Wine Talk

Snooth User: napagirl68

I am in love! With Pinot Noir, anyone else???

Posted by napagirl68, Oct 20, 2010.

Would love your recommendations as well!

I have found a few I REALLY like, and a few I've tried that I THOUGHT might fit the bill, and did not.

Gracianna is my fav - tasted 2008 Bacigalupi Vineyards Gracianna and LOVED it at Taste of Sonoma.....  I also like Lioco- 2008 "sonoma coast" pinot noir...   Another favorite is the Cosentino 2006 Sonoma Pinot Noir.

I had a love/hate relationship with Pinot previously... I originally was drinking small lot pinot from the inland central coast of California.... we're talking deep purple, high alcohol.  Was like a syrah gone bad!!  14.8% alcohol!!!

Anyway, I have come to find some I like from the Sonoma region (esp. the coastal), and some from Willamette in Oregon as well.. But only a few so far...I find some of the Willamette Pinot watery, and too dry and one dimensional.

I tend to like a true red color that is almost clear- prefer alcohol under 14%, and dislike huge fruitbombs.  I like cherries, leather, earth, barnyard nose.  Overall, prefer the wine to be "lighter" than a damned syrah, but to finish a bit deeper than some of the watery pinots I have had in the past.  I guess I want to start a bit lighter, and end with depth, meaning a range of flavors that develops gradually over the palate.  Hope that makes some sense.

Sooo.. give me suggestions!!!  Doesn't have to be just Sonoma... would love to hear all your favs in all price ranges!

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 20, 2010.

The True Sonoma Coast, and a few spots in the RRV, are the source of the only Californian pinots I tend to like these days (used to also include Chalone, inland from Soledad in the Pinnacles area, but they've gone downhill recently). Some good ones up in Willamette, but plenty of weak ones, too. The Santa Barbara area has a few interesting ones, but they've still a ways to go. I've posted before (as has outthere) on several I've enjoyed, across a range of styles. I'll post again at some point, but don't have time right now.

For me, though, the benchmark is still in Bourgogne. You should make a visit to Berkeley, to both North Berkeley Imports and Kermit Lynch, and develop a relationship with staff there who'll customize suggestions to your likes. You're missing a real opportunity from two of the best European-wine merchants in the States, if you don't utilize those resources right on your doorstep.

And then book the third of my suggested vacations (after Venice and the Loire) to the culinary fleshpots of Dijon, and all up and down the Rhone in that lovely, delicious area of the Cote d'Or and environs. I'll bet my bottom dollar you'll find plenty of pinots you'll love there...

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Reply by napagirl68, Oct 20, 2010.

I will do as you suggest!  Bourgogne it is!

BTW- I am coming around to the French wines, believe it or not.  Had a dinner party again this weekend, and ended up having a couple of French Rhones (and I am disappointed to say that the bottles got tossed before I could write down their complex names!!), but I do know that they were blends, with mostly grenache.  I purchased them last year at KLwines, without knowing anything about them.... just read the store opinions.  They were fantastic!  I was surprised as I bought some French whites based on the store opinions, and disliked them...

Yeah, Sonoma coast Pinots rule IMO (as far as cali).  With all the Sideways hype, I had tried several Santa Barbara pinots, and haven't been too impressed so far.

Guess I better get back out to Berkeley soon!  May have to go for work reasons anyway..  kill 2 birds with one stone!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Oct 20, 2010.

Pinot Noir is my least favorite grape, especially out of California.  Yes, that's a broad statement, and covers a lot of ground, but man, nothing is more boring than CA Pinot Noir.

I can hang with Burg and even groove on some Willamette juice, but CA does a really insulting, piss-poor job with PN.

There, I said it.  Sorry, NG.

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Reply by napagirl68, Oct 20, 2010.

That's ok, GDD.  I have only found the few I mentioned that I like, which is why I asked for more suggestions, regardless of the region.  Sounds like I need to get some French examples soon!!

And I do like some of the Willamette too, but have also been disappointed in many...  two I have liked (but it's been awhile) are the Sokol Blosser and Bethel Heights..

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Oct 20, 2010.

Bethel Heights is tasty, for sure.  I like Rex Hill as a non-splurgy offering.  It's got some licquorice, earth and game.  Lots of complexity in a <$30 bottle.

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Reply by outthere, Oct 20, 2010.

More CA? Try Sojourn Sangiocomo from up here and down in the Central Coast Clos Pepe Vigneron Select.

Cheers!

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Reply by VINO7500, Oct 20, 2010.

Love the Mark West Pinot Noir, especially the 2007.  Great for the price.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 20, 2010.

