PinotFile: 12.24 November 14, 2021
- Pieces of Jewell Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
- Three Sticks Wines: The Pinnacle of California Pinot Noir
- 2018 & 2019 California Pinot Noir to Contemplate
- Compton Cellars: Pinot Noirs Kissed by an Angel
- Briefs of Interest
- If Yogi Berra Was a Wine Writer
Pieces of Jewell Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
This is a celebrity Pinot Noir worthy of special mention not only because it is a tribute to well-known, four-time
Grammy Nominated singer-songwriter, musician, and author Jewell, but because it is an exceptionally good
wine offered in a beautiful package.
The story behind the wine is of interest. Eden Estate Wines, located just west of Saratoga in the Santa Cruz
Mountains, is owned by John Couch. He is a highly regarded pioneering software engineer in Silicon Valley
who is one of the top executives at Apple. His Italian heritage led him to embrace Cabernet Sauvignon wines
enough that he purchased land at the base of Mt. Eden, established a vineyard and built a winery to focus on
The 2020 Pieces of Jewell Pinot Noir grew out of Couch’s friendship with Jewell and collaboration with Bill
Brosseau. Bill is the talented Director of Winemaking at Testarossa Winery where he has crafted Pinot Noir
wines that been highly touted recently in the PinotFile. He has overseen the production of this wine as well.
This inaugural release is sourced from the famed Rincon Vineyard owned by Talley Vineyards in the Arroyo
Grande Valley. Rincon Vineyard was originally planted in 1982 but modern additions have continued. Currently,
the vineyard consists of 38 acres of Pinot Noir planted to Wädenswil 2A and Dijon 115, 667 and 777 clones.
The older Wädenswil plantings are on their own roots, while more recent plantings of Dijon clones in 2001 are
planted on resistant rootstock. Soils are shallow loam and calcareous clay similar to the soils found in the Côte
de Nuits of Burgundy. Through the years, the vineyard has buoyed legendary wines from Talley Vineyards and
other premium wineries including Testarossa.
Jewell was the designer of the attractive label with each berry representing her various moods or states of
mind. The wine is devoted to Jewell’s success in overcoming years of challenges revealed in her book, Never
Broken, and her foundation for inspiring children. The Inspiring Children Foundation powers the non-profit
“Jewell Never Broken Program,” offering at-risk youth and families in providing housing, mental health
counseling, and basic essentials such as food and clothing. Visit www.inspiringchildren.org and
This special Pinot Noir is available for sale on the Eden Estate website at www.edenestatewines.com. This
wine will make a very welcome Christmas gift to loved ones.
2020 Pieces of Jewell Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $50. Produced and bottled by Eden
Estate Wines LLC, Saratoga, CA.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Beautifully perfumed with aromas of
cherry reduction, spice and a hint of burnt tobacco. Light to mid-weight in style, with a gracious and refreshing
core of black cherry, dark red berry, and spice flavors framed by redeeming acidity, a compliment of oak, and
an earthy tone. Comforting and easy to cozy up to initially but considerably more enjoyable on day one and two
after opening. A very young wine with plenty of promise and most certainly will be deserving of a higher score
after 6-12 months in the cellar. A “jewel” of a Pinot Noir.
Three Sticks Wines: The Pinnacle of California Pinot Noir
“Billy Three Sticks” was a teenage nickname given to Bill Price by his surfing buddies who teased him about his
formal name, William S. Price III. They are not teasing him now, as he is the head of a vineyard and winery
empire that in addition to Three Sticks Wines includes Durell Vineyard, Gap’s Crown Vineyard, Walala
Vineyard, One Sky Vineyard, LUTUM, Head High Winery, and Kistler Vineyards, all under the umbrella of Price
Family Vineyards & Estates. Price is currently chairman of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery and was chairman
of Kosta Browne from 2009 through 2015. He only works with distinguished winemakers and the Three Sticks wines
are from exceptional estate vineyards.
Three Sticks Wines was founded by Price in 2002 with a focus on wines from the renowned 200-acre Durell
Vineyard. Price bought Durell Vineyard in 1997 and now owns 130 acres of the Carneros, Sonoma Valley and
Sonoma Coast portions (the vineyard has vines in three appellations) of the vineyard as a result of a divorce.
Bob Cabral joined Three Sticks Wines in 2014 as Director of Winemaking after leaving Williams Selyem. He is
ably assisted by winemakers Ryan Prichard and Carl Formaker.
