More Anderson Noir Valley Pinot
2009: A year of redemption after the disastrous fires in 2008 which cast a pall over the vineyards, 2009 was a
more typical growing season in the Anderson Valley. Winter rains were lighter than usual, and a mid-May heat
wave brought high temperatures. Bud break was late and spring was generally cool but not accompanied by
frost. The summer was moderate and relatively cool allowing slow ripening and a prolonged harvest that
began in mid-September and finished the last week of October. A later September heat wave brought grapes
quickly to optimum ripeness and a large October storm provided a challenge that most vintners avoided. In
summary, the quality of the vintage parallels the 2007 vintage, and probably surpasses it.
2010: Fruit set was good. Mild and cool growing season with heavy cloud cover and fog during most of the
summer. Unseasonably cool in late summer, delaying grape maturation by a few weeks. A moderate heat
wave in August pushed ripeness. Another moderate heat wave the last week of September was followed by
mild weather the first weeks of October. The long, cool growing season produced wines of good fruit intensity
and excellent acid balance.
2010 Balo Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.63,
248 cases, $39.95. Released May 1, 2012. 1.5 tons/acre. 46% 777, 22%
Pommard, lesser amounts of 828, 115 and Martini clones. Aged 11
months in 30% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. Crafted
by Jason Drew.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely
perfumed with aromas of deep red raspberries black cherries and rose
bouquet. Moderately rich, earth-kissed flavors of black cherries with a hint of
spice and cherry cola. Bright acidity, supple tannins and generous length. Very
polished and sophisticated.
2011 Balo Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 62 cases, pH 3.40, TA 0.66, $20.95 (sold out).
100% 777 clone. Saignée, aged in stainless steel barrels for 6 months, unfined.
Pretty red rose color with
slight haze in the glass. Initially, very nice aromas of strawberries and red raspberries, changing in the glass to
slight aromas of fresh cut apples and white raisins (acetaldehyde). Refreshing and crisp featuring red berry
flavors with hi-tone citrusy acidity on the herb-toned finish. Decent.
2009 Black Kite Angel Hawk Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH
3.50, TA 0.58, 100 cases, $75. A reserve wine from Kite’s Rest Vineyard aged
20 months in 100% new French oak and 7 months in bottle.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Very fragrant, offering a perfume of ripe
plums, blueberries, Moroccan spices, oak and sweet pipe smoke. Bigshouldered
and richly endowed with spiced dark stone fruits backed by wellproportioned
firm tannins and toasty oak, offering a creamy texture, and finishing
with impressive length. Tasted the next day from a previously opened and recorked
bottle, the wine was still burly and flashy with plenty of oak and tannin.
Very California at heart and seductive for those who relish this style. Very good.
2010 Bruliam Deer Meadows Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $46. Released December
11, 2011. From a vineyard that sits 1,600 feet above the valley floor, farmed by Rich Savoy. Calera (20%), 777
(50%) and 115 (30%) clones are co-fermented. Aged 10 months in 50% new Francois Frères French oak
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. I love the heady aromas of raspberries,
strawberries, sandalwood and spice. Wood-kissed dark raspberry flavor on a lighter, elegant frame with mild,
fine-grain tannins and adequate acidity. Reserved mid-palate impression and finish, but has charm. Tasted
twice. Good (+).
2010 Champ de Rêves Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very
seductive aromas of fully ripened cherries with hints of spice,
leather and dark chocolate. Delicious core of black raspberry
and black cherry fruit framed by toasty oak and a bright cut of
acidity. The finish is crazy long: my notes say amazing!
Beautifully composed and balanced. Reminds me of a Russian River Valley
Pinot Noir in character but with better acidity typical of Anderson Valley.
2009 Copain Kiser Vineyard “En Bas” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $65.
color in the glass. The nose offers appealing aromas of black fruits and Chinese 5-spice. Juicy, with a
fresh cut of acidity, offering earth-kissed flavors of black raspberries and black plums, ending with a floral and
citrus-imbued cranberry note on the finish. Opens slowly in the glass. Unchanged the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle. A bit too acidic for me, but this style will find fans. Good.
2009 Copain Kiser Vineyard “En Haut” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Subdued aromas of black cherry tart, blackberry jam and oak. Darker
berry and cherry flavors are featured, mildly compressed by muscular tannins.
Similar to “En Bas,” but more black raspberry fruit intensity, more expressive,
more length and more appealing. A good, but not disproportionate cut of acidity
on the finish. Very good (+).
2010 Couloir Roma’s Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.67, 142 cases, $38.
This vineyard is located on a mountaintop ridge at 1,850 feet elevation. Originally planted for sparkling wine
production, it was retrained to bilateral cordons for fine still wine production. Pommard clone planted in
Goldridge loamy soils, now approaching 20 years old. Sustainably and organically farmed, managed by
Couloir Wines in conjunction with Ardzrooni Vineyard Management. 60% whole cluster. Native yeast
fermentation. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak.
