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Tasting notes on a new Pinot Noir from Halleck Vineyards on the Sonoma Coast, and a Cabernet from Morey Cellars, in Napa Valley. Tasted Wednesday, August 25, 2004. The wines were tasted in a single non-blind flight over a period of six hours.

Overall impressions: each of these wines were excellent, and worthy additions to any cellar. As a Pinot fan, I love the balance between the cherry from the Sonoma Coast, and the strawberry from the Russian River appellations. As a Cabernet fan, I am especially impressed with what was accomplished with a wine from what has been considered to be a difficult vintage. Bravo to both of these producers.

Tasting Notes

2002 Halleck Pinot Noir – Halleck Vnyd, Sonoma Coast. $55.
Medium-dark ruby-garnet color. Lovely nose of black and bing cherry, along with lighter scents of strawberry, espresso and an interesting floral note. Full and rich in mouthfeel, with a light candied ribbon running from mid to latter palate. Fabulous balance, with plenty of dark cherry fruit, in addition to flavors of cranberry, orange pekoe tea, and even a bit of pepper on the very long lightly spiced finish. The lighter espresso notes show-off the deft touch on the French oak, adding to the structure, and spicing up the finish a bit. The profile here strikes me as an interesting balance between two local AVAs – the predominantly darker fruit from Sonoma Coast, combined with hints of the RRV’s lighter strawberry-like notes. Just beautiful! 84 Cases.

Aroma score: A- Taste score: A- Overall score: A-

2000 Morey Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley. $40.
Beautiful cassis-scented nose with additional notes of toast, dried flowers, and a touch of melon. Slightly chewy mouthfeel, yet very smooth across the palate, the ripe dark fruit flavors are nicely integrated with the very fine-grained tannins. Slightly more to the Claret side of extraction, the mouthfeel seems surprisingly full, silky smooth, and more than a little succulent. Excellent balance throughout, and a deliciously long smooth finish. First commercial release from this winery, and in a difficult vintage, this is a very impressive effort! 187 Cases.
Aroma score: A- Taste score: A- Overall score: A-

Behind the Label

The Vineyard & The Wine:

Second commercial release from this 1-acre, 7th leaf vineyard, owned by Ross and Jennifer Halleck. Located at 900’ in the hills west of Sebastapol.

Harvested September 24, 1.2 tons/acre, 23.2o Brix. Fermentation used all native yeast for both primary and secondary. Aged in French oak and on the lees for 10 months in Francois Freres, Billon and Remond (60% new). 84 cases bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Winemaker was Greg La Follette, of Tandem, who also produced a 2002 Halleck Vnyd designate (87 cases) for Tandem (their last). Of the two wines, the Tandem spent less time in oak and was released sooner. Greg will continue as winemaker for the Halleck label.

Behind the Label

The Vineyard & The Wine:

Made by proprietor and winemaker, Robert Morey. though he has made wines for a decade or more, this is the first commercial release of his Cabernet.

Comprised of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from a small well-known (yet unable to name) vineyard off the Silverado Trail in St. Helena.

Harvested October 28, 2000, and aged 24 months in French oak. Coopers were Taransaud, Allié, and Nevers (40% new). 187 cases were bottled December 4, 2002.

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