Archive for November, 2010

29
Nov
10

Four Graces…for sure

2008 – Four Graces Pinot Noir, Willamette ValleyJust a wonderfully supple and rich Pinot, with a nose full of spiced red berries and warm hints of leather and earth. The palate brought darker fruits like black cherry, a hint of plum and soothing nuances of baking spices (it reminded me a little of the Martinelli Moonshine Ranch…described as Holidays in a Glass). Mid-palate brought in some brighter notes of strawberries and a cranberry laced acidity. The structure was lovely with really smooth and gentle tannins that tied into a very satisfying finish. This one really went great with left overs and nice fire in the fireplace!

15
Nov
10

Pinot Days Chicago 2010

If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending one of these events, either here in Chicago or elsewhere, I highly recommend that you do! For the nominal fee of $50 one is offered over 300 different Pinots from close to 70 different wineries from the Central Coast all the way up to Willamette Valley! I have to admit that one can be a bit overwhelmed when entering for the first time; the Festival Hall at Navy Pier is huge and the buzz in the air, electric! But with a game plan it quickly becomes very welcoming and when you reach a table almost intimate as well. I was quite pleasantly surprised that, despite the large number of attendees, the wait to get to a table was not at all bad. So, our game plan was to hit all the wineries that we just had to taste and then fill in the gaps after that and it worked quite well.

By the end of the even we had tasted nearly 50 different Pinots but I’m only going to talk about the highlights and the standouts. In no particular order of course.

Our first stop was at J Vineyards where they had two Pinots to try. First was their 2007 RRV, which was smooth, elegant and structured, showing spiced cherry flavors and silky tannins. The second Pinot was their 2006 Single Vineyard, which was bigger in body and flavours but had more savoury earth notes that added that extra dimension.

At the Domaine Chandon table we were surprised with a 2008 still Pinot Meunier from their Carneros vineyards. This was my first time having a Pinot Meunier and a single varietal still wine and I was very, very impressed. Deeper in colour and darker in fruit profile, this wine exhibited a rich and lush palate that had wonderful earth tones, structure and balance.

Right nest door to Chandon was DeLoach who not only offered up four of their best Pinots they also offered a barrel taste of their newest vintage, which hasn’t gone to market yet. You could tell it was still quite young but it was still quite smooth even with the green wood notes that hovered in the mid-palate.

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I had to make a stop by the Goldeneye table as they were part of our wine makers class last year at Just Grapes and the 2006 Anderson Valley they were pouring did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination! It was a classic style Pinot with w hint of old world using only French oak casks (35% new and a the balance being seasoned no older that two seasons).

Okay, let’s talk Merry Edwards! They had two offerings: the 2007 Sonoma Coast, which was basic but not boring but the 2007 Flax Vineyard, Russian River Valley Pinot was outstanding!

Next door was Martinelli, which offered up their 2007 Lolita Ranch Russian River Valley and my personal fav on that table the 2008 Moonshine Ranch Russian River Valley, which was as the rep (A Martinelli herself) said, “It’s like Christmas in a glass!” Which could not have been a more accurate statement. It had this lovely deep ruby colour and a nose full of warm baking spices that led into a palate of spiced red berries and cranberries and finished warm and spicy, with really smooth tannins.

Failla was one of the newer wineries and by no means an underdog. Their Pinots from Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley were exceptional!

The last one I’m going to talk about was hands down both mine and my girlfriend’s favourite of the night! The Fog Crest¬†2008 Laguna West, Russian River Valley Pinot was rich with cherry and plum flavours balanced by warm spicy notes. Soft tannins provide wonderful structure and the finish lingers on and on with dark fruit and cola notes! Fog Crest got it’s start in 1998 with South/East facing slopes and sandstone¬†soils that provide the ideal growing conditions for Pinot and Chardonnay. So, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying Fog Crest I highly urge you to do so.

http://www.fogcrestvineyard.com/

After nearly four hours of tasting it was time to eat so we finished the night off at Cafe Iberico for some amazing Tapas and a bottle of the 2006 Campo Viejo Crianza, Rioja!

Pinot Days is, as I said, an amazing event that should be attended by everyone and anyone who loves West Coast Pinots! I know we’ll be going back next year!