Light garnet color in the glass. Demure but pleasant
aromas of cherry drops, strawberries, and straw. Middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and raspberries
with hints of sandalwood. Smoothly textured with reserved tannins. Very elegant with high-spirited acidity.
2010 Couloir Monument Tree Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.62, 141
cases, $38. This vineyard was planted to Dijon clones in 1999 by Duckhorn Vineyards and is now owned by
Twomey Cellars. Organically farmed, this vineyard is situated in the “deep end” (cooler end) of the Anderson
Valley. Clones 777, 667 and 115. 1/3 fermented whole cluster. 7-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation,
aged 10 months in 30% new French oak.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Uplifting perfume of red
cherries and tea leaf. Moderately intense flavors of dark red cherries and raspberries with a complimentary
hint of spice and oak, robed in ripe, firm tannins. Impressive mid palate impression, welcoming crispness, and
admirable finishing length. A serious wine of pedigree that needs more time in bottle for full expression.
2010 Couloir Londer Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH
3.72, TA 0.62, 141 cases, $38. This 15-acre vineyard is located in a warm pocket
in the “deep end” of the Anderson Valley. Five clones of Pinot Noir. Farmed by
Ardzrooni Vineyard Management. 80% Pommard and 20% Dijon clone 115.
40% whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Intense aromas of dark raspberries and blueberries with a
hint of pine. Delicious core of mixed dark red berries with hints of dark chocolate
and spice. Well-structured and integrated tannins with a welcoming cut of acidity
on the finish. This wine really attracts your attention and holds on. A
consistently top-performing vineyard. Very good (+).
2010 Drew Fog-Eater Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.63, 210 cases, $42. Fifth
vintage of this wine. A blend of 50% Balo Vineyard and 50% Morning Dew Vineyard, both of which are heavily
influenced by coastal fog and cool ocean breezes. Fog-eater is the Boontling term used to describe a coastal
dweller, someone living out on the margin. Rochioli, Pommard, 777, 828 and Martini clones. 30% whole
cluster. Native fermentation. Aged 11 months in 12.5% new French and 77.5% season French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of forest floor, dark red berries and cherries, savory herbs
and floral elements. Juicy and crisp with modest intensity, featuring flavors of wood-kissed raspberry and black
cherry fruit and a hint of citrus in the background. Very smooth and elegant with supple tannins. An easy
drinking, solid food wine. Good (+).
2008 Esterlina Cole Ranch Reserva Mendocino Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $65.
Moderately dark reddishpurple
color in the glass. Pungent, green, vegetal aromas. The fruit is very dull and stripped on the palate and
clearly smoke tainted. The balance is heavily weighted toward tannin. Unsatisfactory.
2009 Esterlina Cole Ranch Reserva Mendocino Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $65. At 189 acres, Cole Ranch is
the nation’s smallest AVA. Located between Anderson Valley and Ukiah off Highway 253.
color in the glass. Slightly confected aromas of black raspberries and pie cherries. Waves of mid
weight dark stone fruits and berries unfold on the palate with accents of oak, cola and brown spice. Balanced
fine-grain tannins, bright acidity and some length on the fruit-driven finish. A very ripely fruited style.
2009 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 9,385 cases, $55. Sourced from four estate
vineyards (19 clones of Pinot Noir), combined with 5% of grapes from independent growers. Aged 18 months
in 70% new French oak.
Medium reddish-purple robe. Brooding aromas of blackberry jam and dark chocolate.
Medium weight flavors of blackberries and black plums with toasty oak in the background. Plentiful tannins
both from the fruit and oak. Lavishly fruited, yet linear in character and seems to want for some zip. Good.
2009 Goldeneye Gowan Creek Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 1,090 cases, $80. This
vineyard is 10 miles north of Goldeneye’s Confluence Vineyard where there is more fog. 8 clones of Pinot Noir.
More than 100 barrel lots are evaluated three different times in blind tastings over the course of a year to
discover lots that are unmistakably Gowan.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Intensely
fragrant with aromas of black cherries, black currants and blackberries with oak-driven accents. Oak-kissed
array of dark fruit flavors, moderately rich and dense, wrapped in firm, mildly astringent tannins, finishing long
and lush. A little withdrawn and needs more time to integrate the oak. Still solid the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good.
2009 Goldeneye Ten Degrees Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
365 cases, $110. A special bottling from 200 acres of estate vineyards
which offer 49 combinations of clone and rootstock. The best 14 barrels
in the cellar out of 1,500. Less than 1% of estate fruit makes it into this
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued nose,
opening slowly to reveal lovely aromas of fresh, ripe dark berries and oak.
