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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some Pinot Noirs - January 13, 2010

We tasted last night (1/13/10) Some Pinot Noirs:

  1. Dehlinger PinotNoir GoldridgeVnyd/RRV (EB; 14.7%) 2007: Med.color; lovely black cherry/cherry/PN some pencilly/oak slight smokey classic Dehlinger nose; tart elegant/balanced very spicy/cherry/black cherry/PN some pencilly/oak flavor; long very spicy cherry/black cherry/PN light pencilly/smokey/oak finish w/ light tannins; a lovely/balanced classic Dehlinger PN. $44.00
  2. Dehlinger PinotNoir Reserve RRV (EB; 14.9%) 2006: Med.color; deeper more black cherry/PN some toasty/ pungent/oak/charred bigger/more complex nose; bit softer big/some tannic deep black cherry/PN some toasty/pungent/oak flavor; very long bit tannic/hard structured deep black cherry/PN some toasty/pungent/ oak finish; less bright cherry and more bass/black cherry character w/ more tannins & structure and more toasty/oak character; a big Pinot that needs 2-6 yrs. $57.00
  3. Radio-Coteau LaNeblina SonomaCoast PinotNoir (14.4%; 1688 cs; U/U) 2007: Med.color; bright/zippy spicy/ cherry/PN light earthy very light pencilly/oak lovely/perfumed nose; tart somewhat tannic/structured very spicy/bright/cherry/PN/cherry cough syrup light pencilly/oak balanced/perfumed flavor; very long rather tannic/structured bright/spicy/cherry/cherry cough syrup/PN very light/pencilly/oak finish; a lovely spicy/ bright/cherry/PN that needs 2-6 yrs; wonderful aromatics. $45.00
  4. Radio-Coteau SavoyVnyd/AndersonVlly PinotNoir (14.7%; 536 cs; U/U) 2007: Med.dark color; deeper bit closed/ tight strong/black cherry/PN bit more toasty/oak slight earthy/dusty lovely nose; rather tart fairly tannic/hard/structured bit tight/closed strong black cherry/PN some toasty/oak flavor; very long rather tannic/hard strong perfumed/black cherry/PN some toasty/oak finish; seems rather tight & closed and needing some age. $53.00
  5. Drew PinotNoir Fog-Eater AndersonVlly (382 cs; 13.5%; www.DrewWines.com;
    60% MonumentTreeVnyd/ 40% HenneburgVnyd) 2008
    : Med.dark color; earthy/dusty less black cherry/PN fruit some vanilla/oak rather spicy very attractive nose; softer/lusher strong black cherry/PN/pungent some vanilla/ oak bit tannic/hard flavor; very long bit tannic/hard some vanilla/oak lush/black cherry/PN finish; needs 2-5 yrs of age; rather big & lush for AndersonVlly Pinot. $36.00
  6. Drew PinotNoir ValentiVnyd/MendocinoRidge (362 cs; 13.8%; Clones: 667,114) 2008: Med.light color; deeper/ richer black cherry/PN/spicy some toasty/oak/vanilla bit earthy nose; softer/lush/rich/full-bodied strong black cherry/PN some toasty/vanilla/oak flavor; long lush/softer some toasty/charred/oak strong black cherry/PN finish w/ light tannins; needs several yrs; the most drinkable of these first 6 Pinots; lovely ripe Pinot. $36.00
  7. Peay ScallopShelf Estate PinotNoir SonomaCoast (14.2%; 840 cs; www.PeayVineyards.com) 2007Light color; rather Burgundian/toasty/oak slight leathery/horsecollar fragrant/spicy/bright/cherry/PN slight earthy very perfumed/fragrant/aromatic nose; tart bright cherry/PN/spicy some earthy/Burgundian/toasty/oak bit tannic/structured very attractive flavor; long bright cherry/PN/spicy light earthy/toasty/oak/Burgundian bit tannic/structured/hard finish; easily the most Burgundian of these Pinots; loads of bright/spicy Pinot fruit; needs 4-8 yrs of age. $56.00
  8. FortRoss PinotNoir FortRossVnyd/SonomaCoast (738 cs; www.FortRossVineyard.com; 14%) 2005: Med.color; rather earthy/dusty/smokey/pungent some licorice/black cherry/PN nose; tart rather earthy/dusty bit simple/ clunky some black cherry/PN light toasty/charred/pungent/oak flavor; med. earthy/dusty some black cherry/PN bit toasty/charred/oak some tannic finish; not the bright cherry character I'd expect from very cold-climate Pinot; but simple/clunky/earthy; tastes like a Pinot made by a Pinotage producer. $43.00
  9. Manzoni FamilyEstateVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands (14.7%; StevePassagni/Winemaker;
    www.ManzoniWines.com)  2006
    : Med.dark color; rather funky/wintergreen/herbal slight black cherry/PN very ripe/overripe strange nose; soft/flat slight herbal overripe/soupy some toasty/oak slight black cherry/PN flavor; med.short soft/soupy overripe bit black cherry/PN some toasty/oak finish w/ little tannins; rather strange Pinot w/ a lot of overripe character and soft/soupy on the palate. $22.00
  10. Sequana SarmentoVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands PinotNoir (14.8%; Winemaker: JamesMacPhail;
    www.SequanaVineyards.com) Sebastapol 2007
    : Med.light color; very strong burnt/charred/oak/toasty very slight black cherry/PN little fruit nose; soft rich/lush some black cherry/PN slight herbal very strong
    burnt/charred/oak/toasty slight tannic flavor; med. strong charred/pungent/toasty/oak slight black cherry
    PN finish w/ light tannins; not a lot of fruit, not much SLH/herbal character and slammed w/ charred/
    toasty/oak. $35.00
  11. OjaiVnyd PinotNoir BienNacidoVnyd/SantaMariaVlly (14.0%) 2007: Med.dark color; strong toasty/oak/smokey/ pungent deep/black cherry/PN very fragrant classic Ojai Pinot nose; tart very spicy/black cherry/PN/ripe bit plummy/earthy some toasty/oak/smokey flavor; very long plummy/ripe/black cherry/PN some toasty/ smokey/oak/pungent finish w/ fair tannins; needs at least 2 yrs of age and should go out 10; a classic Ojai BienNacido Pinot at a great price. $37.00
  12. JosephSwanVnyds NorthernSonoma PinotNoir (EB; TW) 1984: Med.light color w/ slight bricking; some smokey/ pungent/toasty/oak/pencilly/cedary slight sauerkraut rather earthy/dusty some Burgundian old Calif red some perfumed/fragrant fairly complex nose; soft/smooth elegant/complex rather pencilly/ cedary/oak light earthy/ Burgundian slight dried out/tannic flavor; long cedary/pencilly/oak/ complex slighht black cherry/PN/earthy/ Burgundian some dried out/tannic finish; very attractive/complex nose but a bit dried out/tannic on the palate; holding on for life but barely; still a pleasure to drink.