The four Pinot Noir wines reviewed here are part of the fall 2021 release that also includes two Chardonnays.
Three Sticks Wines are available through a mailing list allocation with the wines reviewed here sold on the
winery’s website at www.threestickswines.com. Large formats (1.5L-9L) are available. Tasting is available at
the winery’s historic Vallejo-Castenada Adobe originally built in 1842 by Salvador Vallejo and now restored. A
variety of curated experiences are available by reservation.
2019 Three Sticks William James Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.69,
481 cases, $75. Released August 2021. The vineyard is located west of Sebastopol surrounded by apple
orchards. The Goldridge fine, sandy loam soil, known as “moondust,” is ideal for Pinot Noir. Clones are Swan,
Calera and 943, an unusual combination. 25% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 52% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly appealing aromas of dark cherry, cranberry, earthy flora and a hint of
oak. Velvety on the palate in a middleweight style, offering giving flavors of black cherry, cola and tobacco oak.
Impeccably balanced with graceful tannins and a noticeably long finish. Quintessential Russian River Valley
black cherry goodness.
2019 Three Sticks Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.66, 770
cases, $75. Released August 2021. Clones are Swan, 115, faux 828, 667, 777 and a Rochioli selection. 25%
whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 56% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Enticing aromas of black cherry, cardamom spice and sprightly herbs. Long and succulent on the palate, with
an array of black cherry and berry fruit flavors. The sap grabs the palate and won’t let go. Silky and suave, with
very modest tannins and an amazingly long finish. Even better when tasted the following day from a previously
2019 Three Sticks Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.66, 440 cases,
$75. Released August 2021. Redwood forested location high on a hill above the town of Annapolis on the
extreme West Sonoma Coast. I consider it one of my “elite” California Pinot Noir vineyards. Clones 115, 113
and faux 828. 25% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 52% new.
Moderate garnet color in
the glass. Reserved initially, but picking up interest over time in the glass, offering aromas of blue and purple
berry and tilled earth. The boldest wine among the four tasted here but not imposing. Mid-weight plus in style
with yummy flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, boysenberry and spice with an earthy undertone. Juicy
and seamless with fine-grain tannins and a generous finish. “Great” when tasted the following day from a
previously opened bottle.
2019 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.67, 580 cases, $75. Released
August 2021. Diverse soils including cobble clay loam, volcanic
and rocky loam. Known for Chardonnay, this vineyard has
quickly gained recognition for exceptional Pinot Noir as well.
Clones 115, 667, 943, Swan and Calera. 20% whole cluster.
Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
garnet color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of black cherry,
baking spices and cola. Easy to find superlatives for this wine
that instantly enchants. Mid-weight in concentration, offering a
juicy core of cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit flavors
backed by a complimentary riff of oak. Elegantly composed,
with a refreshing acid spine, and a finish alive with hi-tone,
spice cherry goodness. The best Pinot Noir I have ever had
from this vineyard.
2018 & 2019 California Pinot Noir to Contemplate
This winery is uniquely situated adjacent to a 700-cow organic dairy on Westside Road in the heart of the
Russian River Valley. John and Diane Bucher first planted a vineyard on the ranch in 1997 and the estate
vineyard has now grown to 38 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir clones include Pommard, Swan,
Mt. Eden, Jackson, Mariafeld and Dijon 115, 667, and 943. John farms the vineyard and Adam Lee, who
helped launch the Bucher Vineyard line of wines in 2011, has been the winemaker ever since. An interesting
side note is that John grew up with and is friends with Joe Rochioli. Tasting is available at Grand Cru Custom
Crush in Windsor. The wines are sold on the website at www.bucherwine.com.
The Pinot Noir wines from Bucher are unique in that they have an undertone of organic manure in the aroma
and flavor profile. I have only experienced this in Pinot Noir from two other vineyards: Hansen Vineyard in the
Russian River Valley and Pelos Sandberg Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. Presumably, this barnyard trait is
related to former or nearby cow pastures. It makes for a terroir-driven signature that the drinker may or may not
2019 J. Bucher Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.58, 563 cases,
$45. Released October 2021. Sourced from 4 blocks in the estate vineyard and is composed of 7 clones
(Pommard, Swan, Calera, Mariafeld, 37, and Dijon 115 and 943). Harvest Brix 23.9º (average). Aged 10
months in French oak barrels, 20% new, 80% 1-5-year-old.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas of
dark cherry, tilled earth and cow pasture. The wine is packed with darkest cherry cola flavor framed by gentle
tannins, offering some persistence on the finish. There is a thread of pungent manure similar to ashen oak.
