Monday, March 29, 2010

Pinot Paradise 3/28/10

This is an annual event in Campbell, organized by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, featuring most of the Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir producers - 37 this year.

I started with the VIP tour. Some of the wineries poured different wines for the general tasting, so I revisited a couple for those. I like very much that the wineries are organized alphabetically, so they're easy to find despite the crowd. What I didn't like *AT ALL* is that they have the food stations interspersed with pouring stations. The A-M side is more densely packed and much of it was overwhelmed by strong food odors. This made it difficult to impossible to smell some of the wines, and it's very fatiguing. I had to get a pour, walk out of the area to take notes, then walk back to get the next pour. Stupid! Some of the pourers didn't seem too happy about it either, BECAUSE THEY ARE PROUD OF THEIR WINES AND WANT PEOPLE TO ABLE TO DISTINGUISH THEIR CREATIONS FROM GENERIC $8 GROCERY STORE WINES!

Anyway, this is my favorite wine region and there are so many good wines. I paced myself and only managed less than half of who was there. Lots of familiar faces and good conversion. What I most looked forward to was trying the Nicholson Pinots and the '07 Mountain Winery. Ian Brand started at Nicholson in '08, having apprenticed at SCMV and Big Basin. I was impressed by some other wines of his previously, especially the '08 Nicholson Viognier. Jeffrey Patterson of Mount Eden makes the wines for the nearby and historic Mountain Winery. You can dig back to find a post on a visit last year to try their '06 estate Chard and Pinot. Okay, enough with the rambling...

BIG BASIN VINEYARDS
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'08 Woodruff Vineyard
Nose - soft, smooth, berry,cigar box, dried herbs, smoke, a touch of orange zest.
Soft, spicy, roasty berry, dried savory and bay, lemon zest, touches of raspberry, pith, meat, cranberry. Needs a year. 91+ pts

'09 Woodruff Vineyard
Nose - lovely pure fruit framed by dried herbs and spice, primary Morgan - lovely!, nice mineral sense.
Smooth mushroomy Morgan, good mineral and earth. Needs 2 years. 92 pts

BURRELL SCHOOL
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'08 with RC212 yeast
Nose - odd piquant aromatic wood, dusty, nice dark berry.
Very dark berry and black plum, full, beefy. 89 pts

'08 with Assmanshausen yeast (I think that's German for Assman's house)
Nose - lighter, fully ripe, more raspberry.
Deep, tingly, dark berry, pungeant, dusty spicy wood. 90 pts

HALLCREST
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'08 Assmanshausen yeast
Nose - softly meaty, mushroom, bay.
Light, lovely spice and mineral, soft berry.

'08 DMY5 yeast
Nose - bright berry and sandalwood, smooth, flat mushroom, nice berry, tart, a bit savory.

'08 RC212 yeast
Nose - dusty smooth dark berry, with kumquat marmalade.
Dusty, tart, smooth blackberry and mushroom.

I'd guess the fungal notes on these were from too many moldy grapes in the mix. It certainly detracted from their potential. I reserved judgment as the grape quality is there and they may evolve well. Right now, not impressed.

'06 Vista del Mare
Nose - forward berry, with citrus, spice and VA (slight hint of nail polish).
Smooth, flat, berry, meat, pith. 84 pts

'05 Terra Serena (AKA Woodruff)
Nose - lovely, full, savory, nice forest floor, smooth berry.
Smooth berry, peppery spice, savory, a bit flat, biting, rustic. 89 pts

WINDY OAKS
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'07 Wild Yeast
Nose - shy, complex, berry and spice, lovely balance.
Smooth, soft oak, nice perfumey berry. 91 pts

'07 Cuvee
Nose - full bursting berry.
Smooth soft berry, spice and mushroom, bay. 91 pts

I was a bit fatigued at this point, keeping up with the group. I would expect a bit more from these delicate wines, but they could also just not be showed all they have in store for when they hit their drinking windows. Anyway, after this I went at my own pace.

ALFARO
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'06 Lester Vyd.
Nose - lovely heady spice and berry.
Lovely roasty smooth berry, savory spice, touch of redwood. 91+ pts

'07 Lester Vyd.
Nose - rich, bright berry, lovely savory spice, roasty citrus note.
Nice spicy oak, blackberry, spiced plum, good complexity. 92 pts

'07 Lindsay Paige Vyd.
Nose - spicy plum, soft berry, biscotti. Intriguing.
Soft berry, nutmeg, redwood, cinnamon. 91 pts

'07 Alfaro Vyd.
Nose - warm citrus, berry, savory.
Smooth, peppery, soft berry, green peppercorn, biting. Needs 1+ year. 90 pts

MOUNT EDEN
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'06 Estate
Nose - rich, savory, minerally berry.
Smooth, shy, still a bit primary, raspberry, good minerality. 92 pts

'07 Estate
Nose - lovely, heady, smooth, rustic roasty berry, good mineral.
Moulin-a-Vent. Excellent berry and mineral expression. Just lovely! Smooth, light on its feet, broadly complex. 95 pts

MOUNTAIN WINERY
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'07 Estate
Nose - smoky, smooth, dark plum and berry, good mineral, bay, citrus.
Smooth/dusty oak tannin, blackberry, tangello, refreshing, dark minerality. Ready to go, but should improve over a year. 92 pts

