Open At Last

 

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Finally, in mid June the government eased up on the restrictions placed on business and permitted the North Fork wineries to serve wines to the public in an outdoor setting. It’s a start. I took a drive out East to sit down among the vineyards to drink the first glass of wine I’ve had in public in several weeks.

 

Lenz Winery 38355 Rte 25, Peconic

One of the founding wineries on the North Fork, they pour a dependable glass of wine. 

2014 Sauvignon Blanc: They tell me this is the first vintage of this varietal for this long time winery.

Straw yellow in color, white flowers on the nose, crisp with subtle grassy and honeydew notes on the fruit. Nicely balanced, great first time effort. 

 

McCall Wines  22600 Main Road, Cutchogue

A working cattle ranch as well as a winery, there’s always a family member in the tasting room. 

2019 “Nicola” Sauvignon Blanc: Nicola is the name of the daughter of the owners who served me the wine this day. 

Light yellow in color, kiwi and honeydew melon on the nose, full fruit with lime notes on the fruit with moderate to low acids. 

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” One of three Pinot Noir they were pouring on this day. Opaque dark brick in color, tarry, red cherry and smoky pepper on the nose with red licorice, new leather and earth on the fruit with good acid on the finish. Nice balance. 

 

 

2016 Juggernaut Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

 

Juggernaut Wine Company is a division of Bogle Vineyards which is a family owned and operated winery that produces drinkable budget friendly wines. Their Juggernaut brand focuses on small production wines.

I’ve never had a wine from this brand before and even before tasting the wine I was impressed by the cool label and hefty bottle.

 

2016 Juggernaut Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: Clear, medium to light red in color, cola, cinnamon, red licorice and some earth notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with moderate to low tannins. Easy drinking. Going back to the bottle the next day I was getting pencil shavings on the nose. 

 

 

2016 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir Oregon

 

 

Everyone likes a good glass of Pinot Noir. Unfortunately the Premier Crus and Grand Crus of Burgundy are really not priced for everyday drinking, or at least for people in my financial reality. The conventional wisdom is that cheap Pinot Noir is not worth drinking which is often true. It was great to find and drink a budget friendly Pinot Noir that was interesting enough to make for a good glass of wine.

A to Z winery sources the fruit for their wine from across Oregan. They share a tasting room with Rex Hills Winery in Newberg in the Willamette Valley and was one of the wineries I visited during my Willamette Valley wine tour a couple of years back

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2016 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir: Clear medium red, red licorice on the nose, medium juicy red fruit with some herb notes on the balanced finish.  Nothing too serious but very drinkable. 

 

 

Oregon: Eola-Amity Hills AVA

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Driving southward towards the Mid Willamette Valley I spent a couple of days touring wineries in the Eola-Amity AVA (about an hour south of Portland). The AVA is anchored in the Southeast by the state capital of Salem and contains over 33 wineries.

A distinguishing characteristic of this AVA is the Van Duzer Corridor. The corridor is a gap in the Western coastal mountain range of the Willamette valley which lets the cool Pacific Ocean maritime air flow into the AVA. Besides making for many breezy days, the winds help dry out the vineyards which controls mildew and rot. It also drops the nighttime temperatures about 28° F. which helps the grapes to retain acidity.

 

Cristom Vineyards  6905 Spring Valley Rd

Family run winery with the estate wines named after the family matriarchs, Dustin in the tasting room provided an excellent tasting experience the day we visited.

2014 Pinot Noir “Mt Jefferson”: A blend of grapes from each estate, medium purple, barnyard on the nose, silky black fruit with mint notes, a good grip and silky tannins on the finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Estate”: Combines barrels from all four of their estate Pinot Noir vineyards, Medium red, sour cherry, dark chocolate and menthol on the nose, moderate fruit, dusty tannins and good balance.

2014 Pinot Noir “Eileen Vineyard”: Medium purple, pretty nose of barnyard and dark chocolate, silky pretty fruit of red licorice and dark chocolate, great balance, long finish.

2014 Syrah: Dark red to black with a purple rim, black leather on the nose, big mouthful of roast meat, slate on the dark fruit, great balance.

