Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2006 Spring Ridge Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains

The Spring Ridge Vineyard in Portola Valley was planted in 1980 by Jim & Bob Varner. Over the years the Varners have established a reputation for consistent top quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. At Pinot Days they were pouring the 2005 "Neely" and 2007 "Hidden Block" Pinots; when I asked about the 2006 I was told that they still hadn't decided what was going to happen to it, as it hadn't lived up to their standards. Well now we know; they've released it under the "Spring Ridge" label. So far I've only seen this at K&L Wines.

The label itself is simple and while it's similar in style to the Varner and Neely labels, nowhere does it actually say Varner; the foil is plain black and the cork is stamped with "Neely Spring Ridge".

The wine is light in colour by California's standards, as Varner Pinots typically are. There's a nice nose of cherry, raspberry and allspice, which became more strawberry with time. At first it seemed lightweight, with cherry and cranberry fruit, and pepper on the finish, but it put on weight with air time and became more spicy. It would have benefited from being decanted for an hour; I'll know next time. This is the best under $20 Pinot Noir I've had in a while. 90