PinotFile: 10.4 February 8, 2015
- 2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs: Time to Pop the Corks?
- Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir
- Wine as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle: 2014 in Review - Prologue
- Governments & Alcohol Action Groups Have a Loud Voice in 2014
- Alcohol and Weight Gain
- Pinot Briefs
2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs: Time to Pop the Corks?
The 2008 vintage in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was highly touted and some vintners even claimed it was the
best vintage for Oregon Pinot Noir in the decade or even in Oregon’s modern 50-year winegrowing history. It
was said to be the most perfect growing season ever in the Willamette Valley. Since then, the 2012 and 2014
vintages have claimed the crown of “best vintage ever.”
The vintage was not without its challenges. A late and cool spring led to a delayed bud break and cool summer
producing a moderately large crop (17,571 tons compared to 20,368 tons in 2007 and 21,364 tons in 2009)
Rains arrived in September, creating the potential for mold. Seven weeks of Indian summer warm weather
followed the rains and persisted into October, increasing the potential for high sugars and over ripe flavors.
Vintners were able to pick at their leisure, and harvest extended all the way past Halloween. Wineries that
harvested Pinot Noir earlier before sugars escalated brought in fresh fruit and the resulting wines were stellar.
The character of the 2008 vintage Pinot Noirs was said to be midway between the preceding 2006 and 2007
vintages, with generous, forward fruit typical of the 2006 Pinot Noirs, but less extracted, with better freshness
and balance than the 2006 wines, combined with the acidity and brightness of the 2007 vintage Pinot Noirs.
The alcohols were higher and the tannins more evident in 2008 than in 2007, but still moderate.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate rated the 2008 vintage in Oregon 92, the same as for the excellent 2002 and
1999 vintages. Wine Spectator was full of praise, giving the vintage a 95-100 rating, the highest ever for
Oregon by this publication.
The consensus when the 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs were released was that they provided potentially superb
drinking pleasure, but were somewhat closed and tannic upon release, lacking in up front accessibility. The
wines I tasted after release were generally brooding and reticent upon opening, displaying more charm with
decanting, but lacking in suppleness. They had great structure for aging and I recommended that they be
cellared for an extended time.
It has been over five years since most of the 2008 Pinot Noirs were released, and I decided to revisit a
representative sample of these wines that had been resting in my cellar to evaluate their current drink ability.
The quality of the wines overall was superb. Drink ability was a mixed bag with some wines currently offering
fresh flavors, long finishes and supple tannins, while other wines were still closed and exhibited aggressive
tannins. Some of these latter wines will always be at least mildly tannic. Flavors ran the gamut from perfectly
ripe to very ripe, reflective of when the grapes were picked, but most featured riper purple and black fruits.
2008 LaVelle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
reddish purple color in the glass. Haunting aromas of fresh cherries and
baking spices. Very fresh and vibrant flavors of black cherry and
raspberry in a mid weight style with soft, lush tannins, a compliment of
oak, and admirable harmony. This wine had amazing staying power over
time in the glass. Drinking perfectly now.
2008 Antica Terra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass.
Aromas of black cherry, sous-bois, spicy oak and wine cave lead to a moderately rich palate of black cherry,
black raspberry and anise flavors. Still showing firm tannins but quite enjoyable, especially for its showy, fruitfilled
finish. Peaking now, but could hold short term.
2008 Lenné Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass.
Captivating aromas of black cherry pie, spice, rose petal and Prada
leather coat. Deep and bold black cherry and boysenberry fruit flavors,
but with good freshness. Substantial, but not imposing tannins persist.
Long and memorable finish. Thoroughly enjoyable now, but probably
better in 2 to 3 years, and should easily hold for another several years.
2008 Daedalus Cellars Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately light red
cherry color in the glass. Terrific aromatic presence with vivid
aromas of cherry and rose petal. Juicy and light on its feet,
feminine in character, with a charge of cherry and red berry fruit
on the attack and an amazingly long finish that seems to return in
waves. Ideal now, but could hold short to mid term.
2008 Patton Valley Vineyard Lorna-Marie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.. An estate grown,
Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, dusty oak and mesquite.
Soft and silky on the palate with juicy flavors of cherry, raspberry and pomegranate. Modest in weight with
supple tannins and some finishing burst of fruit. Enjoyable now but could hold short to mid term.
2008 Domaine Serene Two Barns Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A very ripe fruited wine with scents of cherry, sassafras, leather
and peppercorn leading to a full-bodied, sappy palate of black cherry and black raspberry fruits accented with a
touch of oak-driven spice and vanilla. The tannic backbone is apparent but not aggressive. Enjoyable now or
hold short term.
2008 Laura Volkman Vineyards Jacob Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
cherry color in the glass. Fruity aromas of black cherry and black raspberry with a hint of sous-bois initially with
a noticeable oak overlay appearing over time in the glass. The mid weight flavors of ripe black cherries clothed
in very fine-grain tannins and toasty oak. Silky and smooth in the mouth with a modest finish. This is the one
wine of those tasted from the 2008 vintage that seems a bit tired and should be drunk up.