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Van Duzer Vineyards  11975 Smithfield Rd

2015 Pinot Gris: Medium gold, tropical fruits on the nose, crisp with big lime notes on the finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Dijon Blocks”: A blend of six Pinot noir clones, medium to light purple, barnyard and menthol notes on the nose, chewy black licorice, tight red cherry fruit.

2012 Pinot Noir “Bieze Vineyards”: Medium purple, sweet red licorice on the nose, red licorice fruit followed by crisp red fruit on the finish.

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Saint Innocent Winery  5657 Zena Rd

Winery had a “sip and savor” wine tasting option where 3 very tasty appetizers are served with wine pairings.

2015 Pinot Noir “Villages Cuvée”: A blend from five vineyards, medium purple, cherry jam on the nose, red cherry fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Pinot Noir “Zenith Vineyard”: Light brick, perfume of sour fruit, bright red cherry fruit, moderate acids.

2013 Pinot Noir “Freedom Hill”: Medium purple, walnuts on the nose, bright dusty fruit, crisp finish.

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Bethel Heights Vineyards  6060 Bethel Heights Rd

Winery established in 1977, all wines produced from estate owned vineyards.

2014 Chardonnay “Justice Vineyard”: Medium gold, big nose of tropical fruits, pineapple and oak with creamy lemon custard on the fruit and roasted nuts on the firm finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Justice Vineyard”: Medium to dark brick with stewed plums and crushed black fruit on the nose, tight black cherry fruit followed by firm tannins.

2014 Pinot Noir “Flat Block”: Medium purple, pencil shavings on the nose, juicy plums on the fruit, minerals and red licorice on the finish, balanced.

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Willamette Valley Vineyards  8800 Enchanted Way SE

The vineyard is a few minutes south of the city of Salem, just outside the AVA boundary, huge building on top of a hill with many tasting rooms, a restaurant and nice views.

2013 Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills”: Brick in color, barnyard and sour cherry notes on the nose, black licorice on the fruit, moderate acids and a long finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Chelahem  Mts”: Brick in color, pretty perfume of tree bark and black licorice, silky fruit with earth notes, chewy red leather and a bright finish.

2015 Pinot Noir “Founders Reserve”: Medium red, plum and menthol on the nose, silky, chewy black cherry and leather fruit, bright acids at the end.

Oregon: Dundee Hills AVA

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The Dundee Hills AVA is about 28 miles southwest of Portland. Some of the first vineyards in Oregon were planted in the iron-rich, volcanic soils of the region and many of the states most famous wineries are located in this AVA. Over 40 wineries are here. Since it is close to Portland, the weekends will be crammed with day-trippers.

 

Domaine Drouhin  6750 NE Breyman Orchard Rd

This winery is probably the most famous vineyard in the state. The Drouhin family purchased land here in 1987 which is at the same latitude of the Burgundy region in France. Kellie, the Hospitality Concierge was a gracious hostess. They are releasing a second label called ” Arthur”.

2015 Chardonnay Estate “Arthur”: Medium yellow with green herbs and oak notes on the nose, white chocolate on the fruit with good structure.

2014 Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills”: Dark purple, crushed dark fruit and green herbs on the nose, concentrated, plum notes with a silky finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Cuvée Lauréne”: Medium amber with a pretty nose of violets and earth, sweet red leather fruit, firm, long finish.

2008 Pinot Noir: Brick color, barnyard on the nose, tight and tannic.

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Stoller Family Estate  16161 NE McDougall Rd

We had an appointment and they did not disappoint with a private tasting.

2015 Pinot Noir “Reserve”: Medium purple, dried herbs and red fruit on the nose, tight, red silky fruit.

2014 Pinot Noir “Helen’s”: From 2 acres of land, medium purple, roasted meat on the nose, chewy, black licorice fruit, great grip, black olives on the long finish.

2014 Syrah: From one acre of land planted, dark purple, roasted meat and bacon drippings n the nose, deep concentration with silky dark cherry fruit.

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Domaine Serene  6555 Hilltop Ln

2014 Chardonnay “Cote Sud”: Medium gold, mango, tropical fruit on the nose, tight fruit, balanced finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Yamhill Cuvée”: Medium purple, pretty perfume of black olives, silky red fruit, still young, tannins need to smooth out.

