Our lunch group celebrated the life of recently deceased member, Archie McLaren, while enjoying some fine Pinot Noir from the reaches of N. Oregon to the Central Coast of California.
2008 MOET & CHANDON VINTAGE BRUT ROSE- we toasted Archie with this delicious bubbly that pairs beautifully with Pinot Noir; this was the 4th bottle I`ve had recently with very consistent notes; 46% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay, and 22% Pinot Meunier; aged for 7 years in the cellars with 6 months of post disgorgement [5 gms/l] ageing; the colour is an interesting dark hued copper red, the nose is redolent of floral notes especially of rose petals along with red raspberry and red cherry with accents of clove and mint; the taste is of fresh and concentrated red fruit with a semblance of balance; this has bright acidity, great mouthfeel and a refreshing and spirited finish.
First flight of 4 Pinot:
1995 WILLIAMS SELYEM COASTLANDS VINEYARD SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- I had already decided to bring one of Burt`s wines for this occasion and since I`d pulled this bottle to share with him at a recent in home dinner and got trumped by his gift of a magnum of 94` Allen, I tucked it away for the lunch; it was all that I expected it to be; the colour was a still youthful, dark red purple, it was beautifully balanced, possessed grace and charm, had wonderful red raspberry and red cherry fruit with accents of spice and cinnamon; it just exuded class and elegance; legendary.
1997 WILLIAMS SELYEM OLIVET LANE VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- I loved that another WS Pinot of Burt`s making was brought and this one showed well also; Olivet Lane has a brambly sort of wild character to it and this replicated such; the nose was pure red fruit and the taste was of a spicy strawberry and cranberry with the fruit being upfront and prominent; it was elegant, light in weight and a pleasant treat.
2001 ARCADIAN SLEEPY HOLLOW VINEYARD SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS PINOT NOIR- a bit of browning on the edge; a long time fav, this had the requisite cinnamon, spice laden red fruit notes, this bottle had more tertiary dried red cherry and plum fruit.
2007 ARCADIAN SLEEPY HOLLOW VINEYARD SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS PINOT NOIR- this gave a multitude of flavours with spice and cardamon accents to the cranberry and cherry fruit with roasted red cherry coming in by mod palate; it was a very tasty, full bodied, wondrous wine.
Late to the party and welcomed with open arms and mouths, we enjoyed a single bottle of a fine rose:
2014 TATOMER SPATBURGUNDER SANTA BARBARA COUNTY ROSE- Spatburgunder is the German name for Pinot Noir; this wine comes the top of the John Sebastiano Vineyard and is 100% Pinot Noir; the colour was light, copper/salmon-hued; it had spice, a hint of toast and a generous amount of fresh cherry fruit; this is a seriously good rose that goes beyond the meek and the lightweights so often found in this category; Graham Tatomer, known for his outstanding Gruner Veltliner and Riesling, hit this out of the park.
Second flight of 5 Pinots:
2006 KOSTA BROWNE RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- we jumped up a few notches from light to medium bodied wines to some heavy hitters; this release came from 8 vineyards in the RRV; it seemed intense at first, but with time in the glass, it mellowed out and became actually charming; it was loaded with red fruit that had help from cola, cedar and spicy notes; initially some heat came in at the end before fading out; the alcohol level was an understated 14.9%.
2003 BEAUX FRERES BEAUX FRERES VINEYARD WILLAMETTE VALLEY- this had some depth and complexity to it along with a big, spicy, super ripe red fruit profile; I was surprised to see it had 14.3% abv as it seemed more likely to be much more than that.
2004 MARCASSIN MARCASSIN VINEYARD SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR-young, vibrant and dense with super ripe dark fruit that immediately blasts the olfactory sense and continues on upon tasting; add in some clove and spice to the blueberry, blackberry, black cherry and black currant fruit; after some time in the glass, it settled in offering some nice treats; a strong candidate for decanting as are many of these.