BEAUREGARD
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'07 Estate Beauregard Ranch
Nose - really nice dusty peppery spice, smooth youthful rustic berry.
Spicy/peppery roasty berry, touch of jujube, smooth, dusty, touch of green peppercorn, nice lingering spice. 92 pts

'07 Trout Gulch Vyd.
Nose - Smooth, rich, youthful syrupy berry, reminiscent of McHenry in its complex background notes, spicy, savory, blackberry, bay, black pepper, tarragon.
Smooth, peppery, nutmeg, berry, balsa, dusty tannin, grippy finish. Drink '11-'15. 91 pts

BLACK RIDGE VINEYARD
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'06 Estate
Nose - bright earthy berry, orange blossom.
Smooth savory earthy berry, exotic wood aromatics, savory. Drink now-15. 91 pts

'07 Estate
Nose - bright pure berry with a lovely nutmeg spice, custard.
Exotic spiciness, firm dusty tannin, fresh berry, citrus and zest. Drink '11-'17. 92 pts

'08 Estate barrel sample
Nose - Lovely blackberry, creme brulee, redwood, cinnamon.
Exotic wood spiciness, nutmeg, redwood, cinnamon, boysenberry, dusty/chalky tannins. 92 pts

BIG BASIN VINEYARD
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'07 Alfaro Vyd.
Nose - citrusy sandalwood, savory, exotic oak.
Sappy - lovely stemmy spice, fresh boysenberry and plum. 93 pts

NICHOLSON
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'08 SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
Nose - a bit shy, with bay, cinnamon, orange marmalade, nutmeg, redwood.
Peppery orange spice, redwood, cinnamon, savory berry. 92 pts

'08 RESERVE
Nose - impressive savory spice, rich berry, white pepper.
Lovely peppery savory berry, boysenberry, cinnamon, green cardamon, redwood. 93 pts

SARAH'S VINEYARD
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'07 Santa Cruz Mountains (Veranda & Regen vineyards)
Nose - nice perfumed berry, savory note, primary.
Nice savory berry, a bit peppery, hint of green peppercorn and bay, boysenberry, dusty gritty tannin. 92 pts

'08 Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose - bright, redwood, white pepper, full berry.
Dusty wood, bright berry, jalapeno. Really nice. 92 pts

'09 Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose - lovely primary candied berry, smoky, rich.
Blackberry, peach, apricot, redwood, orange custard, nutmeg, white pepper, ash. 93 pts

'07 Rebhahn Vyd.
Nose - rich/roasty/smoky/savory, exotic deep dark fruits, white pepper.
Savory, smooth, Juicy Fruit gum, full berry, redwood, cinnamon, cardamon, lovely lingering spice. 93+ pts

I need to visit this winery.

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS VINEYARD
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'07 Branciforte Creek
Nose - peppery, savory, blackberry, exotic wood, lovely, heady, aromatic.
Ashy, peppery, blackberry, savory stemmy spice. 92+ pts

'06 Bailey's Branciforte Ridge
Nose - rich barnyardy berry, good minerality, white pepper.
Tart, smoky boysenberry, with elderberry, a hint of raspberry, orange zest, dusty tannin. 91+ pts

SOQUEL
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'07 Proprietor's Reserve Saveria Vyd.
Nose - youthful, smooth, blueberry and boysenberry.
Exotic roasty raspberry, bright, hints of jujube and redwood, passion fruit, very expressive of Corralitos. 93 pts

FOGARTY
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'08 Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose - rich but shy berry, notes of mushroom.
Rich sappy berry, pert, savory dried herbs. 91 pts

'07 Windy Hill Vyd.
Nose - lovely peppery shy berry fruit.
Smoky ashy roasty blackberry, sappy/savory, rustic dark fruits. Could use a couple years, should evolve well. 93 pts

WINDY OAKS
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'07 Henry's Block
Nose - light headiness, with a smoky/roasty note, bay, shy red fruit.
Peppery feel, shy, smooth, red plum, hints of cranberry and rhubarb, dried savory. 91 pts

'07 100% Whole Cluster
Nose - smooth savory stemmy spice, berry, white pepper.
Smooth berry, nice stemmy peppery spice, a bit smoky. 92 pts

WOODSIDE
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'06 Estate
Nose - deep, dark, savory, dark berry, smoke, candied lemon zest.
Deep dark fruit, peppery, savory, dried basil, nutmeg, citrus, zesty, redwood, roasty fruit. 93 pts

KING'S MOUNTAIN
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'05 Estate
Nose - lovely dried herb, heady smoky spice, dark fruit.
Smoky sulfitey dark berry fruit, with lovely savory dried herbs, slight hint of brett. Needs air. 90 pts

All in all a fun event.

3 comments:

Dave said...

I didn't realise they were pouring different wines on the VIP tour. I was a little late, only getting there dead on 1PM. We had a very small group and there was some confusion over the tasting order so I decided to just hit the open tables before everyone arrived.

You definitely need to visit Sarah's. Let me know when you go; I want to try their new Rhones.

Tim Corliss said...

Thanks Wes. In reading your blog and Dave's, seems like the gems of the tasting (outside of the obvious names) were Nicholson and Sarah's Vineyard.

Any other up and comers to keep an eye on?

Wes Barton said...

Alfaro have clearly been learning and improving, and seem to be at the point where the quality and consistency are exceptional. I talked to Jim Schultze about it a bit, and he thinks so, too. I love to see winemakers who really strive like that.