2014 Pinot Noir “Evenstad Reserve”: Medium purple, spicy, Asian spices on the nose, juicy, black licorice and red cherry fruit followed with crisp acids.

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Sokol Blosser Winery  5000 Sokol Blosser Ln

2013 Pinot Noir “Goosepen Bock”: From 2.5 acres, brick color, barnyard on the nose, silky, tarry notes and leather on the fruit, finishes with black pepper notes.

2013 Pinot Noir “Legacy Cuvée”: Brick in color, tart, barnyard nose, juicy, chewy black licorice fruit, firm finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Bigtree Block”: Light brick, barnyard and red cherry on the nose, red cherry fruit, firm finish, peppery.

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Soter Vineyards  10880 NE Mineral Springs Rd

Ok so technically, this vineyard is just west of the Dundee Hills AVA in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA but close enough. Modernistic tasting room with a big kitchen and 32 acres planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Wine host met us in the parking lot with glasses of rosé in hand.

2015 North Valley Chardonnay: Their non estate Chard, medium gold with green tints, dried white flowers and green herbs on the nose, tight and dry with lime and tropical fruit notes on the finish.

2014 North Valley Origin “Yamhill-Carlton”: Medium purple, light barnyard and red cherry on the nose, silky red fruit, nicely balanced.

2014 Soter Pinot Noir “Mineral Springs Ranch”: Dark purple, closed nose of crushed black fruit with a hint of rosemary, black licorice on the tight fruit with firm, dusty tannins at the end. Still young.

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The Four Graces  9605 NE Foxfarm Rd

2014 Pinot Noir “Willamette”: Medium purple, crushed plums and slate on the nose, silky red cola on the fruit followed with some astringency at the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Reserve”: Medium purple, barnyard, crushed black fruit and crushed rock on the nose, with bright red fruit and firm tannins and acids.

2014 Pinot Noir “Lindsay’s Reserve”: Medium purple, green herbs, red licorice on the nose, chunky red fruit with mouth coating tannin at the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Foley Family Estate”: Medium purple to brick, barnyard notes on the nose, juicy red licorice fruit, balanced finish, silky tannins.

***

Roco Winery  13260 NE Red Hills Rd

This is a small winery on the northern border of Dundee HIlls.

2014 Pinot Noir “Wit’s End”: Light red to brick in color, closed nose with some stinkiness with bright red cherry fruit.

2014 Pinot Noir “Private Stash #12”: Light red, red licorice and leather on the nose, bright cherry fruit, moderate to long finish, firm acids.

2014 Pinot Noir “The Stalker”: Light brick, tree bark and black licorice on the nose, medium to light juicy fruit with good acidity.

2014 Pinot Noir “Fossil Block”: From a single block of vines, medium red, black licorice and smoke on the nose, concentrated, silky, firm with a long finish.

 

 

Oregon: Chehalem Mtns & McMinnville AVAs

 

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On the first week of April I took a road trip to the Willamette Valley in Oregon to meet some colleagues for a week of wine tasting, visiting the various AVA’s. It was  the first time for me visiting the Pacific Northwest. The wine country of Willamette Valley is about 150 miles long with 500+ wineries specializing in Pinot Noir with Pinot Gris as the predominate white grape though Chardonnay is starting to make a comeback. Some producers made some Riesling and Viogner as well and for many wineries I visited, the pet project for many wine makers was producing a cool weather Syrah.

The Willamette Valley became an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1983 and was further divided into six sub-AVAs in the early 2000’s.

My first day of the Oregon wine crawl began in the Chehalem Mountains AVA (established in 2006), the appellation has the highest mountains in the Willamette valley and 31 wineries and it’s about a 45 minute drive south of Portland. The McMinnville AVA (established in 2005) is further south with fewer wineries about 10 minutes south of the town of McMinnville.

Wine country around here is beautiful rolling green hills, fresh air and hospitable people, and at this time of year, cool, misty weather. It reminded me of Umbria in Italy except without the hillside, Medieval towns.

 

Coeur de Terre Vineyards (McMinnville21000 SW Eagle Point Rd.

