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Sips of Recently Tasted Pinot Noir

Here are a number of outstanding wines to grace your holiday table and greet your guests in style. The 2012 vintage wines are beginning to appear in the marketplace and offer remarkably concentrated flavors that reflect the ideal growing season. Budbreak happened on schedule, fruit ripened slowly and evenly in the relatively mild conditions, and concentration and lush fruit character developed over an extended hang time on the vine.



2012 CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $35, screw cap. A blend of selected vineyards in the Sonoma Coast AVA. 15 day total maceration, fermented using native and select yeasts, aged 10 months in 10% new oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Welcoming nose featuring aromas of black cherry pie, wild raspberries and weathered oak. Middleweight flavors of cherry cola, raspberry and spice with supportive oak in the background. A very pleasing wine with balanced tannins, a velvety palate and juicy acidity. Impressive wine in this excellent vintage. Score: 90

2012 CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $35, screw cap. From select vineyards in the Anderson Valley. 16-day total maceration, fermented using native and select yeasts, aged 10 months in 14% new oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Reserved but pleasant aromas of red and black berry mash with a hint of spice and dried rose petals. Hits the mid palate with vigor, offering deliciously rich black cherry, blackberry and plum flavors accented with Christmas spice including clove. Highly approachable and comforting with supple tannins, bright acidity, and a glorious finish of uncommon intensity and length. By this one by the case for your holiday parties. Score: 91

2011 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $35. 107 acres of Pinot Noir in the Santa Rosa plain region of the Russian River Valley. Clones 113, 114, 115, 777, 667, 2A and 23 planted in shallow, well-drained, low-vigor, gravelly loam soil. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. Winemaker is Greg Morthole. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Russian River Valley signature Bing cherry and spice on the nose. Soft, smooth and pleasing, with mid weight flavors of cherry pie, cola and baking spice. Plenty of dark cherry shows up on the lengthy finish which leaves a tease of oak in its wake. Score: 89

2012 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.56, $25. Sourced from select vineyard sites in proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Clones 667, 777, 115, Pommard, 2A, Martini, Flowers, Calera, “828,” and 23. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 4-day cold soak, fermented in small, open-top tanks, minimal post-fermentation maceration, aged in 26% new (98% French) oak barrels for 6 months. Racked only once for blending just before bottling. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas soar from the glass including cherries, berries, purple grapes and earthy flora. Very tasty juice with excellent depth and length offering an arsenal of flavors including dark red strawberries and cherries, cola and gregarious spice with a dusting of oak enhancing the experience. Nicely crafted, with supple tannins and a long, caressing finish. As good or better than many Pinot Noirs in the marketplace costing twice as much. Score: 92

2010 Loos Family Bohemian Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5%, pH 3.70, TA 0.71, 50 cases, $44, 375 ml bottle. From a 7-acre vineyard in Freestone planted on Goldridge soil. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Previously tasted in February 2012. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Deeply perfumed with aromas of dark berries, black cherries, dark chocolate, Asian 5-spice, and oak. Mid weight flavors replicate the aromas with an earthy, forest floor undertone. The tannins are soft and the wine finishes with some intensity and persistence on the raspberry-infused finish Score: 89

2010 Silver Trident Winery Benevolent Dictator Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 200 cases, $55. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels · My first experience with this winery and a good one. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose brims with aromas of Bing cherries, baking spices and toasty, nutty oak. Very smooth and charming on the palate with mid weight flavors of dark cherry pie glaze, cola, red licorice and spice. Very classy and seamless with impeccable balance. The spiced cherry flavor was even more intense the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92

2012 Sineann Resonance Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc, $44, Vino- Seal glass closure. · From a very ripe vintage and displaying a level of fruit concentration rarely seen in Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of blackberry preserves, Hoison sauce and spice. Very tasty core of blackberry and black currant fruit with a dusting of oak. Full-bodied, round and satisfying, with substantial yet balanced fine-grain tannins, and a sappy finish of uncommon generosity. This one will spice up your life. Score: 91

2012 Sineann Resonance Vineyard Reserve Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $66, Vino-Seal glass closure. Sourced from the oldest vines in the vineyard and composed of a few best barrels. · You won’t find Pinot Noir with such fat richness like this very often from Oregon. Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Captivating nose of black fruits, dark chocolate and spice. A rich, pedal-to-the-metal offering featuring flavors of black berries, black currant, dark chocolate, tobacco, smoke and bacon-driven umami. The broad shouldered and grainy tannins nicely balance out the onslaught of prodigious fruit. Still palate staining the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This is one big rich pussycat. Score: 93

2012 Taft Street Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.51, 390 cases, $18. Cold soaked on its skins for 24 hours before pressing and then cold fermented in stainless steel tanks with minimal handling and fining. · Strawberry-pink color in the glass. Very aromatic with vibrant aromas of fresh strawberries, red cherries and yellow peach. Modest in weight, soft on the palate, and very pleasing with flavors of red berry fruits and a hint of dried herbs. The wine is quite enjoyable on its own as an aperitif or will pair well with Thanksgiving turkey. Score: 88

2012 Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.60, 4,211 cases, $25. Taft Street is a long time successful producer in the Russian River Valley, and claims its lineage to 1979. Aged in 10% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, bramble and earthy flora. Fresh flavors of Rainer cherry, strawberry, spice mix and toasty oak. Modest in weight with lithe tannins and appealing finesse making it appropriate for current drinking. Score: 88

2010 Westrey Abbey Ridge Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $42. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose has a briar, dried oak and geranium theme with a delicate cherry fruit aroma. Much more appealing on the palate with flavors of red cherry, rhubarb and oak. Very elegant, with gossamer tannins, tangy acidity and a faint dried herb streak in the background. The oak tends to overshadow the fruit. This bottle is not up to the usual high standard of Westrey wines from this vineyard. Score: 86

2011 Winderlea Winderlea Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 751 cases, $60. Released May 2013. Pommard, Coury, 114, 115, 667 and 777 clones. Aged 10 months in 17% new French oak barrels. From a 20-acre vineyard first planted in 1974. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is replete with strawberry, cranberry, red cherry, dried herbs and hay aromas. Crisp and tangy on the palate with lighter weight flavors of dark red berries, spice, green tea and tarry oak. The dry tannins are powdery and the wine is easy to drink, but lacks fruit ripeness and power as a result of this cool vintage. Score: 87

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