Sips of Recently Tasted Wines
2006 JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 65 Burgundy France Sparkling Wine
12.0% alc., $60. From a
vineyard in Savigny-lès-Beaune. Aged in 100% stainless steel.. A Blanc de Noirs Brut Crémant de Bourgogne.
Pale apricot color in the glass. Aromas of pineapple, lemon and apple core. The flavors echo the nose with
added nuances of lees, nectarine and kumquat. A dry, pleasing drink with a strong bead.
NV JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 69 Brut Rosé Burgundy France Sparkling Wine
12.0%, $60. A
Crèmant de Bourgogne. The number signifies the birth year of Jean-Charles Boisset. Based exclusively on
Delicate coral pink color in the glass. The nose offers a perfume of cherry skin and toast. Flavors
of cranberry, cherry, orange peel and tangerine with a tart, citrus-driven finish.
2012 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.54, >50,000 cases, $23. Aged 6 months
26% new, 96% French oak barrels. Racked once out of barrel before final blending.
Medium reddish purple
hue in the glass. A diverse array of aromas are offered including red cherry and strawberry, plum, root beer
and sandalwood. Easy to drink with modest weight flavors of red and black fruits accented with spice and oakdriven
anise. Very elegant and supple, with well-integrated tannins and acidity. Widely available and a solid
go-to wine for dinner.
2012 Masút Estate Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
2,450 cases, $40. From brothers Jake and Ben Fetzer. 22.6-acre vineyard
planted in 1997 at the headwaters of the Russian River Valley. Dijon clones 115
(73%), 777 (18%) and 113 (9%). 100% de-stemmed, 14-18 day fermentation,
aged sur lie for 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels.
purple hue in the glass. Highly aromatic with black cherry and black plum
scents accented by oak-driven toast and spice. Very smooth and seductive on
the palate, with a middleweight core of vigorous black cherry, black raspberry
coulis and cola flavors singing in cadence with thick oak notes. The fruit is
beautifully ripened and rich on the mid palate, finishing with a generous
presence. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine still had a
significant oak overlay. I would cellar this wine for a year or two to integrate the oak.
**An updated wine map of Mendocino County showing the smaller sub-AVAs and the location of Masút is
2011 Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 379 cases, $58. Wild and
cultured yeast fermentations. 15% whole clusters. Aged in 65% new French oak barrels. Bottled without
fining or filtration.From a 7-acre vineyard in Green Valley planted and farmed by acclaimed viticulturist Charlie
Chenoweth. The site, which was originally an apple orchard, is farmed almost exclusively for Patz & Hall.
Dijon clones planted in Goldridge soils.
Moderately dark reddish purple color. The oak-dominated nose also
features aromas of black plum, black cherry, spice, peat and cigar box. Medium to full-bodied flavors of oakkissed
red and purple fruits leave a lasting impression on the finish which exhibits an earthy flora tone. Very
smooth in the mouth with balanced tannins. Significantly better the following day from a previously opened and
re-corked bottle showing better oak integration and more vivid aromas and flavors.
2011 Patz & Hall Burnside Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 220 cases, $70. From a
vineyard planted to clone 115 in Goldridge soil by the Martinelli family on a site that was a former hillside apple
orchard. Burnside was picked at the last minute before the rains, and at 13.6%, is one of the lowest alcohol
Pinot Noirs Patz & Hall has ever produced. Wild and cultured yeast fermentations, 15% whole clusters, aged
in 50% new French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration.
Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The
nose is entirely oak-driven initially with no fruit evident. Full-bodied flavors of oak-kissed black cherry and
blackberry, with a hint of licorice-laced cola. Somewhat of a brut of a wine that currently lacks personality. The
fruit that does peek out seems quite pretty and there is some finishing persistence. Tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the delicate fruit was still overwhelmed by oak. Time will tell.
2011 Patz & Hall Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay
alc., 324 cases, $60. This vineyard was planted by the Martinelli family in 1990
on Frei Road in Green Valley. Patz & Hall has made wine from this vineyard
since 2003. 100% Dijon clone 76. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast
fermentation, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% MLF in barrel, aged in 65%
new French oak barrels. Bottled without filtration.
Moderate golden yellow color
with a slight haze in the glass. Lovely perfume of lemon curd, pineapple, golden
apple and hazelnuts. Medium bodied and full-flavored featuring tastes of green
apple and citrus, with a complimentary accent of oak in the background. Vibrant
and energetic, with a spark of citrus-driven acidity on the refreshing finish.
2012 POE Hudson Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $45.
Medium reddish purple color in the
glass. Very shy aromas of dark berries, oak and a little barnyard. Middleweight flavors of dark berries, grilled
mushrooms, spice and earth with some oak showing up on the finish. Very supple tannins. Quite typical of
many Carneros Pinot Noirs. Rather brooding and mysterious now, improving some over time in the glass, but
needing more time in bottle. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle,
there was still little fruit on the very shy nose and the wine remained rather closed. I sense potential here but
patience is required.
2012 POE Manchester Ridge Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Noir
$48. 15% whole cluster.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very
exotic and appealing nose with expressive aromas of dark berry preserves,
spice, potpourri and redwood forest. Highly pleasurable on the palate with
waves of perfectly ripened, juicy cherry, berry and black plum fruits. Soft in the
mouth, with suede tannins and fresh acidity. The wine finishes with a spicy
flourish, although not dramatically long. Spectacular the following day from a
previous opened and re-corked bottle with highbrow aromatics and flavor to
2011 SHANE The Charm Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH
3.56, TA 0.63, 250 cases, $45. Third issue of this wine sourced from vineyards
managed by Ulises Valdez. Winemaker Shane Finley was former assistant
winemaker at Kosta Browne. Clones are 777, Pommard, Calera and Swan.
Aged 14 months in 30% new French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish
purple color in the glass. Quite aromatic with bright aromas of black cherry,
raspberry and Moroccan spices. Mid weight flavors of black cherry,
pomegranate and spice with a riff of oak in the background. Soft and seamless,
with balanced tannins. An upfront wine of immediate appeal. Impressive in this
2010 SOHO White Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $18, screwcap. A newer winery
founded in 2009 by Rachael Carter whose family has been involved in the New Zealand wine business for over
40 years. The winery has won multiple awards. Younger sibling of Black Label. Winemaker Dave Clouston.
Imported by Nedrac Inc., Palm Desert, CA.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry,
toasted oak and campfire. Medium weight flavors of black cherry with a prominent oak sheen. Supple tannins,
bright acidity and easy to drink.