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Sips of Pinot

2008 Alysian Cresta Ridge Vineyard Taurin Block Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.47, 378 cases, $38. Gary Farrell’s 2008 lineup of wines are very impressive. Sourced from a Green Valley vineyard. 100% barrel fermented, 50% MLF in barrel. Aged 10 months in 40% new and 60% one and two-year-old French oak barrels. Sold only through a mailing list. · Light straw color in the glass. Fresh aromas of white stone fruits, butterscotch and buttered toast. Delicious and persistent moderately rich mix of flavors including pears, white peach, green apple, biscuit and maple syrup framed by lively acidity with a subtle note of oak in the background. Uncommon tenacity of flavor for a Chardonnay. Everything is singing in harmony and this wine is just my style.

2008 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 985 cases, $46. Estate grown and bottled. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely composed aromatic profile of cherries, strawberries, savory herbs, and oak blossoming in the glass over time. A magnificent Burgundian styled wine with vivid, high-pitched red cherry, raspberry and cranberry flavors framed by lively acidity and fine grain tannins, and beautifully underlain with minerality. Has the balance to age for 20 years. After so many years at the helm, winemaker Jeffrey Patterson knows his vineyard and consistently offers Pinot Noirs styled with the type of charm and restraint that is often lacking in so many fruit driven California Pinot Noirs. A great food wine that should be cause for celebration. (See Bucket List at end of this issue).

2008 Talley Vineyards Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 375 cases, $50. · Deep reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is clamped down and it is difficult to coax out any fruit. Oak vanillin aroma is about all you get. Dense and tasty essence of purple fruits with firm tannins. An impressive mouthful of fruit but needs cellaring to integrate the tannins and oak and come out of its shell. Find a good steak or short ribs to accompany this wine if you open it now. Good.

2008 Talley Vineyards Rosemary’s Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 400 cases, $60. · Deep dark reddish-purple color in the glass. More giving than the Rincon bottling offering pleasing aromas and flavors of red and black fruits especially black cherries and strawberries, all nicely spiced. Big-boned and fruit driven with healthy tannins. Needs a few years in the cellar for optimum enjoyment. Very good.

2007 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 1,000 cases, $30. Steve MacRostie owner, Kevin W. Holt winemaker. · Blackberry and plum aromas arrive over time in the glass with interesting nuances of underbrush, oak and Asian 5-spice. A husky, rugged wine featuring black raspberry and blackberry flavors backed by a good grip of citric acidity and complimented by an earthy, stem accent. The silky texture adds to the appeal. Very good.

2007 Dehlinger Estate Bottled Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $48. · Moderate reddishpurple hue in the glass. Lovely perfume of black cherries, black raspberries, and seasonal fall spices. Mouth coating fruit core that grabs hold and made even more charming by gossamer tannins and a slippery, refined mouth feel. Nice accents of cola and spice. This wine has plenty of fruit charisma and will find many fans. An iconic winery that keeps doing its thing very well.

1994 Kalin Cellars Cuvée Billon Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $58. · Moderate color with a slight yellowing of the edge in the glass. Very interesting bouquet of raspberries, mushrooms, black cherries, bay leaf and Herbs de Provence. Slightly tart and rustic but pleasing flavors of cherries and berries accented with savory (unami) notes and leading to a bright finish with a grip of citric tang. Some dusty tannins persist to round out the wine. Lovers of older California Pinot Noir will really enjoy this wine. Very good.

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