than the 2006 version of this wine
with exotic woods and oak toast adding interest to the cherry fruit.
Medium-weighted core of cherry and cranberry fruit with a silky
mouthfeel and a good grip of acidity on the refreshing finish. Not an
epiphanic wine, but well-priced and direct. Decent (+)
2007 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
13.5% alc., 5,213 cases, $37. This is a well respected
producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that has received
considerable praise from the wine press and retail marketplace. One wine seller
recently exclaimed “Rivals the greatest Pinot Noirs of the world.” I can only
shake my head at such a remark for I have tasted multiple vintages of this wine
through the years and never been impressed. This vintage is no exception.
Grown, produced, and bottled at the Estate. Aged 10 months in French oak ranging in age from one to four years old.
The nose is replete with loamy
earth, oak and smoke with no fruit. Woody and chemical tasting on the palate
with a moderately light core of tart cherry and berry fruit finishing with a rush of
tannins. Tastes like a passable Bourgogne wine. Decent (-). Based on favorable reviews in the wine press, I must assume this was a bad bottle.
2007 Truett-Hurst Black Sheep Sonoma County Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $40.
This label is a partnership between Phillip Hurst and Heath Dolan. Paul and
Heath Dolan’s forebears purchased what was a sheep farm, Truett Ranch,
turning it into one of the first vineyard sources for the historic Italian Swiss
Colony brand. Grapes for this wine are sourced from Sonoma Mountain and
the Russian River Valley. Aged 12 months in French oak.
Very dark reddishpurple
color in the glass. Shy dark fruits on the nose with an emphasis on
newly sawn sweet oak and cardamon spice. Plum fruits are the centerpiece of
this fruit-driven wine which veers close to overripeness. Harmonious with
nicely balanced fruit and tannins, but nothing really stands out either. Decent.
2007 Waits-Mast Wines La Encantada Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 25 cases, $42. Jennifer Waits and Brian Mast are fog bound San
Francisco winemakers focused solely on vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs in 25 to
50 case lots from sites in the Anderson Valley, Russian River Valley and Sta. Rita
Hills. Clones 115, 667 and 777. 100% de-stemmed, aged 11 months in 33%
new French oak. Crafted at Crushpad.
Scents of dark strawberries and cherries,
dried roses, herbs and pine. Herb-inflected dark red cherry and berry flavors with
hints of oak, green tomato and citrus. Well-crafted, with respectable richness and
creaminess, but doesn’t strike my fancy. Tasted twice. Decent (+).
2007 Dehlinger Goldridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 1,340 cases, $45.Unfined and unfiltered.
Slightly confected black cherry and
black raspberry aromas with hints of pepper and a jolt of cardamon spice.
Primarily cherry-driven, discreetly rich with nice finesse, and exhibiting a soft
mouth feel. Still needs some time to integrate the oak fully, but hard to resist
now. Very good.
2007 LIOCO Michaud Vineyard Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir
alc., 346 cases, $45. Wild fermentation, 10-day cold soak, manual punch downs,
aged 12 months in 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old French oak. Unfined and unfiltered.
Sourced from a remote hilltop site at 1,600 feet in the Pinnacles National
Monument. An extreme microclimate with daily temperature swings of 40 to 60
degrees. Granite and limestone soils.
Strong aromas of plums, tea, oak, smoke
and ground savory. Juicy and concentrated black fruits with an earthy
underpinning finishing with a tasty raspberry kiss. Better later in the day from an
opened bottle.. A masculine Pinot that will stand up to hearty foods. Will have
fans. Very good.
2007 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $60.
Hi-tone scents of plums and dark berries with overtones of cigar box and
cola. Luscious and rich, almost syrupy, decadent and dark Pinot fruits.
Packed and stacked and not for wimps. A big wine with a big heart that
will stoke Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir fans.
2006 The Bohan-Dillon Hirsch Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
alc., $28. Hirsch Vineyards “village” wine. The family cat is featured on the label.
Moderately light in color. Attractive gathering of aromas of cherries, spice, herbs
and oak. Oak-toned delicate cherry flavor with soft tannins. A very approachable
light drink. Decent.
2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Oldsville Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$50. Sourced from Elton and Allore vineyards. Aged 15 months in 35% French oak barrels
and aged an additional 24 months in bottle. Tasted recently at the winery.
The aromatics are
striking featuring dark cherries and plum, sage and a kiss of oak. Mid-weight fruit attack with
supple tannins, a velvety texture, bright acidity and a lingering finish. This wine yearns for
food. Very good.
2006 Dehlinger Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 360
cases, $59. Sourced from the High Plains part of the vineyard planted in 1989.
10% whole cluster.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Awkward
nose with blacker fruits taking a back seat to smoke, oak, marzipan and barnyard
aromas. Full-bodied dark berry core which is subdued. The tannins are ripe but
prominent, oak char is evident, and there is a gentle hint of citrus on the finish. A
brooding wine that will be terrific in 4 to 5 years. Drink the Goldridge bottling
while you cellar the Reserve. Very good.
2006 JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 22 Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 58
Lovely scent of dark stone and berry fruits, oak, redwood and rhubarb. Full,
plush and striking core of dark berries and plums with a moderate tug of oak, firm tannins
and bright acidity. The silky texture is alluring. Very good (-).
2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Lollapalooza Fiddlestix Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 250 cases, $75. A selection of the best 6-10 barrels in the cellar intended to
represent the best of the vintage. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels and cellared for
18 months in bottle before release. Tasted recently at the winery.
color. Black cherry, blackberry personality with hints of mocha and earth. Grainy ripe
tannins still need time to soften. Well-endowed but suave and will benefit for cellaring.
2004 Belle Glos Taylor Lane Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
$45. From a vineyard located in the Occidental Ridges planted to Dijon clones.
Aged 9 months in French oak.
Deep purple color in the glass. Welcoming scents
of black cherries, black olive, toasted oak and a hint of spice. Plenty of dark
cherry and berry fruit, accents of tobacco, oak and nutmeg, on a polished, rich
platform with minimal tannins. A tasty ripe style of Pinot Noir that seduces with a
plush mouth feel. Very good (+).