2019 J. Bucher Pommard Clone Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.54, 114
cases, $55. Released October 2021. 100% Pommard clone
from 4 blocks in the Bucher Vineyard. Harvest Brix 24.0º
(average). Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 60% new,
Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose
leads with aromas of earth-toned black fruits and a bit of
mushroom. Mid-weight plus in a rich and bold style with waves
of black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors.
Silky on the palate, with gentle tannins and some finishing
power. The barnyard trait is barely noticeable.
2019 J. Bucher Three Sixty Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.79, TA
0.54, 118 cases, $65. Released October 2021. Sourced from 4 blocks on the western edge of the vineyard.
Harvest Brix 23.2º (average). Clones are Swan, Pommard, Dijon 943. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels,
80% new and 20% 1-year-old.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of confected black cherry,
sassafras, baking spices and fresh oak. Full-flavored, ripely-fruited, and full-bodied, offering flavors of darkest
cherry, blueberry-pomegranate and cassis backed by modest tannins and acidity. There is only a hint of
Noted winemaker Michael Browne, formerly of Kosta Browne, released his inaugural wines under the CHEV
label in 2020: a 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. Wines are
allocated to a mailing list (“Guild” members). Those that are mailing list members of Michael Browne’s other
winery, CIRQ (launched in 2009), are automatically added to the CHEV list. Browne bought the Russian Hills Estate in Windsor and is revamping the vineyard, winery and tasting room as the home for CHEV and CIRQ.
2019 CHEV Oregon Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $80. Fermented in 80% stainless steel open-tops and 20% in
concrete open-tops. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. A
complex nose offers aromas of black cherry, blackberry, baking spice, forest path and toasty oak. Discreetly
concentrated core of black cherry, purple berry and spice flavors framed by integrated tannins. A tad boisterous
by Oregon standards with exceptional mid-palate intensity and generous finish.
2019 CHEV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $80.
Fermented in 75% stainless steel open-tops and 25% in
concrete open-tops. 5% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in
French oak barrels 44% new (5% aged in concrete tank).
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly to
reveal aromas of dark red and black berry fruits. Refined and
silky on the palate, with a mid-weight array of dark cherry and
berry flavors. A solid wine that requires time to share its charms.
Nicely balanced with no alcoholic warmth, a compliment of
supportive tannins and an black cherry driven finish.
Founded by Champagne Louis Roederer in 2011, Domaine Anderson follows the same organic and
biodynamic principles as the founding Champagne house. Visit www.domaineanderson.com.
2018 Domaine Anderson Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $45. Sourced from three vineyard
sites including Dach (64%), Walraven (29%) and Pinoli (7%). Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. There is a subtle green tone in this wine that reflects under-ripeness.
Aromas of strawberry, cherry, spice and red rose petal. Red-fruit driven on the palate in a mid-weight style with
gracious tannins and a red-cherry themed finish. Rather pedestrian and lacking in mid-palate fortitude. Less
enjoyable with more oak in the forefront when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle.
J. Cage Cellars
This boutique family winery, founded in 2014, is focused on single-vineyard Pinot Noir from premium vineyards
with limited production of other varietals. Proprietors Roger and Donna Beery are from Austin, Texas and
Colorado who were drawn to Sonoma County to produce wine. The couple is committed to sustainable grape
farming and winemaking. The winemakers are Conch and Roger Beery and the consulting winemaker is Adam
Lee. All wines are sold directly to consumers at www.JCage.com
. Virtual wine tasting experiences are a
2019 J. Cage Cellars El Coro Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.55, 125 cases,
$54. Released October 2021. Clones are faux 828, 777, 667 and a “La Tache” selection. Aged in French oak
barrels, 25% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Upfront aromas of dark red cherry and berry,
underbrush and cardamom spice. A flood of well-ripened and dark fruit floods the palate in a mid-weight plus
style. An unbecoming flavor of raisin is present. Silky in texture, with minor tannins and oak in the background.
