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2010 California Pinot Noir All-Americans Second Team

2008 Arista Mononi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 258 cases, $56 Stunning and nuanced aromatic profile featuring spiced berries, rose petals and violets picking up intensity with time in the glass. This wine has all the charm and delicacy one could ask for combined with a tasty and hearty core of cherry, strawberry and cola flavors, harmoniously supported by soft tannins and bright acidity. The whole package.

2007 BPinot (Bybee) Vineyards & Habitat Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 196 cases, $49 Very charming aromas of dark red berries, brioche and subtle oak. Lovely cherry and berry flavor that packs a wallop yet the wine remains light on its feet. A dynamite wine that is well dressed and ephemeral with supple tannins that allow for early drinking but possessing the balance to stay the course. The finish sails on for what seems like a minute. A special wine that you can spend the night with.

2007 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir 82 cases, $45 Moderate reddish-purple in the glass. The nose is striking and the most flamboyant in a vertical tasting of Clos Saron wines. The profuse aromas of fresh berries, rose petals and exotic spices are mesmerizing. Intensely fruity with flavors of black raspberries, cassis, olallieberries, Oolong tea, cola and unidentified spice notes. This is one of those wines that really makes you want to take another sip. Seamless and harmonious in every way. You can drink this wine now for its hedonistic aromas and flavors, but this is one you will want to dance with after more maturation in the bottle. I was stoked over this Pinot.

2008 Davis Family Vineyards Soul Patch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $42 Captivating perfume of rich and deep ripe dark berries with a hint of dried rose hips and cut flowers. Mouth coating flavors of fresh picked black raspberries and blackberries that attack the mid palate with a vengeance and persist on the lush and long finish. This wine is striking in its impeccable balance and sexy, silky texture. Class in the glass.

2008 duMOL finn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 363 cases, $80 A stunning wine with complex aromas and flavors of dark fruits, cut flowers, underbrush, earth and spice. Still has tannins to shed but offers a big mouthful of hedonistic flavor that coats every nook and cranny in the mouth. The tremendous fruit concentration is well buffered by the tannins and acidity. A superb wine that will thoroughly please any Pinot Noir lover.

2008 de Coelo Terra Neuma Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $69 Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Exotic and complex nose offering scents of wild berries, truffle, wine cask and forest floor. Luscious core of dark berries that cling to the finish. Earth, mineral, oak and cola undertones add interest. The fruit is vivid, framed by soft tannins and complimented by crisp acidity. A seamless wine that picks up interest over several hours in the glass. A Pinot Noir unbridled by convention.

2008 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $65 Moderately dark in color and in intensity. Very sexy perfume of rose petals and fresh Pinot fruit basket. Would love to bottle this aroma. I always find this wine seductive and this vintage is no exception. That is not to say that it is ready to drink, for it is still somewhat ponderous, the delicious core of purple berries and plums only teasingly apparent at present. Thick with fruit wrapped in velvety tannins, this beauty wows you now, but will be more amazing in a few years. This wine is why Pinot is my paramour.

2008 Olivia Brion Heron Lake Vineyard Wild Horse Valley Pinot Noir 680 cases, $37 Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy initially, but opens with time in the glass. More savory than fruity, with aromas of ripe, darker berry fruit, violets and the slightest hint of mint. An interesting wine driven by exotic spices, dark berry fruit and cola. The wine really shines with time in the glass, bringing together healthy tannins, zingy acidity, uplifting minerality and hearty fruit into a very enjoyable drink. This is one of those little known and little touted labels that surprises with a very unique and lovable Pinot Noir.

2008 Red Car Dreamland Platt Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $60 Moderately deep color in the glass. Very shy initially, opening slowly to reveal lovely scents of plums, berries, sandalwood and spice. Very soft, even ephemeral, dark berry and plum fruit which lightly coats the mouth building to a generous and lengthy finish. This wine seduces you slowly, finishing you off with a memorable climax.

2008 Sojourn Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 580 cases, $48 Plenty of Pinot singing here beginning with enticing aromas of mixed berry jam and spice box including cardamom. Delicious rainbow of berry fruits discreetly concentrated and beautifully layered. Silky smooth in the mouth with remarkable persistence on the aromatic finish. The fruit is pulled into perfect alignment with fine acidity and tannin, and the oak adds just the right nuances. Heaven sent.

2008 Thomas Fogarty Rapley Trail Vineyard Block B Estate Grown Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir <50 cases, $68 Very expressive aromas of wild berries, violets, brioche, graham and a hint of smoky oak. A delicious panoply of fruit flavors that really stick to your mouth. Dark red berries and strawberries are in abundance with undertones of savory herbs and forest floor. This wine’s character supersedes the delicious fruit. Brilliantly crafted and beautifully proportioned with an impeccable balance that predicts a long life ahead.

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