American Pinot Noir: Vintage Wines Ltd, Monthly Thursday Tasting
American Pinot Noir
August 18 6:30PM
Seventh Third Thursday Tasting for 2005 at Vintage Wines of San Diego. This one written up as: We will taste wines from California and Oregon in an attempt to finally put an end to the battle as to who makes the best Pinot. Eight wines all from the best producers will be sampled.
The wines were served single blind, and as is my usual practice I did not look at the list. The wines are listed in the order they were tasted. Identities were revealed at the end of the tasting.
Willakenzie Estate Willamette Valley Terres Bases 2002 $43.99USD
Cherry red with red edge. Ripe fruit with notes of banana, smoke and dusty oak. Full bodied with flavors carying well onto the palate. Well balanced with clean acidity. 2, 2, 3.0, 10.0 = 17.9/20, 89/100, 14.6% alcohol.
Byron Santa Maria Valley Nielson Vineyard 2001 $33.99USD
Cherry red with red edge. Ripe fruit with caramel and toasted notes and faint barnyard. Full bodied, well balanced with soft and supple caress on the palate. A pleasant wine. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.9 = 17.7/20, 88/100. 14.4% alcohol.
Failla Sonoma Coast Hirsch Vineyard 2003 $44.99USD
Light cherry red with pink edge. Looks unfiltered. Very aromatic with notes of spices, dusty oak and celery! Developed strawberry and dried tea leaves aromas. Less than full bodied with soft tannins and prominent acidity. Excellent presence of flavors on the palate. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.0 = 18.1/20, 91/100. 14.1% alcohol.
Foley Santa Rita Hills Rancho Santa Rosa 2002 $25.99USD
Cherry red with red edge. Very impressive flavors of cherries, spices and strawberry. Medium weight with mouth watering acidity. Excellent structure with wonderful depth to the flavors on the palate. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.2 = 18.4/20, 92/100. 13.9% alcohol.
Flowers Sonoma Coast Andreen-Gale Cuvee 2002 $44.99USD
Cherry red with faint orange tinge to the edge. Slightly closed, earthy, dusty, cherries. Developed spices. Medium weight with greater depth of flavor on the palate. Well balanced with excellent structure, and clean acidity to the finish. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.2 = 18.3/20, 92/100. 14.2% alcohol.
Sea Smoke Santa Rita Hills Southing 2003 $42.99USD
Cherry red with red edge. Spices, cherry and strawberry together with vanilla. Medium weight, very well balanced with clean acidity and soft tannins. Wonderful depth and complexity of flavors on the palate. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.4 = 18.5/20, 93/100. 14.5% alcohol.
Archery Summit Willamette Valley Renegade Ridge Estate 2003 $47.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Blackberry, cherry and smoky oak and some alcohol heat. Medium weight but feels thin across the palate due to the pronounced astringency. Clean acidity to the finish. 2, 2, 4.0, 9.4 = 17.4/20, 87/100. 14.5% alcohol.
Argyle Willamette Valley Reserve 2003 $24.99USD (Screwcap)
Light cherry red with pink edge. Closed with hints of rose petal, cherry and dusty oak. Medium weight with mouth watering acidity and good presence of flavors on the palate. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.8 = 17.6/20, 88/100. 15.0% alcohol.
Sanford Santa Rita Hills Sanford & Benedict Vineyard 2002 $39.99USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Smoky oak, blackberry and faint ethyl acetate (EA). Bright acidity and mouth drying astringency. Lacks depth to the mid-palate. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.8 = 17.6/20, 88/100. 14.5% alcohol.
This was an interesting tasting. The wines from the Santa Rita hills (Sea Smoke and Foley) being very impressive. The Sea Smoke was easily the wine of the night (WOTN) while the Foley providing the best value.
The Archery Summit and the Sanford were atypical for Pinot Noir, at least the picture I have of Pinot Noir in my mind. Both wines seemed more extracted than the others, and unbalanced due to the over abundant astringency.
The Oregonian wines did not fair well in this tasting with the California wines showing more varietal character.