2019 J. Cage Cellars Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.57, 169
cases, $54. Released December 2020. A co-ferment of equal parts Dijon 667 and 115. Aged in French oak
barrels, 25% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of well-ripened black
fruits and sweet pipe smoke. Voluptuous flavors of blackberry and boysenberry compote carry through to a
generous finish that leaves behind mildly astringent tannins.
2019 J. Cage Cellars The Wedding Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.51,
169 cases, $54. Released October 2021. The Wedding Block Vineyard is located in the heart of the Russian
River Valley and is farmed by Lee Martinelli, Jr. A co-ferment of Dijon clones 777 and 115. Aged in French oak
barrels, 25% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers deeply perfumed black raspberry
and blackberry fruits that veer to the cooked side. There is a savory spice aroma as well. The mid-weight plus
black cherry and black raspberry fruit veers to the sweet compote side. The tannins are silky, there is a
compliment of oak in the background, but the wine lacks acidic verve.
2019 J. Cage Cellars Van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.55,
213 cases, $54. Released December 2020. A blend of six clones. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dusty black cherry, rose petal, chalk and musty herb garden. A
middleweight style with a juicy core of black cherry fruit. Polished in the mouth, with modest tannins and a dry,
2019 J. Cage Cellars Cuvée ’42 Sonoma County Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.55, 693 cases, $42. Released July
2021. A blend of four Sonoma County vineyards.
garnet color in the glass. The enticing nose offers aromas of red
and black cherry, red licorice, cardamom spice and toasty oak.
Crafted in a mid-weight plus style, offering vibrant flavors of
dark red and black berries ad black cherry. A mouthful of fruit
but discreetly concentrated. Excellent harmony, with tame
tannins, a sleek demeanor, and a well-fruited finish of some
The Lombardi family has a rich history of wine, food and tradition and have been in Sonoma county since
1947. Tony and Christine Lombardi founded Lombardi Wines in 2013, and together with winemaker Cabell
Coursey, they craft small lots of Pinot Noir and chardonnay from prestigious vineyards in Sonoma county.
2018 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.60, TA .57, 300 cases, $48. Released November 18, 2019.
Sourced from Giusti Ranch and Gunsalus Vineyard. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Aged 14 months in French oak
barrels, 25% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, ripe strawberry and oak lead to a
light to mid-weight styled wine with flavors of black cherry cola and black raspberry. Somewhat elegant with
good balance but lacking a bit of mid-palate generosity. The bright, quenching finish is very satisfying.
2019 Lombardi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.54, 250 cases, $49. Sourced from
Gantz, Gap’s Crown and Hill Justice vineyards. Clones are Pommard, 777, Swan, Calera and 23. Aged 11
months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Delightful aromas of dark fruits,
rose petal and peppery herbs. Judicious core of purple and black berry flavors with a soft oak shadow. Very
soothing, polished texture, with modest tannins and a generous, fruit-driven finish.
2018 Lombardi Hill Justice Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.60, 100 cases,
$68. This 9-acre vineyard is steeply sloped and sits at 1,100’ elevation on Sonoma Mountain. Swan and
Pommard clones. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Reserved but pleasing aromas of blackest cherry, blackberry, spice and toasty oak. A mid-weight plus boldness
with layers of boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors framed by some noticeable but not aggressive tannins.
Oak is well-integrated on the palate. A cohesive wine with saturating fruit on the finish.
2019 Lombardi Hill Justice Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.56, 87 cases,
$68. Swan and Pommard clones. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately dark garnet
color in the glass. The fruit-driven nose offers aromas of blueberry and boysenberry. Waves of purple and black
fruits greet the palate. A bold, but pleasing expression of Pinot Noir with harmonic tannins and acidity, and a
very satisfying, richly-endowed finish.
2019 Lombardi Gap’s Crown Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.58, 87 cases, $68. 100% clone
777. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, once-used.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. A little volatile acidity
on the nose blows off over time. Aromas of blackberry compote
and bittersweet chocolate. Luscious black cherry and black
raspberry fruits have a slight confected tone. Bold in style with a
fat and silken fruit richness that cloaks the structure so the
texture is sleek.
2019 Lombardi Giusti Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.59, 100 cases,
$68. Dijon clones 667 and 777. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. Frankly, the fruit in this wine is way too ripe. Overripeness is the point where dark berry flavors are
transformed to flavors of dark chocolate and raisin. Beyond that, this wine is out of sorts with noticeable oak in
the background, an unpleasant sweetness, and some drying astringency on the finish.
