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2010 Pinot Days Grand Tasting (plus trade tasting)

July 5, 2010

2010 PINOT DAYS GRAND TASTING (PLUS TRADE TASTING) – Fort Mason, San Francisco, California (6/25/2010-6/27/2010)


view of fog over the Golden Gate Bridge on my way to the Pinot Days Grand Tasting

As I’ve written in my summaries on the three Pinot Days Saturday seminars, it’s clear that 2008 was a rough year for Pinot in California, due to the weather and fire related challenges. Due to the early and late frosts, drought conditions and severe storms in many parts of the state, some growers’ yields were greatly reduced. and it was a challenge to pick at a time not impacted by heavy rain or frost in a few places. Add to that the fires that ravaged thousands of acres in Southern California, the Central Coast, Napa and Anderson Valley, and you have the smoke effects on a lot of grapes too. Some chose to still produce wines from those areas, and to reduce the smoke effects (but also, inevitably, some of the other flavors) through reverse osmosis, while a couple of producers chose to unabashedly put out smoke tainted Pinot. And 2008 continued a trend since 2006 of picking earlier, aiming for lower alcohols and greater acidity, which is a wonderful trend in my opinion, but which also contributed to many ’08s (and ’07s too) being lighter bodied and higher in acid than Cali Pinots of the recent past.

A trend I’m much less thrilled about is the increasing inclusion of whole clusters in California Pinot. While there may be times when a small percentage of very ripe stems can add some complexity and/or structure to Pinot, I think there’s lots less justification for adding them to Pinot as a matter of course than there is with Syrah, which can really benefit from a substantial amount of whole cluster inclusion. In this year’s Pinot Days tasting, I tasted more wines than ever that were showing their stems more than their fruit–with whole cluster percentages ranging from 5 to 100%. I think a few of the wines that had a small percentage of whole clusters–from 7% up to 15%–wore them pretty well, but I really didn’t appreciate the heavy greenness of those that went for 25, 50 and 100% whole cluster. It’s hard to see all that stemminess integrating, especially over the relatively short potential lifetimes of many of these thinner and lighter ’08s.

This year I had the benefit of not only attending the Grand Tasting, but also Friday’s trade tasting (and the Saturday seminars, which I’ve written up separately), so I managed to taste a record (for me) 280 or so wines during the weekend events, the vast majority of them Pinots (i.e., not counting the occasional Chard, Pinot Gris and Cabernet that some producers poured alongside their Pinots). This allowed me to stray from my usual list of established and reliable producers, to try some brand new producers, as well as some older producers I knew little about. The results of this exploration were generally not good. It seems to me that there are an increasing number of small, vanity producers out there, with more money than wine sense, who have heard that Pinot is the hot grape, and so plant a bunch of it and start producing wines with the third leaf (and charging not much less than the established producers) that have little going for them. I was so shocked at the level of brett in one of these wines in particular that I actually mentioned it to the man pouring, who’d asked me what I thought of the wine, and who turned out to be the owner. He didn’t know what brett was, even after I spelled it out as “brettanomyces” and told him the effect it has on wine. He said he’d have to ask his winemaker about it. Should someone who has never even heard of brett be making and selling a California Pinot? I can see a lot of good reasons (including this wine) for saying no.

The Grand Tasting was very well organized, as usual (Steven and Lisa Rigisich, and their partners, do an amazing job), although attendance was reportedly down 22% or so from the prior year. I don’t know whether this is due more to the advance word on the ’08 vintage, or the lingering effects of a poor economy. As a participant, I didn’t mind not having to fight through big crowds around particular producers, and having plenty of room in the long Festival Hall. I also enjoyed the relatively small attendance at the trade tasting, since the small confines in which that tasting was held (and the poor acoustics) made for some crowding by the last hour or so as well as a mind-numbing din of noise.

