January has been an embarrassment of riches as far as wine tastings are concerned. Many trade events this month. This week I was able to attend a couple of events that featured American (mostly Cali) Pinot Noir. On Tuesday importer Michael Skunick showcased his portfolio of California and Oregon Pinot Noir. The event was held at the Tribeca Grill. On Saturday City Winery hosted the 2nd annual Pinot Days. Most of the wines presented were from Cali with a few from Oregon thrown in.
My first stop was the Skurnick tasting in Tribeca. They actually had two tastings, their Pinot Noir on the top floor and the rest of their portfolio on the ground floor. I decided to stick with the Pinot. I haven’t had the chance to try many Oregon Pinots lately and this was a good opportunity to do so. It was interesting to see the differences between the Cali Pinot and Oregon. In general, Oregon Pinot Noir were lighter and more delicate with finesse, feminine. The Cali Pinots on the other hand were darker, chewy and brawny wines, masculine.
I started with Oregon at Domaine Serene. They poured five Pinot Noir and all were excellent. The 2008 “Evenstad” was medium red with cherry cola, earth and herbs on the medium light fruit. Long finish. The 2009 “Yamhill Cuvee” cola on the nose with a nice balance of silky, cinnamon fruit. Their entry level 2009 “Oregon” light to medium red with a nose of crushed blueberries with medium juicy fruit.
Another Oregeon winery was Cristom Vineyards. Their 2010 “Jessie” was light in color with muted dark fruit on the nose with a tasty long finish. The 2010 “Mt. Jefferson Cuvee” was light in color with a tosty nose and smoky fruit on the balanced finish.
From Cali Hirsch Vineyards poured his 2010 “Sonoma Coast San Andreas”, moderate to light fruit, smoky with great balance that dropped a bit at the end but still tasty. The 2011 “The Bohan-Dillon” was medium red with a nose of pencil shavings and bright fresh fruit.
A couple of nice wines from Kistler Vineyards, the 2010 “Sonoma Coast” was medium dark with a nose of spicy leather with a silky firm balanced finish. The 2010 “Kistler Vineyard” was medium dark with a nose of blueberries and forest floor, chewy with moderate to long finish.
Martinelli had my favorite Pinot of the night. The 2010 “Bondi Home Ranch” was medium red with a nose of dried herbs and toasted nuts, full fruit with some nice earthiness on the long finish. I also had their 2010 “Zio Tony” which was pretty chewy for a Pinot.
From Anthill Farms the 2010 “Anderson Valley” was medium in color with a classic nose of forest floor and barnyard, velvety mouth filling fruit with a great mid palate and nice acidity on the finish.
I spent most of my time in the upstairs Pinot Noir section but downstairs I couldn’t help but to stop by the Vega Sicilia table to try the 2000 and 2002 vintages of “Unico” as well as other wines from Vega Sicilia such as “Alion”, “Pintia”, and “Valbuena 5 Ano”. All outstanding.