A real Mom & Pop operation started from scratch with passion and hard work by Scott and Lisa Neal. A drive on dirt roads to the hilltop winery, I was lucky to have Lisa Neal on hand to explain the wines that day.

2013 Pinot Noir Oregon: Their restaurant “wine by the glass” wine. Light red with red cherry and barnyard notes on the nose, cherry licorice on the fruit, easy drinking.

2012 Pinot Noir Heritage Reserve: Medium red, menthol on the nose, silky tannins on the red cherry fruit.

2012 Pinot Noir “Tallulah’s Run”: Dark red, toast and crushed black fruit and violets on the nose, concentrated and silky fruit with silky tannins on the firm finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Abbey’s Block”: Medium red, sweet red fruit and minerals on the nose, concentrated red cherry fruit, good grip and balance.

2012 Pinot Noir “Sarah Jane’s Block”: Medium to dark purple, stinky barnyard on the nose, concentrated and silky fruit ending with firm tannins.

2012 Pinot Noir “Renelle’s Block”: Medium red with a pretty perfume of violets, red flowers and fresh herbs, chunky red fruit with silky tannins and a nice grip the end.

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Bergström Winery (Chehalem Mtns18215 NE Calkins Ln.

A drive into the hills brings you to a minimalist tasting room overlooking the vineyards.

2014 Chardonnay “Sigrid”  Medium gold, toast, lime and petroleum on the nose, the fruit is lighter than the aroma with tropical fruit notes. Very complex nose.

2015 Pinot Noir “Gregory Ranch”:  Medium red with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, tight silky fresh herbs on the fruit. Good balance and structure.

2015 Pinot Noir “Shea”:  85 acres planted, medium purple with a pretty perfume of crushed red fruit and tea.

2015 Pinot Noir “Silice”:  Light purple, earth, slate and black fruit on the nose, tight green herbs and tannins showing through on the fruit, balanced.

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Rex Hills Vineyard (Chehalem Mtns30835 North Highway 99W.

Winery located just outside the town of Newberg, gateway to the Willamette Valley and a sister property of A-Z Wineworks.

2016 A-Z Rosé: Made from Sangiovese, very light red, ripe strawberry and watermelon on the nose, light strawberry jam on the fruit, nice balance.

2014 Rex Hills Chardonnay:  Light yellow, toast and butterscotch on the nose, tight with oak notes on the finish.

2014 Rex HIlls Pinot Noir “Willamette Valley”: Medium red with bacon grease and black fruit on the nose, tight with pine notes on the fruit, firm finish.

2014 Rex Hills Pinot Noir “Jacob-Hart”: 36 acres of biodynamic vineyards, clear, medium red, roast meat and crushed black fruit on the nose, silky concentration with great balance and a long finish.

 

 

 

Pinot Noir On Long Island

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Of all the classic grape varieties, Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult to grow. There was never much hope that Pinot Noir would be the stand out varietal out on the East end but that hasn’t stopped winemakers from trying. Several wineries on the North Fork bottle Pinot Noir and on this sunny Sunday afternoon I tried a few.

 

2014 Martha Clara Vineyard Pinot Noir  6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead.

Medium to dark red in the glass, sweet cherry on the nose, crisp acids up front with red cherry and smoke notes on the light fruit.

 

2013 McCall Winery Pinot Noir “HIllside”  22600 Main Road, Cutchogue.

A real working farm as the earthy scent in the air attests to, the tasting room is in an old potato barn. This wine is the middle of a trio of Pinot Noir they pour, medium red, black cherry and tobacco on the nose with tight, smokey black cherry on the fruit ending with some tartness.

 

2012 Castello di Borghese Vineyard Pinot Noir “Estate”  17150 County Road 48, Cutchogue.

This is the site of the first vineyard (Hargrave) on Long Island in 1973. Medium red, sour cherry on the nose with sour red fruit and some earth on the fruit with some tartness at the end.

 

My pet peeve again.

I don’t mind when the tasting rooms charge wine bar prices for a glass of wine, after all they have a business to run, but I feel that their wines would be better showcased and the wine drinker have a better wine drinking experience if they served their wines in proper glasses instead of the thimble-sized glasses that many of the tasting rooms on the North Fork do.