The Double L Vineyard is the only certified organic vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. I consider it one of
California’s “elite” Pinot Noir vineyards. Morgan producers an outstanding array of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot
Noir from this estate vineyard and other nearby valued vineyards. This wine is sold on the winery’s website at
2019 Morgan Double L Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.58, 507 cases, $65.
Clones 667 and 777. Certified organic grapes. Native yeast
primary fermentation with 7% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in
French oak barrels, 36% new.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. The perfume bowled me over! Intoxicating scents of black
cherry, blueberry and spice cabinet. An expressive attack of
fresh black cherry fruit is annotated with anise and spice. The
entry makes one sit up in their seat. Excellent cohesiveness,
with a suave mouthfeel, a welcome touch of smoky oak, and a
very long, cherry-fueled finish. Terrific!
Compton Cellars: Pinot Noirs Kissed by an Angel
Matt and Tabitha Compton operate a small, family-owned boutique winery located in the town of Philomath in
the southern Willamette Valley. Philomath is not on the tip of the tongue of most Pinot Noir connoisseurs, but
there are two other highly-respected Pinot Noir focused wineries in the locale including Lumos Wine Company
and Cardwell Hill Cellars. Philomath is located in Benton County at the base of Marys Peak, the highest point
in the Oregon Coast Range, and 80 miles south of Portland. The area enjoys the mild climate of the middle
The winery was originally founded as Spindrift Cellars in 2004 but has since changed its name to Compton
Family Cellars. The focus now is on Pinot Noir from special vineyards that Matt manages through his West
Vine Farms vineyard management company. Besides a farmer, Matt is an experienced winemaker with well
over twenty years of experience in the Oregon wine industry. As a result, the Pinot Noir wines have the
handprint of an experienced grower and talented winemaker.
I last wrote about this winery in 2019 and what I said then still holds: The wines represent extremely good
value, especially since I consider them equal in quality to any Pinot Noir wines currently being produced in the
Northern Willamette Valley.
Tasting is offered at the winery and the wines are easily obtainable through the winery’s website at
www.comptonwines.com. The three wines reviewed here are part of the winery’s Old Vine Collectors Series.
These wines are true to the Pinot Noir ethos and the classic Willamette Valley style - perfectly ripened but not
over-ripened fruit, modest alcohol levels, good, refreshing acidity, and elegant demeanor. All three wines were
noticeably better when re-tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle and held up for another two
days suggesting high quality, balance and age-ability.
2017 Compton Alpine Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $34. Release planned for 2022. A
blend of two dry-farmed vineyards in the Alpine area that is about 20 miles south of Compton winery: Woodhall
Vineyard planted in 1976 at Oregon State University and BoVine Vineyard planted in 2008 to Pommard and
Wädenswil clones. Basalt, red Jory series soils.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.The nose exudes red
cherry goodness with a side of spice and red rose aroma. Easygoing in a harmonious, mid-weight style, driven
by cherry and raspberry fruit flavors with a shadow of oak and a mossy, forestry undertone reflecting its Alpine
origins, Focused tannins and a raspberry-themed finish of some length complete the picture.
2017 Compton Llewellyn Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $34. Release planned for 2022. A
blend of three vineyards located about 1-2 miles from each other: Compton Family Farms Vineyard, planted in
1998, Hoot & Howl Vineyard planted in 1986, and Mary’s Peak Vineyard planted in 1977. Sedimentary soils.
Light garnet color in the glass. Wonderfully perfumed with scents of red cherry, cranberry, strawberry and spice
cabinet. Juicy and bright in a middleweight style featuring plenty of unctuous red fruit flavors annotated wih
spice and framed by suede tannins.
2017 Compton Mary’s Peak Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $34. Released March 2021. This dryfarmed
vineyard consists of 2.1 acres of Pinot Noir planted
between 1977 and 1980 to the Wädenswil clone. Alluvial,
sedimentary loam soil.
Light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of
cherry juice, balsam and earthy flora draw you in. Graceful, silky
and cohesive, offering flavors of red cherry, raspberry and
spice. Gentle power that packs more punch than the light color
and demure composure would suggest. The gossamer tannins
provide enough support and the finish has persistence without
weight. There is something about Pinot Noir old vine patina that
grabs at your soul.
