2011 Angeline California Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $9.99, screwcap.
Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. The aromas of spiced plum,
black raspberry jam and graham really jump out of the glass. Tasty
core of dark cherries and plum sauce with accents of herbs, oak, dark
chocolate, spice and cherry hard candy. Moderately concentrated
with balanced tannins and some fruit showing up for an encore on the
2009 Bridlewood Monterey County Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $17. An E.&J. Gallo property producing a range
of premium wines including Pinot Noir from Central Coast vineyards. Annual production is 125,000 cases. The
winemaker is David Hopkins.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. A lot going on in the nose but
not particularly harmonious. Aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, sassafras, cardamom spice, vanilla,
filter paper and cut flowers. Middleweight flavors of dark berries, currants and plums with an accent of oakdriven
smoke and spice. Juicy and crisp, lacking mid palate punch and finish. Decent. (The Sta. Rita Hills
bottling is significantly better).
2010 Hess Select Central Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.59, 5,700 cases, $20. This wine has
just been introduced by long time Hess winemaker Dave Guffy who crafted the Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot
Noir years ago. Aged in used French oak barrels.
Moderately light ruby color in the glass. Reserved aromas
of cherries, bramble and seasoned wood. Very little fruit shows up on the nose, even with extensive coaxing.
Demurely fruited with flavors of cherries, blueberries and strawberries, finishing with a kiss of red cherry.
Elegant with gossamer tannins. Nothing really stands out but the wine is true to its Pinot Noir origin. Decent.
2011 Kudos Reserve Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $19.99. Aged 10
months in French oak barrels.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, espresso, dark
chocolate and bramble. Middleweight core of tart red fruits including cherries, cranberries and pomegranates
superseded by muscular tannins which hang around on the hi-strung finish. This wine is out of sorts with too
much acidity and tannins to complement the delicate fruit. Not a very good wine in this vintage. Decent.
2011 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.70, TA
0.55, >50,000 cases, $25. 100% destemmed, 5-day cold soak,
fermentation in open top tanks with daily punch downs. Aged 6+
months in 98% French oak barrels (23% new). Wines were racked
once out of barrel before blending.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of earth-kissed dark
red berries and cherries, dried rose petals and subtle oak, picking up
intensity over time in the glass. Middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and
cranberries with hint of cola, tar, spice and oak, offering caressing tannins, and
finishing with a refreshing juiciness. A solid daily drinker. Surprisingly artisan in
style considering the huge production. Good.
2010 MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $20.99.
Medium reddish-purple color
in the glass. Very dull nose, with no fruit making a house call even after 45 minutes in the glass. Light weight
flavors of cherries and strawberries with a hint of herbs backed by ripe tannins and complimentary acidity.
Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Awfully plain. Decent.
2011 Sean Minor Four Bears Central Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $11.99, screwcap.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark cherries, strawberries, anise, pipe smoke, spice and mowed
grass. Juicy and frisky, with very little tannin, offering bright flavors of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, earth
and sweet smoky oak. Decent.