The proliferation of Pinot Noir along the West Coast has created a lot of confusion as the fruit of vineyards, young and old, are used to make myriad styles of wines. It can be almost maddening trying to track down a style one likes while sifting through the seemingly endless Single Vineyard Bottlings that each producer seems to be bottling. While many vineyards and regions do indeed have their own character this frenzy for variety may not always be the best route to take. In addition, the tendency to produce a Pinot Noir that is over-ripe, over extracted and over oaked has hampered the ascendency of West Coast Pinot.
While it may sometimes seem that one plods through an eternal line of suspect bottles of Pinot in search of the great outlier there are, in fact, distinctive, intriguing wines being produced in both Oregon and California. While we tend to look for slightly different traits from each state's production, brighter and earthier from Oregon, round and fruit driven from California, there are always surprises that challenge these preconceived notions.
Oregon's Distinctive Offerings2007 WillaKenzie Estate Cuvee
This 2007 version takes up where the wonderful 2006 left off. This is one of the most consistent, delicious fresh, fragrant bottles of Pinot Noir on the market today.
2006 Antica Terra Willamette Valley
If you're looking for a Burgundian style look no further than this earthy, herb tinged wine with ripe fruit and spice in perfect harmony.
2006 Fiddlehead Oldsville Reserve
Full bodied and richly flavored with a layered quality that marries explosive fruit to intriguing herbal/medicinal notes. Perfect for the fruit bomb lover who is looking for just a little bit more depth and complexity.
California's Classic Pinots2007 Schug Sonoma Coast
A lovely purity of fruit sets this wine apart from the pack. Simply delicious, with bright, uncomplicated strawberry fruit in a brisk, friendly package.
2006 Wild Horse Unbridled Santa Barbara County
This is a classic California fruit bomb oozing with sweet, rich fruit that plays off spicy oak tones on the nose and the palate. Finishing with sweet herb and vanilla notes, this is sure to please.
2007 Roessler Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley
Roessler consistently produces exemplary Pinots and this Dutton Ranch is no exception. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot with big cocoa and spice tinged fruit in a rich mouth filling style.
Our Global Tasting initiative moves on to Tempranillo this week so stay tuned for some great offerings from both California and Spain as we explore this Iberian gem in all its glory. Hasta la vista!