There were quite a few Oregon producers this year, and I tried to get to all of those on hand on Friday, because of the strong press for the ’08 vintage there (in contrast to California). Between the Friday and Sunday events, I still couldn’t make it to all the producers I’d like to have tasted, having to omit some that I’ve tasted recently and usually like, like August West, Clos Pepe (although I did taste the current release at a Saturday seminar), Freeman, Halleck, Keller and Siduri. As usual, I came across some producers that I either knew nothing about or hadn’t properly appreciated before, whose wines quite impressed me. The list of those finds this year included Adastra (not covered below as I mentioned them in my Saturday seminar reports), Baxter, Fess Parker, Rusack and Saxon-Browne. I was not at all surprised by the good showings from others that I was already pretty familiar with: Alma Rosa, Arcadian, Benovia, Bjornstad, Eric Kent, Etude, Fort Ross (whose ’05 Reserve was my WOTW), Ladd Cellars, Mahoney, Merry Edwards, Pelerin, Pey-Marin, Pisoni, Small Vines and Sojourn. I have to honestly say, however, that I tasted many more mediocre and weak Pinots this year than at any prior Pinot Days (no doubt, in part, due to the fact that I tasted even more than usual, and strayed further off my list of usual suspects than ever before). Below are my notes on 243 wines, representing 84 producers. Thanks to the computing magic of CellarTracker, I can see that my average score for the 101 wines I tasted Friday, when I was aiming for a number of producers that I already like but hadn’t tasted recently, and all the Oregon wine I could find, was 89.42 points, whereas on Sunday, when I added a number of producers I knew little or nothing about, my average score for 132 wines fell to 88.08.

There’s not much growers and winemakers can do when weather sucks, and fires are raging nearby. I do hope, however, that Pinot makers who are using a lot of whole clusters will retaste and rethink that trend. I also hope the trend toward less alcohol and higher acidities continues, and is supported by more great vintages, like ’05 and ’07. I’m not sure what can be done about the vanity producers, other than let market forces do their job. I’m tempted to add some tough comments about a few such producers represented below, but I think I’ll just let the tasting notes and low scores speak for me on those.

Alana

  • 2008 Alana Estate Pinot Noir – New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough (6/27/2010)
    Cherry, black cherry nose; earthy, tart cherry, black raspberry palate with sap; medium finish (89 pts.)

Domaine Alfred

Alma Rosa

Richard Sanford

  • 2008 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/25/2010)
    Lovely, deep cherry, raspberry, baked cherry nose; tasty, plush but refined, tart cherry, raspberry palate with grip; medium finish (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/25/2010)
    Refined tart cherry, raspberry nose; tasty, ripe raspberry, tart cherry palate, plush and fine; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (vines planted in 2000) (92 pts.)

Ancient Oak

Arcadian

Joe Davis

  • 2005 Arcadian Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/25/2010)
    Deep cherry, baked cherry, berry nose; ripe cherry, baked cherry, berry palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Arcadian Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/25/2010)
    Earthy, tart black cherry, brine nose; tasty, tart red fruit, brine, tart red fruit palate; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Arcadian Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/25/2010)
    Earthy, mineral nose; savory, tart red fruit, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Arcadian Pinot Noir Fiddlestix – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/25/2010)
    Nice floral, hibiscus, tart red fruit nose; tasty, tart red fruit, hibiscus palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
  • 2006 Arcadian Pinot Noir Jill’s Cuvée – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/25/2010)
    Rosehips, hibiscus, tart red fruit nose; tasty, tart red fruit, hibiscus, rosehips palate; medium finish 92+ pts. (100% Solomon Hills fruit) (92 pts.)

Archery Summit

  • 2007 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Premier Cuvée – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Mineral, tart red fruit, tart cherry nose with green notes; tasty, tart red fruit, cranberry palate with green notes and grip; medium finish (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Red Hills Estate – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills (6/25/2010)
    Green herbal, basil, camphor nose; tasty, tight, tart red fruit, mineral, herbal palate with depth; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)

Baxter

Phil Baxter, Jr.