It's so hit or miss with Cali Pinot.  I had a super inexpensive Pinot from Sarah's Vineyard (from our fave discounter) that was really tasty.  I have had Fort Ross Sonoma Coasts that were outstanding and others that were so-so, although k&l and others think they are one of the best and most consistent.  I think the OR Pinots are more consistent, but not all of them are complex.  But I have had lower-end French Burgs that were just as flat and boring.  (LaForet, to cite the most recent example.)  It's a tough grape.  Right now, I have a new shipment of ROAR which I am dying to try, but it needs to rest.  It's from Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County, which is the new hotspot for Pinot.  (Maybe I should say cool spot.) After a long hiatus, I am drinking Carneros pinots, but they are proving to be inconsistent again (luckily, their prices have dropped).  When I have a good one, it's a huge pleasure and I wonder why I don't drink more pinot.  When I have a flat one, I wonder why I keep taking the chance on them, especially as they are more expensive than the usual.  Here's one I really like: Scherrer Sonoma County, about $35 from the winery.  They have more expensive bottles, but it's really nice, rich but not extracted, and often has a lot of their coastal fruit that goes in the more expensive wine.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 20, 2010.

A recent offer from North Berkeley. Kinda like the typo about the 'terrors' from Cote de Nuits. Seems like an easy enough price to take a flyer on...

 

 

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Lush and lively, with flavors of bright, juicy red berries and a whole lot of Pinot spice -- we've been drinking this wine with abandon because it is just too good.  Utterly charming and serious proof that there are values to be had in Burgundy if you know where to look.  And do we ever -- it goes without saying that we enjoy Burgundy far too much to ration it.  We bet you do too.

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Reply by AussiePinotGirl, Oct 21, 2010.

napagirl68 - What about the Southern Hemisphere for PInot Noir?? Try Pinots Central Otago (Two Paddocks, Valli Estate), Martinborough (Ata Rangi Palliser)&  Nelson from NZ... and from Australia try Pinots from the Mornington Peninsula (Kooyong) and Tasmania (Dalrymple & Pirie)... have a look at this site www.pinosity.com - it has pretty good info on southern hemisphere Pinots... am sure they would appreciate some info on US Pinots!

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 21, 2010.

By far the best pinot noir I've had out of the whole southern hemisphere (including Oz and S.A. and anything from Chile or Argentina as well) is NZ's South Island's Pyramid Valley. A few other good ones down there, but that one is in a class of its own. Unfortunately production volume is low, and it's not at all easy to find.

In my experience, though, and sorry to say this APG, Burgundy, California and Oregon (more or less in that order) are still way ahead of the antipodes. NZ is making great strides, and I am very interested in trying more from Oz, particularly cool-climate areas like W.A. and Tasmania. Thus any and all of your pointers are very welcome to me.

I'm going to be in a tasting next Monday night that will include a NZ pinot noir, and pinot noir rose, which I'm definitely looking forward to.

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Reply by AussiePinotGirl, Oct 21, 2010.

Of course, Burgundy is in a realm of it's own and is the holy grail for all Pinotfiles. I've had the pleasure of tasting many of the top producers from there and they are most definitely an ethereal pleasure. But, alas, the budget doesn't stretch to drinking DRC and Liger-Belair every day!

Unfortunatley we don't get too see many US Pinots over here so I can't comment too much on those (much to my disappointment!) but I do know my Antipodean Pinots so can point you in many a direction.... Tasmania is most certainly making fabulous ones, as is Victoria in regions like Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley (Yabby Lake, Innocent Bystander, De Bortoli), Geelong. Also the Adelaide Hills in South Aust is making some excellent ones - Deviation Road, Shaw & Smith, Ashton Hills. Western Australia is not consiered a great area for Pinot - the climate is mediterranean and most similar to Bordeaux, rather than Burgundy, so look for Cabernets, Sem/Sauv Blancs and they also make some fabulous Riesling and Chardonnays. Howard Park, Leeuwin Estate, Vasse Felix, Voyager all are top producers from there.

Would love to hear your thoughts from your NZ tasting next week. NZ PInots are a weakness for me.

 

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Reply by Roger773, Oct 21, 2010.

As Foxall said yesterday... It's a tough grape.  Much much more delicate and difficult to nurture into its optimum form than Cab, Chard or Syrah.  I'm glad to see some recommendations from Australia and Tazmania. It does take a cool climate (esp evenings) plus sunshine to bring out the best in Pinot. 

I'm a day late, and I don't mean to shift the conversation back to the N. Hemisphere, but I live just north of Portland, and there are many very nice Pinots here.  To Sokol-Blosser and Bethel Hts, add Archery Summit, and Dobbes Family Est. You might  be aware that the Druhin family is also in the Willamette on the hills above Dundee (Dom Druhin Oregon), and makes several excellent Borgogne-style wines (Veronique D. owns the 5-level winery.  Another to look for is Scott Paul, also very French style in Carlton down the street from Owen-Roe.  I have also really liked the fruity, balanced, and sumptuous texture of Panther Creek (McMinnville).  There are many more fine Pinots in the area... but some only available in the locality--small lots. There are even a few showing up north of the Columbia River in SW Washington... the edge of Pinot territory. 

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 21, 2010.

