Gems in My Glass . . . January 2010

Pinot Noir, Tasting Notes

A remarkable lot of top notch pinot noir tickled my palate early in the New Year:

2008 Testarossa Winery, Santa Maria Valley, Sierra Madre Vineyard: Enticing aromas of cherry, berry and vanilla draw you into the glass and remain focused and flavorful with layers of earth, exotic spice and subtle oak. Silky tannins and a persistent add to its charm.

2007 Roar, Santa Lucia Highlands, Garys’ Vineyard: Bright, concentrated perfectly ripe cherry fruit rises from the glass; spice notes and good acidity balances the juicy fruit beautifully; finishes with a sweet oak finale.

2007 Kosta Browne, Sonoma Coast: Dense aromatic bowl of fresh cherries fill the nose, and layers of tar, earth, forest floor and dark berries add provocative flavors on the palate; complex and well structured with smooth, firm tannins.

2007 Patz & Hall, Carneros, Hyde Vineyard: Pretty cherry and berry aromatics persist and mesh attractively with cola and a hint of tobacco and earth on mid palate, balanced and elegant with velvety tannins.

2008 Dahlia Reserve, Monterey County: Dark fruit and oak notes rise from the glass and broaden on the palate alongside dried cherry and shades of raspberry-filled cookie flavors adding interest; nicely structured.

2007 Dutton Goldfield, Marin County, Devil’s Gulch: Earthy forest floor aromas integrate seamlessly into cherry fruit and mushroom notes, delightfully integrated oak and firm tannins complete the luscious package.

2007 Navarro Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Deep End Blend: Pretty berry and cherry fruit on the nose, with spice and tart cranberry notes opening up on mid palate. Delicate and well balanced with a fresh, clean and lasting finish.

2007 Beaux Frères, Ribbon Ridge, The Beaux Frères Vineyard: Earthy, dried cherry aromas followed by cherry cola and spicy notes taking center stage on the palate. Elegant structure with essence of forest floor and wild cherries remaining focused throughout.

2007 Failla Wines, Sonoma Coast, Hirsch Vineyard: Mushroom and earth notes jump from the glass with cherry and herbal essence adding complexity on the palate. Earthy wild cherry qualities remain through the finish; well crafted.

2006 Calera, Mt. Harlan, Ryan Vineyard: Rich dark cherry fruit dominate the aroma. On the palate a lush mouthful of earth and brown spices with dense, concentrated cherries broadens generously; finishes with pleasing smoky notes.

2007 Peay Estate, Sonoma Coast, Scallop Shelf: A hint of judicious Brett on the nose followed by rich, fresh cherry compote flavors and a delightful dose of earthiness on mid palate. Finishes with a dash of root beer and nicely integrated oak.

2007 De Ponte Cellars, Dundee Hills, Baldwin Reserve: Baked cookies sprinkled with cinnamon open up on the nose, wild berries and cherries laced with cocoa join in on the palate; balanced and easy to quaff.