  • 2007 Baxter Pinot Noir Toulouse Vineyard – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/25/2010)
    Red fruit, cranberry nose; tasty, ripe cherry, cranberry palate with depth; medium finish (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Baxter Pinot Noir Run Dog Vineyard – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/25/2010)
    Deep baked cherry, cranberry nose; tasty, tart cherry, cranberry, lively, balanced palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Baxter Winery Pinot Noir Oppenlander Vineyard – USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (6/25/2010)
    Deep cherry, black cherry, baked cherry nose; deep cherry, black cherry, baked cherry palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)

Belle Glos

Benovia

  • 2008 Benovia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Nice cherry, raspberry, floral nose; velvety textured, tart cherry framboise palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (7% whole cluster) (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Benovia Pinot Noir Cohn Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County (6/27/2010)
    Nice tart cherry, floaty nose; tasty, tart cherry, tart raspberry palate with French oak notes; medium finish (Fall 2010 release; 17 mos. in 50% new French oak) (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Floral, orange, cherry nose; tasty, tart cherry, suave palate; medium finish (92 pts.)

Big Table

Bjornstad

  • 2009 Bjornstad Pinot Noir Rosé – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Light pink grapefruit, tart strawberry nose; light, crisp, tart strawberry, pink grapefruit palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Bjornstad Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Nice, fresh lemon, floral, light pineapple nose; youthful, tart lemon, mineral, tangy palate with refreshing acidity; medium finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Bjornstad Pinot Noir Sonoma County – USA, California, Sonoma County (6/27/2010)
    Tart cherry, dried cherry, sandalwood nose; light bodied, dried cherry, sandalwood palate with medium acidity; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Bjornstad Pinot Noir Hellenthal Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Oak, incense nose; tasty, tart red fruit, orange palate, needs 1 or 2 years; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Boekenoogen

  • 2007 Boekenoogen Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/27/2010)
    Floral, dried cherry nose; tasty, dried cherry, French oak palate; medium finish (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Boekenoogen Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/27/2010)
    Black cherry, berry, floral nose; tart black cherry palate with less acidity than the ’07; medium finish 88+ pts. (88 pts.)

Bohemian

Bouchaine

  • 2006 Bouchaine Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/27/2010)
    Tart red fruit, mineral nose; tart red fruit, mineral palate; medium finish 87+ pts. (87 pts.)
  • 2007 Bouchaine Pinot Noir – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/27/2010)
    Deep herbal, tart black fruit nose; herbal, tart black fruit palate; medium finish (88 pts.)

C. Donatiello

Chris Donatiello

Calera

  • 2009 Calera Pinot Noir Vin Gris – USA, California, Central Coast (6/27/2010)
    Light red fruit nose; tart red fruit palate with medium acidity; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Calera Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast (6/27/2010)
    Tart black fruit6, tar nose; tart black fruit, tar palate; medium finish (88 pts.)
  • 2007 Calera Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Mount Harlan (6/27/2010)
    Intriguing black fruit nose; black fruit, charcoal palate; medium finish 88+ pts. (88 pts.)
  • 2007 Calera Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Mount Harlan (6/27/2010)
    Tart cherry, floral nose; tart cherry, floral, rosehips palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2002 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Mount Harlan (6/27/2010)
    VA, mature, dried red fruit nose; dried red fruit, tobacco palate; medium finish 88+ pts. (88 pts.)

Calstar

Cambria

  • 2007 Cambria Pinot Noir Clone 23 – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/27/2010)
    Nice tart cherry, sandalwood nose; odd, tart cherry palate with green notes; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Cambria Pinot Noir Julia’s Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/27/2010)
    Cherry, oak nose; oak, cherry, red fruit palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • 2007 Cambria Pinot Noir Bench Break – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/27/2010)
    Herbal, tart black fruit nose; herbal, tart black fruit, camphor palate; medium finish 87+ pts. (87 pts.)

Ca’ Momi

  • 2008 Ca’ Momi Pinot Noir – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/25/2010)
    Tart watermelon juice, baked red fruit, oak, reduction nose; odd, tart red fruit, herbal palate with medium acidity; medium finish (78 pts.)