 

 

Snowy Day & Pinot Days

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This past Saturday I attended the 5th annual Pinot Days wine fest. The event was held this year as in last, at City Winery on 155 Varick Street in Manhattan. Pinot Days, whose mantra is “serious wine, serious fun” is the largest gathering of Pinot Noir producers in the world. The events are held in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and this week in New York City. In New York over 35 producers were scheduled to show up for this event to pour Pinot Noir mainly from California with a table or two from Oregon and New Zealand as well. At the San Francisco event there over 100 producers in attendance , much more than the New York event but there was still plenty of juice to be sampled on Saturday.

Last Saturday was also the day that a massive snow storm was scheduled to hit the city. There was speculation from high to low on how much snow would actually fall in New York, in fact the city got hit with the second highest accumulation of snow since they started keeping records for that sort of thing in 1869 with the official count at 26.8 inches (68cm) of snow on the ground. That missed the record by just .1 inch. Since the vendors and winemakers were already in town for the event and the product was at the venue, the show went on despite the blizzard and frankly, indoors drinking good wine was probably the best thing to be doing during a raging snowstorm. Many wine drinkers managed to find their way down to Varick Street and the event was surprisingly crowded with many happy drinkers.

In my opinion the 2013 and 2014 Pinots were drinking very well. Some of what I sampled:

 

Sojourn Cellars

2014 Pinot Noir “Sangiacomo” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with bright cherry nose, silky with some earth on the finish, great balance.

2014 Pinot Noir “Ridgetop” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with earth notes on the nose, silky with a moderate to long balanced finish.

Proprietor Craig Haserot was kind enough to pour some his limited release (300-400 cases) Cabernet Sauvignon which was mighty tasty juice.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Home Ranch” (Sonoma Valley). Dark red to black in color, dusty mint on the nose, chewy and silky, camphor on the firm tannin, great balance.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with a pretty perfume of dark plum and licorice, silky dark fruit, concentrated with great balance.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Rutherford” (Napa Valley). Dark red with a purple robe, dark chocolate and dried herbs on the nose, tight and dense with firm tannins and acids on the end. The most austere of the three.

Lula Cellars

2012 Pinot Noir “Costa Vineyard” (Mendocino). From a five acre vineyard, medium red with turned earth and red cherry on the nose and bright, silky fruit and crisp acids.

Waits-Mast Family Cellars

2012 Pinot Noir “Mariah Vineyards” (Mendocino Ridge). From a very small production winery (50-100 case lots). Light brick in color, slate on the nose, chewy with dark chocolate on the nicely balanced finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Nash Hill” (Anderson Valley). Light red in color, red cherry and earth on the nose, Asian spices on the fruit, moderate to long finish, balanced.

2013 Pinot Noir “Oppenlander” (Mendocino County). Light brick, smoky dark chocolate on the nose with smoky red cherry on the bright finish.

Panthea Winery

2011 Pinot Noir “Londer Vineyard” (Anderson Valley). Another small production winery (1500 case total). Medium red with a pretty perfume of with flowers, mint, silky dark fruit, nice balance on the moderate to long finish.

2012 Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). From a 2.5 acre plot, light purple with dried herbs on the nose with juicy dark cherry fruit and silky acids at the end.

Trombetta Winery

2013 Pinot Noir “Gap’s Crown” (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red, prune notes on the nose with silky dark fruit and a great balance.

Chenoweth Winery

2012 Pinot Noir (Green Valley). Only 175 cases produced, medium red, spicy red fruit and some toast on the nose, juicy with firm acids.

Balo Vineyards

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). Medium red, dried herbs on the nose, bright cherry fruit with firm acids.

Brooks Note Winery

2013 Pinot Noir (Marin County). Very small producer with this bottling at 250 cases, light brick, turned earth on the nose, silky fruit, a little one dimensional but a nice glass of wine.

2013 Pinot Noir “Weir Vineyard” (Yorkville Highlands). 150 cases produced, light purple, tobacco on the nose, smoke, violets and tobacco on the hard finish.

Thomas Fogarty Winery

2012 Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mtn). Medium amber, barnyard on the nose with bright cherry herbs on the bright finish.