And the usual made-up stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Dehlinger: Two more Pinot winners from TomDehlinger. I actually preferred to GoldRidge for its
brighter/spicy character and more classic Dehlinger PN character; These both should easily go out 10 yrs, maybe longer.
2. Radio-Coteau: EricSussman used to be asst winemaker at Dehlinger. Their similarities in style speak of that background. I typically find the R-C Pinots somewhat less oaked and a bit more spicy/perfumed in character. I particularly like Eric's Syrahs as some of the best Calif Syrahs made in a more elegant style....a Syrah that speaks of a Pinot producer. And his vonWeidlich Zin are some of the best Calif Zins being made these days. Alas, the '07 is his last one. I very much hope he can line up another old-vine Zin vnyd to work with; he's a master of that grape. Of these two Pinots, I somewhat preferred the Neblina for its more perfumed/forward character. The Savoy seem rather tight & closed and needing a yr or two of age to really show well.
3. Drew: I've followed Jason & Molly Drew's wines from the very start..down in SantaBarbaraCnty. I loved their wines, but thought they were a bit lost in the noise down there w/ some many outstanding producers. So when they pulled up stakes and returned to their home turf in te AndersonVlly, I was very excited as I felt they would stand out more in that crowd. There are a fair number of Pinot producers in the Anderson Vlly and I think they are has good as any Pinots coming from there these days. But it's their Syrahs that excite me the most and where I think they can demonstrate that the AndersonVlly has as great a Syrah vnyd as any in Calif.

They also make an Albarino that is as good as any from Calif I've yet had. What I would really like
to see them try is Zinfandel. There's an abundance of very good Zin vnyds, both on Mendocino Ridge and down in the UkiahVlly. It would be knockout Zin I suspect. I badly need to make a visit w/ them in their new digs up there. Maybe in March.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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