Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2009 Barrel tasting at Coterie Cellars

The 2009 vintage is already being hyped by the Wine Institute as being another excellent year, particularly for early ripening varieties. Last weekend Coterie Cellars held a barrel tasting, giving me my first chance to try some of the 09 Pinot Noirs for myself.

Tucked away in an industrial unit off Almaden Expressway, Coterie Cellars is the pride and joy of Kyle and Shala Loudon. Kyle is a software developer by training who apprenticed with Eno and Harrington in Oakland before getting bonded in 2007. The winery focuses on Pinot Noir and Rhone varieties, sourcing fruit from Saralee's Vineyard in Russian River Valley and Fairview Road Ranch in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Two samples were poured from Saralee's Vineyard. The first was from Pommard 4 clone and was light and floral, with some bright cherry fruit. The second was from 667 and showed more earth and structure.

From Fairview Road Ranch came a blend of clones 113 and 23, showing more dark fruit character than the lighter Russian River Valley fruit, with some brambly notes.

For 2009 Coterie have added a third Pinot Noir vineyard - Tondre's Grapefield, also in the Santa Lucia Highlands. All the wines I've had from this vineyard until now have been made by Tony Craig and Gerald O'Brian at Silver Mountain. This is in a riper style with a darker purple colour and more concentrated black cherry and brambly fruit.

The winery is located at Unit 110, 1805 Little Orchard St. in San Jose and is open by appointment.