Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notes from Pinot Paradise

2007 Veranda Vineyard
Floral, rich cherry, good balance. Hint of liquorice on the finish.

Alfaro Family
2006 Lindsey Paige Vineyard
As always, a very structured wine; needs time for the fruit to show.
2007 'A' Estate
Blend of 3 vineyards. A deep, rich wine with flavours of liquorice and good tannins.

2006 Reserve
Earthy, mushroom nose. Lots of dark fruit and bold tannins.

2006 Bald Mountain
From the Ben Lomond Mountain AVA. Savoury, gamey nose. Sweet cherry fruit and a good finish.
2006 Trout Gulch Vineyard
This vineyard was planted in 1982 by the Winemaker Ryan's father, Jim Beauregard. Shows brighter fruit than the Bald Mountain, and a little heat. Good structure.

Big Basin
Bradley Brown produces 2000 cases a year. This is his 6th vintage.
2007 Branciforte Ridge
Good, bright fruit. Nice flavours of black cherry. Good acidity.
2007 Alfaro Family Vineyard
Rich and savoury. Young but showing bright fruit. Little tannic, but less so than the Alfaro wines. Very nice.

Black Ridge
2006 Estate
A big, rich wine with good balance.
2007 Estate
Nice earthy, herbal nose. Long, tannic finish. Needs a couple of years.

Burrell School
2005 Estate
Nose shows bright cherries and nutmeg. Earthy with a tannic finish.
2006 Estate
Some pear drops on the nose. Bright cherry fruit; decent acidity and tannins. Oak shows on the finish.

2006 Santa Cruz Mountains
Good balance. Plenty of dark fruit. Finishes with a tarry, smoky note.

2006 Santa Cruz Mountains
Earthy, with mushrooms backed by good cherry fruit.
2007 Santa Cruz Mountains
Not yet released. Fruity nose. Rich flavours of caramel, cherry and coffee.

Clos LaChance
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains
Nice cherry fruit; good balance
2005 Biagini Vineyard
Nice "funky" nose. Rich, concentrated fruit. Smooth finish.

Clos Tita
2005 Santa Cruz Mountains Cuvee
Barnyard on the nose. Rich and full. Earthy/loamy with hints of violets and peppery spice. Long finish.
2005 Estate
Lots of acidity. Flavours of black cherry and liquorice. Long, tannic finish.

2008 Santa Cruz Mountains barrel sample
Very primary. Notes of lavendar and violets. Medium bodied; good acidity
2007 Santa Cruz Mountains barrel sample
Clearly more evolved than the 08, but still showing bright acidity. A bit more structure and less fruit.
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains
Earthy, with notes of wild strawberries and cherries. Nice acidity.

2005 Terra Serena Vineyard
This Corralitos vineyard has gone by many names including Matteson, Ciardella and Woodruff.
Odd nose; hints of ginger and aldehyde. Full bodied; chocolate notes. Lot of tannin.
2006 Vista del Mare Vineyard
Pear drops on the nose. Full bodied with lush cherry fruit.

Heart O' The Mountain
2006 Estate
A big, rich, structured wine. Hints of barnyard, mushroom and loam. Good cherry fruit.

Hunter Hill
2007 Estate
Lots of oak on the nose. Smooth cherry flavours. What it lacks in acidity it makes up for in tannins.

King's Mountain
2005 Estate
A spicy nose with hints of nutmeg and clove. Rich and earthy with chocolate and cherry notes. Coffee on the finish.

Loma Prieta
2005 Saveria Vineyard
Deep colour. A tight, heavy wine with lots of tannin slowly revealing some nice cherry fruit.
2006 Saveria Vineyard
A much lighter colour than the 05. Lots of espresso coffee; fruit is in the background.

At under $30, the McHenrys makes some of the best value Pinot in the region.
2005 Estate
Bright, floral nose. Soft with rich fruit and a long finish.
2006 Estate "Swan Clone"
Similar, showing more dark fruit at this stage than the 05.

Mount Eden
What can you say about Mount Eden? Jeffrey Patterson consistently produces some of the best Pinots in the country.
2005 Estate
Beautiful perfumed nose. A rich, concentrated wine with lots of fruit.
2006 Estate
More barnyard 'funk' on the nose than the 05. Good structure and acidity. More earth, less fruit on the palate.

Earthy 'funk' on the nose with notes of cola. Sweet black fruit and a long finish.
Rich and full, with deep fruit flavours and cedar notes.

Did not taste

Pelican Ranch
Did not taste

Pleasant Valley
2006 sees the launch of two additional Pinots from the nearby Lester Family (formerly Deer Park) Vineyard. The wines are from two distinct blocks within the vineyard, which are planted with different Pinot clones, and were vinified and bottled separately (though you have to look closely as the labels are very similar). Initially just 75 cases were produced, increasing to 250 cases in 2008.
2005 Dylan David Estate
Complex, floral nose. Rich, concentrated cherry fruit and a long finish
2006 Dylan David Lester Family Vineyard, Willa Louise's Block
Dijon 667 clone. Bright strawberry nose. Sweet cherry fruit on the palate.
2006 Dylan David Lester Family Vineyard, Thelma Henrietta’s Block
Dijon 115 clone. Savoury nose. Rich, with a long, tannic finish.
It was interesting to compare these side by side. These are the best young wines I've tasted from Deer Park.

Tasted; no note.

Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard
Since taking over at SCMV, Jeff Emery has introduced a subtle stylistic change. He's trying to make the wines more accessible when young; less tannic and acidic, but hopefully without sacrificing their ageworthiness. As a result his 2005 Branciforte was named one of the SF Chronicle's top 100m wines last year.
2005 Branciforte Creek
A big, earthy, spicy wine. Nicely balanced with good acidity. Tastes good now, will get better.
2005 Bailey's
Earthy with big cherry fruit flavours and a great finish.

Sarah's Vineyard
Did not taste.

Silver Mountain
2005 Miller Hill
Berry/strawberry notes. Good acidity; mineral finish.
2006 Miller Hill
Alison loved this. Soft and fruity - she described it as "Cherry, cherry and cherry". Notes of pepper on the finish.
2006 Muns Vineyard
Much more structured and darker cherry/fruit flavours.

2006 Muns Vineyard
Lots of tannin. Good acidity, nice mouthfeel, but needs time to unwind.
2007 Muns Vineyard
Showed more cherry fruit at this stage than the 06 did. Hints of nutmeg, still plenty of tannin.

2007 Saveria Vineyard
A rich, full, fruity wine. Decent structure and a long finish with cedar notes.

2006 Santa Cruz Mountains
Very spicy and peppery. Nice cherry flavours and good acidity.
2006 Wildcat Ridge
Again, spicy with rich fruiot flavours, notes of cedar and cola. Good finish.

Thomas Fogarty
Did not taste

Trout Gulch
Did Not Taste

Vine Hill
Did not taste

Windy Oaks
2006 Wild Yeast
Elusive but beautiful nose. Cherry fruit with violet, lavender and earthy notes. Great structure. One of my favourites.
2006 Diane's Block
Tasted; no note.

2005 Estate
Savoury, meaty nose. Deep, rich and concentrated flavours, with a long finish showing hints of truffle.
2006 Estate
Much more forward than the 2005. Lots of sweet cherry fruit.