Wine Talk

Snooth User: dvogler

Pinot Noir throwdown

Posted by dvogler, Jul 12, 2015.

Greg, don't even read this!

Yesterday I hosted a pinot noir event.  It was a blind tasting of three BC and one California.  Talk about getting out of the box.  For me this is tantamount to cross-dressing.  It started because Chester introduced me to the Kettle Valley "Hayman" reserve Pinot last year.  I really liked it, so when I found one (83 cases made, hard to find) I bought it.  Then I found a Burrowing Owl pinot (I'd never seen it for sale before) and more recently the Blue Mountain Reserve, which always sells out to restaurants and golf clubs etc.  The Hendry was a surprise to find here too and it was only $25!  I thought it might be a good addition to an event, a control group really. 

I bagged them and duct taped the bottle tops as some are actually recognisable.  There was Chester and a couple, (Edie and Marcel, regulars at our events) and Hannes, a student from Germany who is staying at my place for the summer.  We had a baguette, olives, Boursin, some crackers and prosciutto.  Began at 2pm.

 

The unvailing fooled everyone.  Nobobdy guessed what was what.

The Burrowing Owl was more like a merlot.  It was 2011, 14% ($38) and very thick and un-Pinot like, which bugged me because I really wanted them to be Pinot Noir like!  It simply didn't fit in.  Oakey and plum.

The Blue Mountain definitely looked PN colour and had barnyard nose which I can't say I liked, but it was very well balanced and pleasant in the mouth.  Still not the typical visions of strawberry and cherries, but certainly a PN.  It was a 2011 as well and 12.5% ($45).

The Kettle Valley (Hayman) reserve was a 2010, 14% ($35).  This like the Burrowing Owl was darker and heavier than a normal PN.  It was reminiscent of Pinot, but tannic and somewhat thicker.  I remembered why I liked it....it's more like real red wine :)  Terri threw out all the tasting notes so I can't post more accurate flavours. 

The Hendry (2006, 13.9%, $25) was classic Pinot.  Not barnyard on the nose, but somewhat vegetal, or organic.  Also very strawberry and chocolate on the nose.  It was beautiful.  I think the age was an advantage over the others.  For me it was the winner.  I'll have to let Mike Hendry know. 

I opened a 2009 Kettle Valley Petit Verdot as a follow up which was awesome.   Then we walked to "Stage", a winebar not far from my place and had some tapas and a bottle of the Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel.  Damn, wine of the night! 

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Replies

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jul 12, 2015.

That was quite a nice little Pinot Noir party there DV.  Did you finish all four bottles and also down that Zinfandel afterwards at the tapas / wine bar?  Good thing you were walking.  

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Reply by dmcker, Jul 12, 2015.

Five bottles between six active, 'walking' people? With food? Hardly sounds like an alcoholic debauch (though it apparently was enough for the TNs to get lost in the shuffle), more like a fun get together!

Also sounds like high-alc super-sized new-world traditions/tendencies are alive and well in B.C. as well as further south. Poor little PN...

How hot does Victoria get in the summer these days, DV? Do you still drink only red all the way through it?

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Reply by dvogler, Jul 12, 2015.

My wife doesn't drink wine at all, so it was five people, five bottles (at my place).  Then more at Stage, but I didn't stay too long.  I wasn't hammered, but stopped in the nick of time for me!  I'm 129 lbs and 5% fat.  That alcohol goes straight to my veins.  DM, we've been an extension of California this summer.  We had our first rain in about two months yesterday (about 1/25th of an inch).  It's been far warmer than usual also.  Our normal temperatures are about 74-78 for July/August with some days hitting 90 (away from the water).  We've been having 85-90 most days.  It's 78 now and looks like we're in for another endless stretch of sun.  I am still only drinking reds, but have been making Caesars (Canadian version of Bloody Mary) because I don't want to plough through my wine as my German student loves it!  The Blue Mountain was what I think would be close to a Burgundy.  Far less alcohol, transparent, light and that poopy nose.  JD could set me straight.  The island is having drought conditions and rivers are becoming trickles.  Victoria's reservoir (a lake) is still doing well, but I sure hope we get some rain this fall.

