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Friday, August 19, 2011

Sonoma Pinot Noir Tasting

On August 18th blogger William Allen put on a Pinot tasting with about a dozen producers pouring their wines.   We all tasted and picked our top three.  He will publish the overall results in his blog Simple Hedonisms.   Following are my picks.

My top Pinots: (listed alphabetically)

Baxter 2007 Oppenlander Vyd Mendocino, $60.  Nice fruit with softer finish but well structured.  Yes, it's expensive, but it's a great wine.
My wine of the night
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Inman 2007 Olivet Grange Russian River Valley, $56.  Fruit-forward without being overdone or alcoholic.  Nicely balanced. Sometimes you try a wine and say, "This is really well made."

Krutz 2007 Anderson Valley, $45.  A bit tight but fuller-bodied with great structure and complexity. Classic Anderson Valley.

Joseph Swan 2007 Saralee's Vyd Russian River Valley, $35.  Depth, structure, bit soft, earthy, minerally.  If you like fruit-forward wine you probably won't like this one, but if you like Burgundian style this one works and at a reasonable price.

Londer 2009 Corby Vyd Anderson Valley, $40.  Lighter "classic" style, blueberries, bit of tobacco.

Other excellent Pinots:

Baxter 2007 Toulouse Vyd Anderson Valley, $45. Lighter body, bit tart, short finish.

Bjornstad 2008 Hellenthal Vyd Sonoma Coast, $40.  Blueberry coolness with a spicy finish.

Freestone 2007 Sonoma Coast, $55. Structured but somewhat lacking fruit and finish. Probably should age this one for a few more years.

Sojurn 2009 Gap's Crown Vyd Sonoma Coast, $48. Bit bitter up front, fruity, bit of heat on the finish.

Sojurn 2009 Roger's Creek Vyd Sonoma Coast, $48. Fuller bodied, rich, spicy, just a bit of heat on the finish.

The rest:

Londer Vineyards
A new find for me.
Image from
Bjornstad 2008 van der Kamp Vyd Sonoma Mountain, $40.  Not showing well.  Maybe it will later?

Deux Punx 2009 Elk Prairie Vyd Humboldt County, $27.   Gotta love the name, two punks from Humboldt.  They claim the vineyard is on original European root stock (no phylloxera up that way--yet).

Foppiano 2009 Estate Russian River Valley, $25. Medium body with lots of fruit, but nothing special except the price.

Gloria Ferrer 2007 Carneros, $22. Bit of a medicinal nose, big fruit, soft finish.  Least expensive Pinot here and my least favorite.

Inman 2008 Olivet Grange Russian River Valley, $56. Tight, nose is a bit "off."  Will this develop like the 2007?

Joseph Swan 2009 Cuvee de Trois Russian River Valley, $29. Murky. Maybe too young?

Londer 2009 Ferrington Anderson Valley, $50.  Spicy, earthy, tannic. Probably needs time to develop.

Windsor Sonoma 2009 Russian River Valley, $30. Fruity, rich, simple.  A good deal if you like fruit-forward Pinots.

The best news is out of the approximately 18 Pinots tasted I found no dogs.  All were definitely drinkable; some were of a style I didn't particularly like (I'm not so fond of simple, big fruit wines).  For my money I'd be buying the Londer Corby Vineyard at $40 and the Krutz at $45.