Very pretty fruit core, offering delicious layers of red and black berry fruit
accented by complimentary oak. Smoothly textured with well-proportioned
tannins and acidity and offering seemingly endless pleasure on the extraordinary
finish. Still highly aromatic and flavorful the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle indicating age ability. A thoroughbred in the Goldeneye stable.
2010 Greenwood Ridge Vineyards Hundred Point Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 50 cases, $50, screw cap.
color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of fresh black
cherries, dark red berry jam, caramel and spice. Medium weight, luscious
dark red fruits wrapped in svelte tannins, elegant in composition, finishing
long and aromatic. I like this wine for its delicacy, purity of fruit and
2009 Husch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $18. 25%
Moderately light reddish color in the glass. Aromas of
confected black cherries, raspberries, forest floor, potpourri, and
vanilla. Mid weight flavors of black raspberries, black cherries,
currants and sandalwood with a hint of citrus on the finish. Smooth
and easy to drink with pleasing acidity and fine grain tannins. Even
better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This is
always a dependable wine that is easy on the wallet. You won’t find a better
under $20 Pinot Noir anywhere in California. Very good.
2009 Knez Winery Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $36. Some whole cluster.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. A stunning wine with enticing aromas of fresh cherry
pie, nutmeg spice, herbs and petrichor. The juicy palate sings the same
tune with interesting herbal, spice, mineral and earth nuances, persisting
on the generous finish. Underlain with fine, fuzzy tannins and well-honed
acidity. A complete wine.
2009 Knez Winery Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $36.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure but pleasing aromas of dark red cherries and brambly berries,
brioche and old book. Tasty middle weight flavors of raspberries and cranberries with a savory herb undertone,
picking up flavor intensity and interest over time in the glass. Well-proportioned tannins and acidity. This wine
grows on you and is easy to drink. Very good.
2010 Kutch Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.45% alc., 240 cases, $48. 100% de-stemmed.
Native yeasts. Aged on lees 16 months in neutral oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
Slowly emerging aromas of dark berries, violets, cedar and eucalyptus. Lighter weight flavors of raspberries,
cranberries and red plums with a mild oaky, earthy bent. Elegant with a soft tannic backbone, finishing shallow
and citrusy. Re-tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was still
lightly flavored and tart with a little alcohol peeking out. The fruit seems under ripe in this wine. Good.
2009 Londer Vineyards Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $45.
Medium dark red color in the glass. Very vibrant
nose, offering hi-tone aromas of earth-kissed, fresh dark red berries with
hints of oak and spice. A stellar wine that satisfies with plentiful dark red
cherry, raspberry and strawberry flavors accented by savory herbs, and
framed by firm, but well-proportioned tannins. Soft in the mouth with
impressive length on the red-fruited finish. Everything comes together in this
wine: pedigreed fruit, impeccable winemaking, and easy approachability.
2009 MacPhail Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 275 cases, $49. Clones 2A, 115 and 777. Aged 11 months
sur lies in 40% new French oak.
Medium reddish-purple color in the
glass. Oak-driven aromas initially give way over time in the glass to
lovely, crushed black cherry fruit scent. Vibrant fruitiness, offering
mouthwatering flavors of fresh black cherries and black raspberries
lingering on a very long and generous finish. Balanced tannins, a bright cut of
acidity, a soft mouth feel, and the slightest dusting of oak in the background.
The pedigree of the fruit from this iconic vineyard shows through. Very
enjoyable now but has the goods to age well into ten years.
2009 MacPhail Frattey Shams Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 200 cases, $49. Clone
115. Aged 11 months sur lies in 40% new French oak.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. This
wine is lashed with oak, offering aromas of black coffee, timber and sweet smoke, and flavors of dark red
cherries and berries buried in oak. Plentiful astringent oak tannins dominate the pretty core of fruit. Tasted
twice. Decent at best.
2009 POE Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 300
cases, $48. Vineyard farmed by noted viticulturist, Paul Ardzrooni.Clones 115,
Swan, 2A, Pommard and 667. Aged in 40% new Francois Freres and Remond
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Deep, dark and
mysterious with flamboyant aromas of black berries, brewed tea, and oak notes
of mocha and vanilla, becoming more vibrant over time in the glass. Full-bodied
and very tasty with a luscious and slightly sweet core of black plum and black
grape flavors accented by hints of oak and dark chocolate. The impressive
depth of fruit is well balanced by acidity and tannins, so it should drink well for
several years. Very good.
2010 Sheldon Roma’s Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 125 cases, $35. No new oak.
Unfined and unfiltered. My second tasting of this wine (the first tasting was disappointing so I wanted to give
the wine another shot).
