GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Pinot Noir in time for Thanksgiving

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 21, 2008.

Wines tasted in this report

Flight 1
A) 2006 Ponzi A Tavola Willamette Valley - 13.5% 88pts
B) 2006 Willakenzie Willamette Valley - 14.2% 90pts
C) 2006 Benton Lane Willamette Valley - 14.1% 84pts
Flight 2
A) 2006 Elk Cove Willamette Valley 14.5% 91pts
B) 2006 Duckhorn Migration - Anderson Valley - 14.5% 85pts
C) 2007 Wild Horse Central Coast - 13% 89pts
Flight 3
A) 2007 Holdredge RRV 14.3% 93pts
B) 2006 Davis Bynum RRV 14.9% 88pts
C) 2007 Rodney Strong RRV 14.4% NR
Flight 4
A) 2007 Alma Rosa Santa Rita Hills 14.5% 86pts
B) 2006 Stoller JV Estate Dundee Hills - 14.5% 92pts
C) 2006 Saxon Brown Parmelee Hill Son. Valley - 14.5% 93pts

I've just posted some great tasting notes and cursory information regarding both Californian and Oregon Pinot on the Snooth blog. While I usually would want to post a more informative piece here on my page I'm going to make an exception this time.

With thanksgiving right around the corner I'd rather get these notes up to help you make some purchasing decision now and make a promise that the next Pinot review will include all the background information these pieces should provide.

Flight 1 - Oregon’s emerging Star

A) 2006 Ponzi A Tavola Willamette Valley - 13.5% $25

Screwcap - Very fresh with touches of sweet soil, aromatic wood/pencil shavings, and balsamic tones. More barrel and soil than fruit at first. Very savory spice notes add some depth to the perfumy sour/gamy fruit. Light yet lush and relaxed in the mouth but with real solid intensity to the slightly roasted strawberry fruits. Lovely bright acids and minor tannins are in good balance. Lot’s of twizzler red licorice fruit on the fresh, clean finish with a gentle sweep of forest floor that ends with a balsamic note. Very solid pinot and the right weight for Turkey day. 88pts

B) 2006 Willakenzie Willamette Valley - 14.2% $30
Screwcap - Light and ethereal nose with herbal and raspberry notes, spicy black, anise high tones, very engaging nose, light and willowy. Touches of emergent peanut brittle, clay, mineral rich potting soil and a touch of cracked peppercorn add complexity. Soft and round in the mouth with minimal tannins and well integrated acidity. Rather sleek in it’s softness. A lovely sappy note in the mouth, with clean, pure red berry fruit in a very easy style that finishes with long, sweet and subtly spicy red berry notes. Elegant and understated with gentle flavors that are edged with fresh earthy, beet root and herbal notes. 90pts

C) 2006 Benton Lane Willamette Valley - 14.1% $25
Screwcap - Sweet and slightly jammy red raspberry and blackberry fruit. Tree bark and soil tones a touch of cola but also with very sappy spice notes. Soft tannins but nice, refreshing acids help maintain liveliness even though there is blocky density here. Really nice herbal, cherry, and very subtle coriander/cola tones make for a round, fairly complex midpalate. A more fruit driven style yet not overtly fruity though with air this does turn a little clumsy and seems a bit heavy handed. 84pts

Flight 2 - Moving to the South

A) 2006 Elk Cove Willamette Valley 14.5% $30
Deep fruit, dark cherry with mint, dark herb, green spice and tea notes. Has a little Burgundian funkiness going on with a nice note of peppercorns and grilled, rare beef. Very clean, precise with modest but lovely crisp tannins, solid acidity is refreshing, red cherry fruit is fresh and crisp with a touch of that green spice up front then tea and earth on the midpalate. Medium bodied but very fine and layered with an absolutely refreshing feel, lovely focus and a moderately long finish that ends with a flourish of fine spice tones. Elegant and complex. 91pts

B) 2006 Duckhorn Migration - Anderson Valley - 14.5% $32
Sweet on the nose with a strong vein of cola and spice tinged cherry fruit that gains a rather prominent medicinal/cough syrup quality. Very treebarky and smoky forest floor emerge with air and there is a gentle nuttiness with green walnut tones. Round and soft, a touch chewy and dense with dark spice and cola tones, RC cola. Nice structure but a bit blocky with an overt wood tones and a hovering vanilla sweetness. Finishes a bit short with tannins that are still a touch austere. 85pts

