Sunday, June 28, 2009

Brief notes from Pinot Days

Just got back from Pinot Days - a great event as usual. Got to see lots of friends and meet some new people.

Tried lots of interesting wines, mostly from outside the area. David Dain Smith is making some great wines out of Crushpad in San Francisco. Loved his American Beauty and Savage Juliet. Peter Cargasacchi had a very interesting rose-ish of Pinot Grigio; traditionally one of my least favourite grapes. Most people treat this as a white grape but the skins do have some colour. Andy Peay had a lovely Rousanne/Marsanne blend and some nice Pinots too. Eric Lundblad's Ladd Cellars had several interesting pinots, including a lovely Sonoma Coast. Carmel Road have a remarkably good value pinot from Monterey that can be found for under $15

Here are my rather brief notes from some of the local producers.

Coterie Cellars
A new winery that's opened up in San Jose, making Pinot Noir, Roussanne and Syrah from grapes purchased from the Russian River Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands. The owners used to be part of a group operating out of a facility in Berkeley. Very promising start; I hope to visit them soon.

2007 Fairview Road Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands $35
Smoky black cherry nose; Smooth, rich flavours of cherry, strawberry and smoke. Nice structure; dry, tannic finish 90

2007 Saralee Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley $38
Tighter nose than the Fairview; some fresh strawberry. Earthy, with strawberry and a hint of menthol 87

2008 Fairview Road Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands (Barrel Sample)
Good cherry nose. Lots of sweet, primary black cherry fruit, some underbrush, dry tannic finish. 89+

One of my perennial favourite Chardonnay producers, and their Pinots are great too. All fruit is from the Spring Ridge vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

2007 "Hidden Block" Pinot Noir
Lovely spicy cherry nose. Rich, concentrated flavours of cherry, cranberry and sour strawberry. Oak shows on the longish finish. Very good indeed. 92

2005 Neely "Holly's Cuvee" Pinot Noir
Hint of funk, cherry, cinnamon & sandalwood. Good acidity; balanced and fresh. Nice cherry fruit, some tannin on the finish. Showing well 91

2005 Neely "Picnic Block"
Unusual nose; I got green apple/pear. Very tart, lots of acid & tannin 84

2006 "Ampitheater Block" Chardonnay
Nose showed vanilla & pear and a slightly mature character. Rich and creamy, green apple and pear flavours. Lots of lemon & lime and acidity on the finish 88

2006 "Bee Block" Chardonnay
Fresh apples and vanilla. Creamy lemon sorbet and vanilla ice-cream. Long finish. Lovely 92

Thomas Fogarty
All fruit sourced from their estate vineyard off Skyline boulevard in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

2007 Estate Pinot Noir
Light nose of candied cherries. Sweet cherry fruit, slightly tannic. Pleasant but fairly simple 86

2007 Windy Hill Pinot Noir
Nice sweet, floral nose. Rich flavours of sweet cherry & cranberry, some chewy oak tannins, good finish. 89

2007 Rapley Trail
Earthy, smoky nose. Smooth black cherry & lime flavours. Coarse tannins on the finish 88

Sarah's Vineyard
Good producer in the Santa Clara Valley, pouring two new single vineyard wines. The Veranda vineyard is an 80 acre vineyard in the Pajaro Valley near Corralitos; the fruit is purchased by several local producers. The Rebhahn vineyard is a 4 acre property planted in 1997 in Scotts Valley by Val Rebhahn. The fruit was used by his Glenwood Oaks label. The vineyard is now being managed by Sarah's winemaker, Robert Henson.

2007 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Clara Valley
Sweet cherry nose. Smooth, rich cherry and loamy flavours, nice balance & structure 90

2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Nice nose of cherry & oak, slightly floral. Great cherry, earth & cranberry, long tannic finish. 91

2007 Veranda Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Earthy - almost cheesy - nose. Nice, rich cherry and strawberry with a little spice and a medium finish 87

2007 Rebhahn Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Aromas of sour cherry, herbs and smoke. Lots of tannin; flavours of dried cranberry & black cherry. Sweeter on the finish. Needs time. 89