2002 KISTLER KISTLER VINEYARDS RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR- this was so youthful with fresh, ripe red and black fruit all the way to the back end; some early sweet red cherry set up the stage for more to follow; layers and layers kept unfolding revealing more fruitiness; it had a high level of acidity which should enable it to have the longevity it needs for everything to balance out and come together.
2004 MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS PINOT NOIR- this showed so beautifully with delicious red fruit flavours from the nose through the tail; it held a steady stream of pleasure with new discoveries each re-visit; its youthfulness just plays around on the palate and hits all of the sensory preceptors for a complete experience; lovely Pinot.
Third flight of 5 Pinots:
2007 SEA SMOKE SOUTHING STA. RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- a gracious 14.5% abv; it had a deep dark purple colour befitting it youthfulness; the nose gave intense ripe black fruit and the taste had jammy black cherry, plum and blackberry; as already stated, this and many of the other wines would have benefitted from being decanted.
2006 THORNE RIO VISTA VINEYARD STA. RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- from Estate fruit, this cool climate Pinot comes from a blend of the 3 clones from the vineyard, 115, 777 and 2A; it had nicely spiced red raspberry, red and black cherry delivered in a medium weighted, silky texture.
2007 ANTHILL FARMS PETERS VINEYARD SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- mushrooms and earth dominate the aromatics and in time, fade just enough to allow for dried, musty dark fruit to appear; I know this has a high pedigree, but have to think this bottle was not representative of its best efforts.
2007 ANTHILL FARMS ABBEY-HARRIS` VINEYARD ANDERSON VALLEY PINOT NOIR- another well intended bring by the one who brought both Anthill Farm wines; unfortunately this one was corked. I need to re-visit both for a more accurate assessment of this producer`s Pinots.
2005 FOXEN SEA SMOKE VINEYARD STA. RITA HILLS PINOT NOIR- this was heavily extracted, powerful juice with young and vibrant super ripe dark fruit dominating; it had lively tannins and some heat which eased up after some time in the glass; in fact, after a few minutes, it got much less intense and moved into a more palatable state.
Fourth flight of 4 Pinots:
2013 DOMAINE JASMINKA SANTA BARBARA COUNTY PINOT NOIR- from a member`s home wine making group, this was comprised of Pinot Noir from 91% Kick On Vineyard and 9% Lucas-Lewellen Vineyards; this had super ripe wild red cherry/ berry fruit and noticeable oak influence served up in a medium body; another decent wine from these guys. Jasminka should be proud.
2008 TALLEY RINCON VINEYARD ARROYO GRANDE VALLEY PINOT NOIR- it had a youthful dark purple colour and nice inviting aromatics of fresh rose petals, red raspberry and cherry fruit; it had sweet tannins and bright acidity which should support longevity; this is serious juice and needs time to evolve and flesh out as it has all the ingredients to be an exceptional wine.
2004 TALLEY ROSEMARY`S VINEYARD ARROYO GRANDE VALLEY PINOT NOIR- I`ve had a few of this wine in the past and always loved it as I did this one; the fruit is nicely integrated now and showcases the epitome of red raspberry and red cherry fruit in this case enhanced with spice, cinnamon and cola accents; even at this age, it really could use some more shelf time.
2013 HARTFORD COURT FOG DANCE VINEYARD GREEN VALLEY PINOT NOIR- it had sweet, oaky, very forward red and black fruit notes with soft tannins, medium weight and enough structure to suggest this will mature nicely and reach some semblance of balance.
Two dessert wines:
2005 DOMAINE STEPHANE TISSOT SPIRALE VIN de TABLE VIN BLANC ARBOIS, JURA- 8% abv; 375 ml; 60% Savagnin, 20% Poulsard, 20% Chardonnay; a late harvest sweetie that is a dessert all unto itself with lush, viscous, honeyed citrus and stone fruit notes.
2001 WEGELER GEISENHEIMER ROTHENBERG RHEINGAU RIESLING EISWEIN- 6.5% abv; 375 ml; maple colour with honeyed apricot, sweet on sweet, light and easy, candy cane, creme brûlée.
Another great lunch among dear friends who pride themselves on sharing fine times with fine wines and great food in the company of like minded people.