Caraccioli

  • 2007 Caraccioli Cellars Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/27/2010)
    Earthy, tart red fruit nose; red fruit, acidulated palate; medium finish (82 pts.)

Cargasacchi

Carmel Road

  • 2006 Carmel Road Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Arroyo Seco (6/27/2010)
    Strawberry cream soda nose; tart cherry, cola palate; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Carmel Road Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey (6/27/2010)
    Carbonic maceration, camphor nose; camphor, stems, tart red fruit palate; medium finish (87 pts.)

Carr

  • 2008 Carr Pinot Noir Three Vineyards – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/27/2010)
    Ripe cherry, red plum nose; ripe cherry, red plum, simple palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2008 Carr Pinot Noir Turner Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/27/2010)
    Red plum nose; red plum palate; medium finish (85 pts.)
  • 2008 Carr Pinot Noir Kessler-Haak – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/27/2010)
    Plum, berry nose; tart red plum palate; medium finish (85 pts.)

Cartograph

  • 2008 Cartograph Pinot Noir Two Pisces – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Black cherry, plum nose; earthy, black cherry, plum, tar palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • 2008 Cartograph Pinot Noir Split Rock – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Black cherry syrup, caramel nose; black cherry syrup, caramel palate; medium finish (85 pts.)

Chronicle

Cima Collina

Clouds Rest

  • 2008 Clouds Rest Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Raspberry, tart cherry, smoke nose; smoke, tart black fruit palate; medium finish (bottled 3 weeks ago) (83 pts.)

Contessa de Carneros

  • 2008 Contessa de Carneros Pinot Noir – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/27/2010)
    Tart red fruit, carbonic maceration nose; carbonic maceration, red fruit, dull palate; medium finish (82 pts.)

Dunstan

Eno

Eric Kent

Kent Humphrey and Colleen Teitgen

Esterlina

  • 2007 Esterlina Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Brett, earthy nose; tart red fruit, cranberry, brett palate; medium finish (88 pts.)
  • 2008 Esterlina Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/27/2010)
    Nice, dried red fruit, cola nose; dried cherry, sandalwood palate; medium finish (89 pts.)

Etude

  • 2007 Etude Pinot Noir Estate Carneros – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/27/2010)
    Brett nose; brett, tart cherry, mineral palate; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Etude Pinot Noir Heirloom – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/27/2010)
    Nice, tart cherry, dried cherry, toast nose; tart cherry, toast, dried cherry, tart raspberry palate with medium acidity; medium finish (91 pts.)

Evening Land

Fess Parker

Fort Ross

  • 2006 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Symposium – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Tart red fruit, hibiscus nose; tasty, tart red fruit, hibiscus palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Symposium – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Pre-release – green, herbal, tart red fruit nose; poised, herbal, tart red fruit palate with green notes; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Nice tart red fruit, rosehips, roses nose; tasty, tart red fruit, cherry, roses palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Reserve Fort Ross Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Nice roses, rosehips, floral nose; tasty, roses, tart raspberry, sous bois, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (94 pts.)

Fulcrum

David Rossi

  • 2008 Fulcrum Pinot Noir Tina Marie – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/25/2010)
    Oak, menthol, red fruit nose; menthol, pine palate with green notes; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Fulcrum Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Forest floor, oak, menthol nose; forest floor, tart cherry, menthol palate; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Fulcrum Pinot Noir ON Point – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/25/2010)
    Menthol, tart cherry nose; menthol, tart cherry, oak palate; medium finish (84 pts.)

Gary Farrell

Goldeneye

Gundlach Bundschu

Hahn

Hanzell

  • 2006 Hanzell Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (6/25/2010)
    VA, tart cranberry, tart cherry nose; tart cranberry palate with grip; medium-plus finish (87 pts.)
  • 2007 Hanzell Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (6/27/2010)
    Earthy, reduction nose; very tart red fruit, stems, tobacco palate with firm tannins, needs time; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2000 Hanzell Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (6/27/2010)
    From magnum – subtle caramel, ripe cherry, framboise nose; tight still, tart cherry palate with medium acidity and firm tannins; medium finish (91 pts.)