Briefs of Interest
2021 Harvest Reduced in Size but of High Quality After a disastrous 2020, it was a welcome
relief for vintners that 2021 was relatively uneventful and therefore a cause of celebration for the expected high
quality of the resulting wines statewide. Quantities will be somewhat limited and the reduced 2020 harvest
tonnage (a 20-year low) due to wildfires means there will be less wine to go around. Finding labor to harvest
the crop in 2021 had its challenges even though workers could make more than $30 per hour. this has led
more growers to turn to mechanical harvesting and it is now estimated that 90% of the wine grapes in
California are picked by machines (excluding Pinot Noir!). The full 2021 Harvest Report is available t
Role of Biogenic Amines in Wine Intolerance Studied New Zealand Master of Wine Sophia
Parker-Thomson recently published a research paper exploring the role of biogenic amines (BAs) in
winemaking, and the use of sulfur dioxide in winemaking to mitigate that issue. She concluded that addressing
levels of BA could lead to some people re-engaging with wine (10% suffer wine intolerance) and argues for
establishing a low BA category for wine. She believes wines with high BA levels should carry a warning. BAs
are produced by lactic acid bacteria and typically cause headaches, nausea, rashes, and flushing. BA levels
are highest in wines with zero and low sulfur dioxide regimes. A small addition of sulfur dioxide added to grape
juice before alcoholic fermentation can make an environment that is hostile to lactic acid bacteria that produce
BAs and normal winemaking techniques can then proceed. Sophia’s research is important as it indicates that
sulfites are a solution to wine sensitivity, rather than a source. Visit www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz.
Moderate Drinking in Older People Protective Against Heart Disease A Monash
University study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology is the first to study the risk of
cardiovascular (CVD) events and mortality, from all causes, associated with alcohol consumption in initially
healthy, older individuals. The study analyzed data for 18,000 Australian and American adults mostly aged 70
years and older. The participants were followed for an average of 4.7 years and found that there was a reduced
risk of CVD events as well as a reduced risk of mortality for those consuming alcohol in moderation compared
to abstainers, regardless of gender.
Winegrower, Vintner and Attorney John M. Peterson, Jr, Passed Away John was the
owner of Peterson and Cortada Alta Vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Mansfield-Dunne Wines. He
died on October 7, 2021, after a battle with cancer. Multiple wineries, including August West, Calera, Luli Wines,
Loring Wine Co, Morgan, Samuel Louis Smith, Testarossa, Windy Oaks, and Wrath purchased grapes from
Cortada Alta and Peterson Vineyards. Mansfield-Dunne Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were crafted by noted
winemaker Ed Kurtzman. I reviewed a number of vintages (2011-2018) of Mansfield-Dunne wines:
www.princeofpinot.com/winery/2188/. Regrettably, I never met John in person but communicated with him
by email on a number of occasions.
California Represents a Huge Challenge for Oregon Wine David Adelsheim considers the
‘colonization’ of Oregon, particularly the Willamette Valley, by California, to be a huge challenge to the future of
the Oregon wine industry. He recently commented. Currently, about a quarter of Oregon grapes go to
California to be made into wine. This is often done at low overhead, large capacity facilities with low-cost
Oregon grapes being turned into low-priced wines. This should be good for consumers, right? Well, not if the
consumer wants an Oregon wine that tastes like what he or she has come to love. The California version
doesn’t need to follow Oregon’s strict labeling regulations so a Pinot Noir can be 25% Syrah, or worse. This is
way too complex an issue to get bogged down in details here. But, ultimately, the Willamette Valley wine
industry was built on collaboration. Growers, winemakers, salespeople work together, not brand by brand, to
raise the tide for all brands. The winemakers and salespeople at the California wineries do not collaborate with
the industry people in Oregon. They can afford to work on their own and show us how to do it “correctly.”
Obviously, this is not meant to be a diatribe against every California winery making wine from Oregon grapes.
Those who make their wine in Oregon, for example, are often very collaborative and seek to produce wines in
the traditional Willamette Valley style.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Introduces Proem The Proem Pinot Noir wines are singular
expressions from the Joseph Phelps Freestone Estate on the western Sonoma Coast. Joseph Phelps Proem
No. 1 and Proem No. 2 are from distinct blocks of the Freestone Estate. Winemaker Justin Ennis has an affinity
for Swan, CAlera and clone 777 Pinot Noir. He especially likes the Swan clone fruit in block 212 of Pastorale
Vineyard and the same can be said for the Calera clone in block 225 in the Quarter Moon Vineyard. During the
2018 harvest, two very distinctive lots were held separate, each fermented with a larger percentage of whole
cluster and a longer barrel aging regime. 2018 Proem No. 1 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $225 and 2018 Proem
No. 2 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $225. Visit www.josephphelps.com.