C) 2007 Wild Horse Central Coast - 13% $22
Warm and ripe with a juicy, roast meaty edge and smoky, little caramelized wood tones Gains freshness in the glass with distinct floral top notes and intense warm black raspberry and ollalieberry notes that gain an exotic persimmon tone. Low acid, rich and soft, dense with a very ripe feel but fresh flavors. A bit of wood tannin is a touch out of balance and a bit too assertive. Very nice minor liquory wild red berry/cranberry flavors, then finishes with a strong herbal/rhubarb vein. Lovely baking spice notes and a touch of watermelon on the finale. A curious wine with a big feel, yet gentle and offering surprisingly fresh flavors. Delicious in a very fruity way. 89pts

Flight 3 - Historic Russian River Valley

A) 2007 Holdredge RRV 14.3% $40
Sweet and a touch overtly woody at first with a bit of Grenache like garrigue, dirt, red flowers, a touch of toast and hot iron over a reticent core of very fresh cherry. With air really gains Pinot typicity with a dusty minerality and subtle redwood and sappy accents to the red fruit. Soft and almost viscous tasting, but feeling fine and elegant, though the wine does seem to ooze across the palate a bit. Very fine tannin and a fair bit of them. Very autumnal top notes, dried herbs, leaves, tea, touch of caramel apple, dark spicy black cherry with a touch of ludens cough drop to it. Good transparency with real lush ripeness to the flavors. Turns sappy and twiggy on the finish, which has an assertive mineral cut. Very perfumed on the very long finish but without a lot of intensity. Classic Pinot. 93pts

B) 2006 Davis Bynum RRV 14.9% $32
Smells a bit soapy at first with a very floral character. With air Syrah like black pepper, beef, dried hay, violet and floral tones emerge. Atypical, and a bit raw woody at first then much more typical heavy vanilla and candied cola notes emerge with the candied black cherry fruit. Pretty fresh and pure raspberry in the mouth with lovely tannins, brisk and crisp and pretty well measured against the great backing acidity. Elegant yet rich with citrus and floral tones framing the fruits, and a good dollop of oaken spice emerging on the finish. Somewhere between intense and elegant with an intriguing astringent edge, yet a touch loose and lacking a bit of complexity. 88pts

C) 2007 Rodney Strong RRV 14.4% $20
Funky, kinky smoky, rubbery sulfur notes hide the core of spicy, complex fruit with intense cola, cold coffee and graham cracker notes struggling to emerge from the sulfur. Blackberry jam and a touch of char peak out then recede. A bit dead in the mouth with the sulfur tamping down the midpalate. . Not lively or fresh yet with a rich round mouthfeel. The dark cherry fruit it fairly intense with complicating notes of spicy, light vanilla and cinnamon that leads to a finish that accentuates the oaky vanilla a touch and has a cherry candy tone to it. A bit short. Solid if uninspiring but marred by the sulfur today. When it blows of this should emerge around 85-87pts

Flight 4 -Single Vineyard Highlights

A) 2007 Alma Rosa Santa Rita Hills 14.5% $40
Screwcap - pretty intensely perfumed with strong floral, sandy soil and spice tones, cardamom and green, almost minty anise seed. Some almost citrussy tones and a touch of coconut cream and cedary oak get added to the mix. Rich yet lighter styled with very, very fine tannins and good acidity. Nice dark fruit tones but without any roasted or over-ripe notes. Dark medicinal spice tones play off the richly fruited core and lead to a touch of spice on the backend that turns peppery on the long finish with red fruits and a subtle insinuation of pomegranate. This explodes then fades quickly in the glass. 86pts

B) 2006 Stoller JV Estate Dundee Hills - 14.5% $30
Screwcap - Intense and ever-so-slightly roasted fruit that has excellent warm middle-eastern spice notes, and a grilled rare steak tone. Very interesting on the nose as it has some cool climate rainwater character but also offers up very ripe fruits with spicy, dried cherry tones. Sweetish yet with acid to support the fruit, very fine polished tannins sit comfortably under the drape of fruit. Very fresh yet completely ripe with complex shades of berry fruit, spice, soil, and herbs. Really complete stuff. Lots of very subtle coriander/sassafras tones that don’t veer off into the cola/root beer end of the spectrum. Very impressive transparency and mouthfeel. 92pts.

C) 2006 Saxon Brown Parmelee Hill Son. Valley - 14.5% $40
Deeply fleshy and earthy on the nose with slightly smoky ham, cola, and toasted almond notes. Warm red currant and black cherry fruit emerges with air and features a touch of tar and oily herbs with a sappy green wood stemminess. Soft yet expansive in the mouth with almost imperceptibly fine tannins and ok acidity. Very richly flavored, with expansiveness that seeps into the corners of the mouth. Ripe and decidedly new worldy but with assertive mineral and stem notes that keep the solid yet delicate, intense red berry fruit from becoming monotonous. A vanilla top note leads to a cleansing, brisk finish with tiny tannins emerging through the plush fruits. 93pts


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