Jalama

Joseph Swan

Kanzler

  • 2008 Kanzler Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County (6/27/2010)
    Nice tart red fruit, red plum, cola nose; cola, sassafras, tart red plum palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)

Knightsdale

  • 2005 Knightsdale Pinot Noir – USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (6/25/2010)
    Soft, warm cranberry, baked cherry nose; warm cherry, cranberry palate; short-medium finish (good value at $15) (88 pts.)
  • 2006 Knightsdale Pinot Noir Weibel Family Estate – USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (6/25/2010)
    Cherry, spice, cranberry nose; tasty, cherry, spice, cranberry, floral palate; medium finish 88+ pts. (88 pts.)

Ladd Cellars

La Follette

  • 2008 La Follette Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Tart cherry, raspberry nose; baked cherry, rhubarb palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 La Follette Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Menthol, stemmy nose; tart cherry, menthol, stemmy palate; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2008 La Follette Pinot Noir Van der Kamp – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/27/2010)
    Smoky nose; smoke, cranberry, char palate with green notes; medium finish (50% whole cluster; 1/3 new oak; with 5% Pinot Meunier from oldest Pinot Meunier vineyard in California) (86 pts.)

Lane Tanner

Le Cadeau

  • 2007 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Équinoxe – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Tart cherry, green nose; tart cherry, rhubarb palate with balance; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Aubichon Reserve – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Tart red fruit nose with green notes; tart red fruit, mineral palate with green notes; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Rocheux – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Green herb, red fruit nose; tart red fruit, herbs palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Côte Est – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Mineral, tart red fruit, herb nose; tart red fruit, floral, hibiscus palate; medium finish (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Équinoxe – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Odd green herb, mint nose; green herb, red fruit, mint palate; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Diversite – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Earthy, green, forest floor nose; forest floor, red fruit palate with depth; medium finish (91 pts.)

Londer

  • 2007 Londer Pinot Noir Anderson Valley – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/25/2010)
    Caramel, oak, baked cherry, toast nose; ripe cherry, toast palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Londer Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyards – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/25/2010)
    Toasty oak, cherry nose; tart cherry, oak palate with medium acidity; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Londer Pinot Noir Paraboll – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/25/2010)
    Tart red fruit, rosehips nose; creamy textured, tart red fruit, tart cherry palate with balance; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Londer Pinot Noir Estate Grown – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (6/25/2010)
    Tart red fruit nose; spicy tart cherry, ripe cherry palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (777, 115 and Swan clones) (91 pts.)

Lucienne

Lynmar

M. Autumn

  • 2006 M. Autumn Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Floral, red fruit nose; tart red fruit, cranberry, floral palate; medium finish (88 pts.)
  • 2007 M. Autumn Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Forest floor, tart black fruit, black cherry nose; oak, tart black cherry palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2008 M. Autumn Pinot Noir – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Oak, baked cherry nose; oak, baked cherry, red fruit palate; medium finish (87 pts.)

Mahoney

Martinelli

Merry Edwards

Ojai

  • 2007 Ojai Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/27/2010)
    Nice cherry, vanilla nose; tart cherry, cherry compote palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)

Pelerin

  • 2007 Pelerin Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/25/2010)
    Nice red fruit, tart cherry nose; tart cherry, red fruit palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Pelerin Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/25/2010)
    Tart cherry, caramel nose; tasty, poised, tart cherry, tart red fruit, cranberry palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (75% Pisoni clone, 25% 777; 16 mos. in barrel) (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Pelerin Pinot Noir Pelio – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/25/2010)
    Nice cranberry, raspberry nose; tasty, ripe cherry, raspberry palate with depth; medium finish (92 pts.)