Palm Springs Pinotfest The second annual Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival - A Passion 4 Pinot, will
be held Saturday, January 8, 2022, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert. Readers of
the PinotFile can use promo code PRINCE for $10 off an Early Entry or General Admission ticket. Visit
www.palmspringspinotfest.com for a list of participating wineries and to acquire tickets.
Heavy Wine Bottles Receive Attention at COP26 As reported in The Washington Post
(November 4, 2021), reducing the weight of wine bottles can reduce the wine’s carbon footprint. At the recent
COP26, there was a petition gaining traction for wineries to use lighter bottles. The petition was signed by
Jancis Robinson who has campaigned against heavy wine bottles for years (so have I), The production and
transportation of glass bottles makes the greatest contribution to wine’s carbon footprint. Besides asking for
wineries to include bottle weight on tech sheets, the petition calls for a campaign to recycle glass bottles. The
petition also asks wine writers to include bottle weight in wine reviews so consumers know which wineries are
using light bottles.
Focus on the Pinot Varieties Stan Grant, a viticulturist and member of Lodi Wine Growers has
published an article focusing on the pinot varieties. This is a compact treatise on Pinot Noir and its
permutations. “Pinot varieties have some traits that make them unique among winegrape varieties, while at the
same time there is great variability within the Pinot family.” Beautiful photographs. Read more at
Two New Wine Books of Interest Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol. Written
by Mallory O’Meara, a distinguished Los Angeles Times author, this is both a pleasurable and humorous
feminist slant to the history of women and alcohol through time. Brittany Gibbons, New York Times bestselling
suthor, exclaimed, “As if being a woman today isn’t enough cause for a drink, O’Meara has compiled an
addicting history of women and the alcohol that fills their glasses. This book left me positively inebriated with
excitement about the underrated cultural footprint women have made in the world of alcohol. Cheers, ladies,
this one’s for you.” On California: From Napa to Nebbiolo….Wine Tales from the Golden State. This is a
collection of multiple essays on California’s wine industry. Mike Veseth, the publisher of The Wine Economist,
said, “The 39 essays and excerpts by 35 different authors hang together very well and make informative and
enjoyable reading. The content connects the past and present with the emerging future. Well done!”
110-Year-Old Woman Says Red Wine is Secret to Her Longevity As reported at
www.thedrinksbusiness.com, a 110-year-old woman credits red wine among her secrets to a long life.
Eileen Ash said that doing yoga twice a week and enjoying a glass of red wine helped her live and long life,
although the article did not say how often she drank a glass of red wine.
Vanessa Bryant Files Wine Trademarks The widow of NBA icon Kobe Bryant has filed four new
trademark applications under the name Mamba Vino. The filings, made on November 5, indicate that Mamba
Vino-branded wine might be on store shelves soon. The 4 new trademarks: MAMBA VINO 2024, MAMBA
VINO 24, MOMBA VINO 8, and MAMBA VINO. The numbers pay tribute to Bryant’s jersey numbers, 8 and 24,
which have been retired by the Lakes.
If Yogi Berra Was a Wine Writer
We have come to the end of another baseball season and I thought it would be of interest to consider how
baseball legend Yogi Berra might write about Pinot Noir. The former Hall of Fame catcher for the New York
Yankees became known for his “Yogi-isms.”
“If Pinot Noir were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
“When I drink a great Pinot Noir, it's deja vu all over again.”
“You can taste a lot by tasting.”
“If people don’t want to come to the winery, nobody’s going to stop them.”
“I didn’t really drink all the Pinot Noir I drank.”
“You can observe a lot by watching winemaking.”
“Great Pinot Noir is 90 percent vineyard. The other half is winemaking.”
“You better split the bottle of Pinot Noir into four parts because I’m not thirsty enough to drink six.”
Speaking of a new Pinot Noir release: “An overwhelming underdog.”
Commenting about a new popular Pinot Noir winery: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
And finally, when asked when to pick Pinot Noir: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”