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Reply by GregT, Jul 13, 2015.

Well DV, the part I liked was where you put duct tape on the bottles. That should have sealed them up good and spared you the pain.

As it turns out, I'm drinking a PN right now. Why is that? Because they were clearing them out and I figured I'd buy them for making coq au vin but then I decided to try one and well, it's a Central Coast PN.

As far as how many bottles, last night we had a Champagne, Gruner Veltliner, Brunello, Blaufrankisch from Hungary and a Cab from Veneto and finisned a 1/2 bottle of Chardonnay. That was for 4 people. Night before it was another Champagne, 97 Napa Cab, another Brunello, Australian Chardonnay, CdP, and some other tasty Italian thing that I don't remember at the moment. That was for 5 people. So rule of thumb is one bottle per person and one for the pot. Just like making tea!

But next time you do this, pick a different grape!!!!

BTW, we finally drank thatPortfolio BT. An excellent wine. I got some more.

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Reply by dmcker, Jul 13, 2015.

Problem isn't PN, Greg, you poor confused soul. Problem is the common Western North America manglings (still, even in 2015) of the grape!! Just saw a 'Last Bottle' sales pitch for a PN from the cool part of Napa (Carneros) that had as a kicker that it was great with lobster rolls (??!!). Yeah, if you like coke with your lobster, which is one of the TNs mentioned in the circular ("this is a silky-smooth, cola and raspberry bowl of juicy goodness"). Sorry, but I also don't pour coke over my breakfast bowl of raspberries.

By Central Coast PN, I'm guessing Sta. Rita, but wherever it is also likely to be something I'd prefer to gargle with since I noticed we're currently out of mouthwash in the house.

Hope everyone's over their ABC weakness. I never caught that fever. What's wrong with chardonnay with lobster, staying within the Burgundy paradigm?   ;-)

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Reply by dvogler, Jul 13, 2015.

Greg, was that the 2011 Portfolio?  It wasn't a good vintage.  Hopefully you can get the 2012 soon as it's been getting rave reviews.  If it's more 2011, open it the day before and cork it.

http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1551703&searchId=9B5EC316%23selected%253DW1551703_3_K017a21e15c1464a345ca1727cb14b07c

http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1797924&searchId=A1315658%23selected%253DW1797924_2_Kcbc78182c33abd1c0d8559c414cfaad8

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Reply by dvogler, Jul 13, 2015.

The Painted Rock 'Red Icon' is the one you need to buy a few of.

http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1222095&searchId=6DBEF1D4%23selected%253DW1222095_5_K69817b4d902f461442a0b8e9607a858a

 

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Reply by GregT, Jul 13, 2015.

D - Chardonnay with lobster is perfect. I guess they suggested PN because that PN was probably pretty sweet? BTW - there is some PN, even from Sonoma, that is not like cola. I've even had a drinkable one from Oregon. It's just that whenever I drink something like that, I wonder how much better a Syrah would be from the same vineyard. But next month I'm going to a PN tasting, many dozens from around the world, so we'll see. Germany has been trying for years but I've yet to have any from Germany or Switzerland that did much for me.

DV - it was indeed the 2011. But while that may not have been a great vintage, I'm willing to bet on some of those not-so-great vintages when it comes to some Cabs. In Napa it wasn't considered great but I preferred it to some of the hotter years. I can imagine that the Portfolio might not be in the same super ripe league, so I'm looking forward to trying some others, but that one left little to complain about. My wife loved it too. It was more old-school Napa, which I miss.

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Reply by EMark, Jul 13, 2015.

Sounds like it was a lot of fun, Darren.  I'm not surprised that you nominated the Seghesio Sonoma as your WOTN.  Everybody knows my Zinfandel prejudice.  Seghesio is a very solid maker.  The other thing, though, is that the "Sonoma" bottling is their lowest priced offering (around here I can usually find it for about $20), and, as often as not, I think it is superior to many of their pricier SVD bottlings.