Pey-Marin

Jonathan Pey

  • 2007 Pey-Marin Pinot Noir Trois Filles – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Marin County (6/27/2010)
    Strawberry, cherry nose; nice strawberry, cherry palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Pey-Lucia Pinot Noir “Frisquet” – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/27/2010)
    Ripe raspberry, cherry nose; tasty, cherry, baked cherry palate, luscious but not over the top; medium finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)

Phillips Hill

Toby Hill

Pisoni

  • 2008 Pisoni Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/27/2010)
    Pre-release (due for Sept. 2010 release) – dark cherry red color; nice black cherry, subtle oak, sandalwood nose; tasty, black cherry, tart cherry palate with refined oak; medium finish (needs 2 to 3 years) (92 pts.)
  • 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Lucy Rosé Santa Lucia Highlands – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (6/27/2010)
    Nice light cherry, red fruit nose; tart pink grapefruit, tart red fruit palate with good acidity; medium finish (91 pts.)

Roots

  • 2007 Roots Pinot Noir Crosshairs Cuvee – USA, Oregon, Yamhill County (6/25/2010)
    Herbal, pine, tart red fruit nose; very green, pine, forest floor, earthy palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
  • 2008 Roots Pinot Noir Klee – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (6/25/2010)
    Floral, forest floor nose; tart red fruit, menthol palate with green notes; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Roots Pinot Noir Estate – USA, Oregon, Yamhill County (6/25/2010)
    Forest floor, herbal nose; forest floor, herbal, mineral palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Roots Pinot Noir Leroy Vineyard – USA, Oregon, Yamhill County (6/25/2010)
    Mineral, herbal, menthol nose; mineral, herbal, menthol, tart red fruit palate with good acidity; medium finish (90 pts.)

Rusack

enologist Helen Falcone

  • 2008 Rusack Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (6/25/2010)
    Nice cherry, red fruit, floral nose; tasty, cherry, red fruit, floral palate with charm; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Rusack Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (6/25/2010)
    Floral, roses, tart cherry, red fruit nose; floral, roses, tart cherry, red fruit palate with good acidity; medium finish (blend of 3 vineyards) (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Rusack Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills (6/25/2010)
    Nice cherry, tart red fruit nose; poised, appealing, tart cherry, red fruit palate; medium finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)

Sand Hill

Saxon-Brown

Scherrer

Domaine Serene

Small Vines

  • 2008 Small Vines Wines Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/25/2010)
    Nice tart cherry, rosehips nose; tasty, poised, tart cherry, rosehips, floral palate; medium-plus finish (6% whole cluster) (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Small Vines Wines Pinot Noir MK Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Nice roses, rosehips nose; tasty, elegant, rosehips, roses, tart cherry palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)

Sojourn

Erich Bradley

Suacci Carciere

  • 2008 Suacci Carciere Wines Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/25/2010)
    Roses, strawberry nose; creamy textured, tart strawberry, mineral palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Suacci Carciere Wines Pinot Noir Suacci – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Tart strawberry, rosehips, roses nose; ripe cherry, strawberry palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Suacci Carciere Wines Pinot Noir Suacci – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (6/25/2010)
    Nice tart strawberry, tart cherry, roses nose; tasty, tart cherry, strawberry palate, laced with caramel; medium finish (91 pts.)

Tantara

Three Sticks

Tolosa

Tondre

TR Elliott

  • 2007 TR Elliott Pinot Noir Three Plumes – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Berry, black raspberry nose; berry, black raspberry palate; medium finish (88 pts.)
  • 2007 TR Elliott Pinot Noir Queste – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Plum, black fruit nose; tasty, plum, black fruit palate; medium finish (90 pts.)
  • 2006 TR Elliott Pinot Noir Burgonet – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (6/27/2010)
    Tart cherry, earth nose; tart cherry, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium finish (91 pts.)

Truchard

  • 2007 Truchard Pinot Noir – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros (6/27/2010)
    Raspberry, black raspberry nose; raspberry, black cherry palate; medium finish 88+ pts. (88 pts.)

Tuck Beckstoffer

Domaine de la Vougeraie

Jean Charles Boisset

Waits-Mast

Westwood

WillowBrook

Windward

  • 2006 Windward Pinot Noir Monopole – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (6/27/2010)
    Cherry, red fruit nose; cherry, tart red fruit palate; medium finish (87 pts.)

Woodenhead

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