Bel Glos Winery

2014 Pinot Noir “Clark & Telephone” (Santa Maria Valley). Dark red, dried herbs on the nose with chewy dark chocolate fruit and good balance. An un pinot, pinot.

Mansfield Dunne Winery

2012 Pinot Noir “Peterson Vineyard” (Santa Lucia Highlands). Light brick with dusty oak on the nose, tight and silky.

Saintsbury Winery

2014 Pinot Noir “Lee Vineyard” (Carneros). Medium red, dried herbs on the nose with bright black cherry, crisp, moderate to long finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” (Carneros). Closed nose, chewy and chunky dark fruit, good balance.

Bernardus Winery

2012 Pinot Noir “Pisoni Vineyard” (Santa Lucia Highlands). Medium clear red, crushed rocks on the nose, juicy, plummy, dark fruit, firm with some heat but tasty.

 

 

 

Pinot Days 2015

 

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This past Sunday afternoon I attended the 4th annual Pinot Days wine event. Part of a Pinot Noir wine tour which was billed as the “largest gathering of Pinot Noir producers in the world”. The tour will also make stops in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. At this event in New York, 40 wineries from California, Oregon and New Zealand poured their selections though most of the wineries were from California. The event was held at City Winery located at 155 Varick Street in Manhattan and was open to the public.

The icy conditions that Sunday afternoon made for a smaller crowd than last years event as well as fewer wineries attending this time around.

At the beginning of the tasting I decided to focus on the small producers I wasn’t familiar with. Some of the highlights:

California

2012 Mansfield-Dunne Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands). This producer only makes two wines topping out at about 300 cases for each wine. Brick in color with a nice perfume of earth, smoke and black cherry and was tight and tart.

2012 J. Wilkes Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley). Another small lots producer, medium red with earth and black cherry on the nose with juicy fruit and acids on the finish.

2009 Clos de la Tech Pinot Noir “Domaine du Docteur Rodgers” (Santa Cruz Mts.). Some tech guys decided to start a winery, today they poured a trio of their ’09’s, this one was medium to dark red in color with dusty and floral notes on the nose and was dusty and silky with a big hit of chewy tannin at the end. Some heat.

2012 Landmark Cellars Pinot Noir “Overlook” (California). Sourced from three appellations, medium red with floral dark chocolate on the nose, juicy with cinnamon spice on the fruit with good balance.

2012 Thomas Fogerty Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mts.). Medium red with dried herbs on the nose, tart bright fruit with some earth notes on the finish.

2012 Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir “Russian River Selection” (Russian River Valley). Light red in color with toasty cherry on the nose, silky dark cherry fruit with nice balance.

2012 Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir “Bacigalupi Vineyard” (Russian River Valley). Light red with damp earth and mushroom on the nose with vanilla and cinnamon notes on the tight finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir “Rodgers Creek” (Sonoma Coast). Light red in color, closed nose of dark berries, tight, bright fruit with chocolate notes on the crisp finish.

2012 Davis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir “Horseshoe Bend” (Russian River Valley). Medium red with mushroom and earth on the nose with herbs and damp earth on the moderate to long finish.

2012 Davis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir “Soul Patch” (Russian River Valley). Medium red with a stinky nose, silky dark fruit with bitter chocolate on the long and balanced finish.

2011 Saintsbury Winery Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” (Carneros). Medium red with warm, dusty chocolate on the nose, juicy with mint notes on the balanced finish.

2011 MacPhail Family Wines Pinot Noir “Pratt Vineyards” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with dried herbs on the nose, juicy and dusty with firm tannin.

2011 MacPhail Family Wines Pinot Noir “Sundawg Ridge” (Russian River Valley). Medium to light red in color with earth notes on the nose with earthy and dusty fruit and great balance.

Oregon

2012 Van Duzer Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette). Medium red with toasty, floral notes on the nose, dark cherry fruit with big acids on the finish.

New Zealand

2011 Pyramid Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir “Earth Smoke” (Canterbury). There was one table of Pinot from New Zealand, I asked for the most “stinky” wine and this is what I was given. Cloudy light red in color, with, yes a stinky nose and was tight and tart.