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Reply by dvogler, Jul 13, 2015.

I buy Zinfandel far too seldom and everytime I drink some I go, "Darn, this is good!".  Maybe it was partly being in a place like Stage versus my subdued dining room, as the Petit Verdot was very nice also.  I do readily admit that after a few sips of that Seghesio, it was a no-brainer high note to end on.  The Sonoma is $33 here and funny, the votes on it compared to the Alexander Valley and the Sonoma Old Vine are better!  The Rockpile is voted a 5/5 and is only the next most pricey.  I'll have to try that one.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jul 13, 2015.

A good reminder that we need to do another one of these!

Speaking of which, what happened to Fox?

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Reply by dmcker, Jul 13, 2015.

Of course, Greg, Sonoma has some of the best New World PNs. Think I was sounding klaxons for The True here half a dozen years ago. Just proportionately so much dross, still, in that county and Napa, as well as further south. Oregon has its own issues, but also some good PN. I've lusted after the rare-perfected CA pinot for decades, and only had Graff-era Chalone for solace early on (not that all their production was perfect but it was well on the right road, from back in the '70s).

Obviously the American Palate or whatever other excuse you wish to name results in a market for the cherry cough syrup and cola. Wish we could fast-forward another generation or two, by which time my guess is the current PN excesses will be viewed the way the chardonnay excesses of the '80s and '90s are viewed now, and there will be a greater proportion of decent PNs at  various price points. Or am I being over-optimistic (not that I'll be around in a couple of generations, anyway)?

I also lusted back then after good CA syrahs, which fortunately are now finally on the increase even if a half-dozen years ago people were moaning about how bad a decision it was to overplant in that varietal and were discussing ripping out various vineyards.

Now my hunt for unicorns is for truly good PNs and syrahs and cabs and others from CA that don't bust the bank. Fortunately, zin prices have yet to skyrocket...

 

 

 

 

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Reply by William Djubin, Jul 14, 2015.

Several 2012 Pinot Noirs from Russian River, SLH, and SRH definitely have Pinot / Red Burgundy notes and texture; body. ***** It appears to come from the oenologist, wine maker and Vineyard. (research)

Southern California has many PN's bottlings that "wont break your bank$$ 35-50 USD. " I am also a buyer of PN So Cal.  A few Pommard Clone rookies are catching  my eye now. 2013 is alive and well so buy early.! Before the Ratings.

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Reply by GregT, Jul 15, 2015.

Many PNs indeed.

Many GOOD PNs? At the $35-50 price point? Separate questions. But there are more each year.

D - you know that the reaction to any suggestion that there might be any enthusiasm for a particular grape is to plant and plant some more. So we end up with crappy Merlot, PN, and everything else. But some people are doing things in a more thoughtful way these days and there's hope for pretty much every grape type.

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Reply by JenniferT, Jul 15, 2015.

DV: "For me, this is tantamount to cross-dressing."  :) 

Sounds like a great event!

 

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Reply by dvogler, Jul 15, 2015.

Jen, I kept the dress in the closet.  It was a pretty tame event.  When I intend to host a rager, you will top my guest list!  Actually, I was going to call you, but this was so impromptu (like night before!).  Besides, inviting people to a PN tasting is like saying, "hey! come over and watch some William F. Buckley with me".

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Reply by EMark, Jul 15, 2015.

JenniferT returns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We're glad to have you back.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jul 15, 2015.

Welcome back JenT!

You should make a post when you get some time to catch us up with everything. Hope you've been well.

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Reply by GregT, Jul 15, 2015.

Yes!

And DV - "come over and watch William F Buckley with me" is a great line.

I think Fox is OK - he sent me a text a few days ago. Just speculating here, but I think he's probably busy.

I don't know, I'm having a PN right now and it's really crap. I look at it as a pedagogical rather than a hedonistic experience and somehow that makes the wine more palatable.

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Reply by outthere, Jul 15, 2015.

I'm thinking about having another Old Vine Offline (Zinfandel) night sometime in the near future if anyone is interested. Been stocking up.

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