Here and here are a couple of very useful past Forum discussion threads. Lots of names there to investigate. Gotta love the research... ;-)

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Reply by napagirl68, Oct 21, 2010.

Thank you, thank you all for the suggestions!  Things have been busy, or I'd have chimed in more.

@Roger773 -  I really love Oregon.. would move to Corvallis in a heartbeat if not for the rain..  Also love McMinville.  Last time I was up for a vacation, we started down in Florence, then planned on tasting our way up to Portland over a few days.  Unfortunately, I got sick, and was only well enough to taste the last day.  We hit Tyee in Corvallis (liked their pinot gris), Bethel Heights, and tasted some Sokol blosser in a restaurant  I have had Druhin from a local wine shop here in CA, and it didn't bowl me over... but not sure which vintage I had tho.  I definitely need to try more Oregon wine!

@dmcker... thanks for all the recommendations.  I happened to see a NZ pinot at a shop today and bought it, knowing nothing about it.  It is not Pyramid Valley.  It is a 2006 Carrick central Otago Pinot Noir.  I have not opened it yet, but will let you know.

I will take some time to look back through the rest of this thread....and to ck out the links to other threads that have been posted.  I think I will start a spreadsheet... i did one before and abandonded it to my tasting book I carry since I like to write...

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 23, 2010.

NG, I have to agree that the Drouhin did not do it for me, either.  Winebuddy#1 recommended Domaine Serene from the Yamhill-Carlton district, and he's a reliable source: His inlaws are in McMinnville, so he goes up there a lot, and he's very picky about pinots.  If he likes it, it's burgundian in the best way, because that's where his tastes lie. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 23, 2010.

I also saw some Williams-Selyem pinots on a list from BP Wines at what were, for them, reasonable prices.  Of course, you had your delivery situation with them before, I recall.  But they will store them for 6 mos free and you can pick them up.

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Reply by napagirl68, Oct 23, 2010.

Thanks, Foxall, for your suggestion.  I may give it a go... BPWINES is great.. the shipper had an issue last time, but I recently bought a case of Napa Stonefly 2006 Cab franc which used the same shipper, and i had no problems.   A one-off situation, I'd hope.

I may give Williams-Selyem a shot.  I just have such a very, so tiny, specific pinot palate... I will also try to get the Domaine Serene from Yamhill... I like picky, persnickety pinot people :-).  And love McMinville (the town, per se... my dr. friend is  from there.. what a cutie town).

Foxall, have you had Lioco sonoma coast pinots?  I am just curious to match up my palate with someone else... I feel like a solo refugee on a raft in the ocean... Pinot is HARD to do, and hard to describe.  Many love all takes on it, I DO NOT.  Whatever my palate is, I do not care if it is right or wrong.  What I would love is to have someone say, "YES, that is the certain flavors I love too, and here are some others you may like".  I hate almost all other pinots I have ever tasted... but the ones I love haunt me.  Need more!

BTW- had the 2006 Carrick Central Otago New Zealand Pinot Noir..

It was OK.. drank like a lighter red blend in my palate... would not turn it down, but not enthralled, like I want to be.  I would give it 2.75 out of 5 stars...

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 24, 2010.

I haven't had the Lioco Sonoma Coasts. I assume that's the profile you are going for, NG? It would be great if someone who knows it well can offer up some comparisons, but in the name of being a neighborly sort, I will get some and try it.  I have had some NZ Pinots that were right on for my palate and reasonable, like the Greenstone Point of a few years back, but enough were disappointing that I only buy NZ pinots if the merchant has gotten my taste right before In pinots.  They are so fickle that even someone who gets your taste in other areas can completely miss.  And the variability in a brand/appellation/vineyard from vintage to vintage is even greater, imo, than with other wines.  That's been my experience with J RRV and Fort Ross Sonoma Coast.  But somehow, we never give up on pinot because when it's good, wow. Sort of like some of the people we date when we are young. ;-)

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Oct 24, 2010.

NG

Been bit off the pace lately, two weeks on holidays in China means a very big in tray to come back to work to.

Stephen George who makes Ashton Hills Pinot, which is only 10km from home is an excellent Adelaide Hills Pinot.  Steve has been experimenting with Pinot for well over ten years now and believes he only just getting it close to where he wants it to be.

The entry level is around AUD25 and is good easy to drink Pinot with enough complexity to give you a genuine Pinot experience.  He also does two more expensive pinots which give  more complexity and depth.

If you can get some worth a try.

I have tried a couple of Oregon Pinots which I found to good pinots, but the hassle of finding US pinot here means I only look for it when I doing a tasting and looking for benchmarks.

Clear Burgundy is the benchmark but finding affordable everyday Burgundy is a challenge and often it is a raffle from year to year.

New Zealand Pintos can be very good, but many are tending to be in the rich fruit high alcohol category.   They are also very hard to find at a reasonable price because very few producers are making quantities that require a low point to shift and economically they are expensive to make [as is pinot in general]

If you find any Aust or NZ pinots let me know and I will get them and we can compare notes

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