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Some nice red cherry and raspberry
fruits shows up on the nose initially, but give way over time in the glass to aromas of straw bale and apple core
(acetaldehyde - oxidation). Elegant and light in flavor featuring red cherries and berries and spice with a faint
underlying herbal, green and citrus note. The fruit seems under ripe. Bright acidity with soft tannins. Becomes
less and less attractive over time in the glass. Unsatisfactory.
2010 Twomey Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.48, TA
0.61, 1,853 cases, $46. Sourced from Ferrington, Savoy and Monument
Tree vineyards. Aged 15 months sur lies in 45% new and 55% once-used
French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish color in the glass. Muted,
but pleasing aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, dried rose petals
and sandalwood. Delicious core of raspberry flavor elevated by brisk
acidity, draped in well-proportioned tannins, underlain with a complimentary note
of oak and savory herbs, and finishing with a vivid riff of cherry fruit which lingers
for a remarkably long time. A seamless wine that is uncommonly refreshing.
Tasted against several very good Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, this was the clear
standout. Re-tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had become more
aromatic and generous in flavor. Irresistable.
2009 Waits-Mast Deer Meadow Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 49 cases, $47. Released September 2011. This vineyard is located at
1,600 feet elevation above the town of Boonville and is farmed by Rich Savoy.
Clones are 115 and 2A. 100% whole berry, inoculated yeast, aged 17 months in
25% new French oak barrels.
Pleasant aromas of dark cherries and berries,
bark, forest floor, and fennel, becoming more giving over time in the glass.
Tasty core of fruit featuring black raspberries, purple grapes and black cherries
veering to the ripe side, underlain with a complimentary hint of savory herbs,
green pepper and toasty oak. Moderately rich with mild tannins and some
length on the finish. Tasted twice with consistent results. Very good.
2009 Waits-Mast Hayley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 24 cases, $36. Released
September 2011. From a 34-acre valley floor site planted to Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 with small
amounts of Pommard and Martini. This wine is all clone 114. 100% whole berry. Inoculated yeast. Aged 17
months in 25% new Francois Frères French oak.
Aromas and flavors of black cap raspberries and black
cherries with a subtle underlying earthy, herbal bent. Full-flavored and plush on the palate, with a juicy finish.
A savory wine that aims to please. Still solid the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2009 Zina Hyde Cunningham Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $48.
Medium reddish-purple color in
the glass. Aromas of nicely spiced cherries, raisins and cardamom spice. Moderately rich flavors of black
cherries and raspberries with a hint of herbal oak. Soft and silky in the mouth, leaving a hint of warmth on the
finish. Veers to a ripe, cooked fruit profile but not markedly so. Good.
2009 Zina Hyde Cunningham Reserve Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 100 cases, $60. Aged in 75% new and 25% used French oak
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Reserved
aromas of dark cherries and plums with a hint of spice. The ripeness of
fruit is right on in this offering, revealing flavors of dark stone fruits and
dark red berries, rhubarb, clove, cola, spice and graham. More bones
than the regular bottling with considerably more length on the finish, and
displaying a very inviting, soft, velvety mouth feel. Beautifully balanced.
Yorkville Highlands is a small appellation located just south and inland of the Anderson Valley in Mendocino
County. It stretches along Highway 128, flanked by Alexander Valley to the southeast and the Anderson Valley
to the northwest. Most of the vineyards are planted to warm weather varieties such as Zinfandel, Syrah and
Petite Sirah. There are small plantings of Pinot Noir in strategically placed areas (Vidmar Vineyards, Walsh
Ranch Vineyards, and Weir Vineyard) with Weir Vineyard clearly the most noteworthy. For more information,
2010 Drew Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir
pH 3.67, TA 0.62, 98 cases, $42. First planted in 1992 under the
guidance of Burt Williams (Williams Selyem). 15 acres planted to
Wädenswil 2A, a DRC selection and a Rochioli field selection (1/3 each in
this wine). Owner Bill Weir strives to achieve old world character from his
vineyard. 30% whole cluster. Native fermentation. Aged 11 months in
25% new and 75% seasoned French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple color
in the glass. Enticing aromas of berry jam on toast, forest floor and floral notes.
A wine with character, featuring flavors of dark berries, plums, and subtle oak,
clothed in balanced, ripe, dry tannins, finishing crisp with a good cut of acidity.
Silky in the mouth with a long, dramatic finish Hollywood would envy. Not as tannic as some previous vintages.
I love wines from this vineyard!
2009 SPELL Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 175 cases, $39. Crafted by Shane
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Intensely aromatic featuring a perfume of dark
raspberries and blackberries with a lovely accent of spice. Infused with vivid flavors of black raspberry jam and
tea leaf, currently dominated by firm, dry tannins. Impressive length on the well-endowed finish. This is a
remarkable vineyard. Very good.