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Small Sips of Central Coast Pinot Noir

2008 Stomping Girl Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $38. · Aromas of spiced plums and redwood are echoed in the flavors. Silky in texture with admirable finesse. Reasonably good but not much dimension beyond the fruit. Decent (+).

2007 Brosseau B Vineyard Chalone Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $35. · A big fruity nose sporting very ripe strawberries with hints of marzipan, raisins and maple syrup. Ripe, roasted and dried deep red fruits wrapped in moderately firm tannins and displaying a smooth and pleasing mouth feel. Decent.

2007 The Ojai Vineyard Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $37.40. · Really lovely dark garnet color in the glass. Very pleasing scents of spiced berries and cherries, with some brier patch, herb garden and subtle oak char. A middle weight offering purple fruits with hints of loamy earth, savory herbs and white pepper in the background. A bit linear but has plenty to recommend including a good spark of acidity on the moderately persistent finish. If you haven’t tried Ojai Vineyard wines lately, you should. A few years back, the Pinot Noirs were styled in a high alcohol, high extraction, Syrah-like fashion but winemaker Adam Tolmach has scaled everything back emphasizing the nuances of Pinot Noir that come with restraint and moderation. Very good.

2006 Hahn SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $25. A mid-tier release aged in 50% new French oak. · On the nose, the toasty oak dominates the fruit and becomes even more oaky with time in the glass. On the palate, the attack features oak-toned cherry and berry fruit of medium weight. The tar and charcoal secondary flavors derived from oak detract from the pretty fruit core. Not anything like I remember when tasted at the 2009 World of Pinot Noir. Decent (-).

2006 Pelerin Cuvee St. Vincent Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $36. Sourced from several top vineyards including Rosella’s, Paraiso, Fairview Road Ranch, and Tondre Grapefield. · Moderately dark reddish-purple robe. Fruity aromas backed by floral, wet oak and green notes. Oak-kissed dark red fruits are tasty but lack conviction. Supple tannins, bright acidity and overall a decent drink. Has a spark, but doesn’t reach excellence because of a detracting green note most evident on the finish. Decent.

2004 Whitcraft Winery Aubaine Vineyard San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir

15.1% alc.. · Deep, dark purple color in the glass. Bright roasted dark stone fruits with oak char in the background. Dense, bold and muscular with a sweetness coming from the alcohol. Thick, grainy tannins with a chemical note appearing in the aftertaste. Very little to recommend here. Unsatisfactory.

2004 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $65. · Dark reddish-purple in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, dark berries and oak char. Full-bodied compote of red and black fruits with very impressive purity and harmony of fruit. The tannins have melded leading to a very smooth mouth feel, and the persistent finish has a refreshing spark of grapefruit peel. A fruit magnet that could last a few more years, but no reason to wait. Very typical of the Pisoni estate bottling which always beautifully reflects its terroir. Very good.

2003 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., $65. · Deeply colored. Aromas of dark berries, cigar box and anise veering to very ripe fruit scents. Generous core of ripe berry and plum fruit with a slightly grilled and raisiny taste. Highly structured with integrated soft tannins and decent length on the finish. A ripe, full-bodied wine with some appealing secondary characteristics. Liken this one to an aged Shaq at his best. Very good (-).

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