Thursday, November 25, 2010

Harrington Wines Open House - 11/20/10

This is always a fun event. They have three tables of wines: current releases, future releases, and library wines. Harrington specializes in Pinot Noir from distinct well managed vineyards from Chalone to Mendocino. (Going forward a good portion of Nebbiolo is entering the mix.) The format of this tasting allows us to compare the vineyard characteristics of different wines from the same vintages, and also multiple vintages of some of the same wines. Good exercises to get a feel for general vintage characteristics, as well as how specific wines age.

Last year I took comprehensive notes. This year I decided to be more social and just have a good time. I value having my own notes to reference, but taking them can sometimes be a bit of a burden. One of the things I love about wine is how what specific people enjoy varies completely. On the extremes are wines some people love and others hate, for whatever reasons. Other wines seem to "do it" for everyone. Nothing extreme here, but preferences varied.

The star of the day was the '07 Gap's Crown, which was just stunning and everyone was raving about. Favorite among the other current releases varied. It was nice to see that the '08 Krause has come around and developed into a nice wine - one of my favorites. I also particularly enjoyed the '08 Iund. Most of these would benefit from some age or time in a decanter. The current releases:
'07 Gap's Crown Vineyard (Sonoma Coast)
'07 Iund Vineyard (Carneros)
'07 Wiley Vineyard (Anderson Valley)
'07 Brosseau Vineyard (Chalone)
'08 Gap's Crown Vineyard (Sonoma Coast)
'08 Iund Vineyard (Carneros)
'08 Krause Vineyard (San Francisco Bay)
'08 Brosseau Vineyard (Chalone)

The future release table was really exciting to me. The '09 Mendocino was my highlight amongst the bottled Pinots. (Sorry, don't have the line-up.) Also stunningly good were barrel samples of the '10 Mendocino and the '10 Russian River Valley. Those two may ultimately be the best wines Bryan has made. Also at the table were the '08 and '09 Nebbiolos. When I've tasted them before I wondered if they just weren't my type of wine, if they'd develop into something better, why Bryan is so obsessed. Now I get it. Don't if it's the wines developing or if my palate is acclimating to Nebbiolo, but they seem more complex and nuanced. Most people seemed to prefer the '08, which is resolved and ready to drink. But I was more impressed with the '09, despite its rough edges.

The third table showed how well these wines age. There was also a couple of side-by-sides with Gang of Six versions of the same wines. Fun stuff. It was great meeting and chatting with some new people while enjoying these wines.

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