Friday, April 18, 2008

1997 Cronin Central Coast Pinot Noir

"Retired computer consultant Duane Cronin may just be the most talented small winemaker in America. His wines have Old World balance and proportion coupled with beautiful Santa Cruz Mountain fruit." -- Richard Nalley, Food & Wine Magazine, 2004

Duane Cronin was one of the early Silicon Valley techies who retired to pursue a second career in winemaking. From 1980 to 2000 Cronin Vineyards made Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet (plus a smattering of other wines) from a variety of sources, from Monterey to Sonoma. He gaines a reputation for excellent, long lived wines. Sadly Duane retired from winemaking in 2000 and died in 2007. Prior to his death he came to an arrangement that K&L Wines would sell off the contents of his library, and as a result us Cronin fans have had the opportunity to grab some amazing values.

While the 1997 Central Coast Pinot Noir may not be the finest wine that Duane ever made it's certainly a good example of his style. Light in colour with a nose that while unmistakably Pinot Noir also has other elements that I couldn't identify, and just a hint of volatile acidity. On the palate there's good fruit as well as a strong note of asian spice - star anise and clove - backed by good acidity. Showing well for a ten year old wine; unlikely to improve but not showing any signs of falling apart. Great value at $10.