2008 Ponzi Vineyards Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderate reddish purple color in
the glass. Very shy nose with primarily oak and BBQ aromas with no fruit appearing over time. Still very
reserved and rugged with full bodied flavors of black raspberry, boysenberry, cassis, spice and toasty oak. The
tannins are still mildly foreboding. Best to cellar this wine several more years.
2008 Ponzi Vineyards Abetina Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas
of blackberry jam and cassis. A big-boned wine that has layers of purple and black
fruits that saturate the palate. There are plenty of muscular tannins evident, yet the
mouthfeel is smooth. The finish is striking with persistent and infused with generous
sweet boysenberry fruit. Cellar this wine mid to long term for full enjoyment.
2008 Domaine Drouhin Laurène Drouhin Family Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc.. A selection of the finest lots from the estate vineyard, produced since 1992.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. Intriguing aromas of black cherry pie glaze, brown spices, leather, smoke and vanilla.
Delicious mid weight flavors of very ripe black cherry and raspberry fruits with a hint of smoky oak. Close, but
not yet supple, with modest dry, fine-grain tannins. The finish is long and pleasing with a flourish of cherry
goodness. Enjoyable now, but would hold mid to long term.
2008 Antica Terra Botanica Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Medium reddish purple hue in the
glass. Scents of fresh raspberry coulis with hints of candied rose, spice, and toasty oak. Very smooth on the
palate with soft tannins, offering middleweight flavors of dark red raspberry and cherry with an underlying vein
of earthy minerality. A prominent oak presence spoils the experience for me and the oak was even more
noticeable the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Your tolerance for
oak will dictate your pleasure. Enjoyable now or hold mid term.
2008 Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards Lange Estate Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry pie glaze, boysenberry
jam, conifer and dried herbs lead to a rich mouthful of sweet darker cherry and purple berry fruits. Still young,
with somewhat daunting oak and tannin on the fruit-filled finish. When tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, the fruit was more apparent and pleasing and the wine was slightly
more supple. Hold mid to long term in the cellar.
2008 Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards Freedom Hill Vineyard Eola- Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Very dark reddish
purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of blackberry jam, purple grape,
spice and rose petal. A full-bodied charge of boysenberry and
blackberry fruits fill the mouth with astonishing fruit intensity. Monstrous
tannins back the prodigious fruit and infuse the finish with some
astringency. When tasted the following day from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle, the wine was still monolithic, but the mouthfeel was
smoother and the tannins less daunting. This is close to Syrah in
character and atypical for Oregon. Decant it now if you want to pop the
cork and pair it with a prime ribeye steak. Best to hold mid to long term.
2008 White Rose Estate White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc.. This wine was reviewed in December 2014 and the review is repeated here.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, stem, roasted nuts, graham and chocolate.
Mid weight + flavors of cherry, black raspberry and cranberry with a touch of brioche, tobacco and cola. Intense
on the attack with a burst of cherry fruit, finishing with good length. The tannins are well-integrated and the
texture is very smooth. Enjoyable now, but plenty of lively fruit to easily last another five years.
2008 TYEE Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
light reddish purple color in the glass. Extravagantly perfumed with aromas of cherry, raspberry and
spice. Bright and exquisitely balanced, with a very seductive charge of cherry goodness that lasts and
lasts on the finish. Great now, but plenty of backbone to last long term.
2008 Winderlea Ana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
cherry red color with very slight rim bricking. Lovely scent of black cherry, spice and a hint of espresso. Silky
smooth on the palate, with waves of luscious black cherry cola flavor, backed by a tug of toasty oak. Birds
would love these grapes. Perfect now but will hold mid term.
2008 Kelley Fox Wines Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., screwcap.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass with very slight rim bricking. A very silky and elegant wine that
offers appealing aromas and flavors of black cherry and black raspberry, underlain with a stem and root
vegetable thread. The thirst quenching finish leaves a lasting impression. Enjoyable now or can be aged short
2008 Johan Vineyards Nils Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderate reddish purple
color with very slight rim bricking. Aromas of dried rose petal, spice, barnyard and sweaty saddle (probable
Brett). Delicious mid weight core of ripe cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruits framed by dry, balanced
tannins. A real mouthful of fruit that offers an impressive attack and finish. Best now or can be cellared short
term. Your enjoyment will depend on your tolerance for Brett.
2008 Haden Fig Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass.
Aromas of cherry pie glaze, underbrush and the slightest oak lead to bright and juicy flavors of cherry, red
raspberry and red plum. The wine still has a firm tannic backbone. The finish is replete with cherry goodness.
Enjoyable now or can be cellared short term.
Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Ancillary Cellars, Calistoga
This winery is a collaboration between celebrated Napa Valley vintners Mike Smith and Mark Carter who each
have their own label specializing in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Carter Cellars (Carter founded this label
in 1998) and Myriad (Smith founded this label in 2009). Carter owns the Carter House in Eureka, California,
known for a Wine Spectator Grand Award wine list at its 301 restaurant. Smith began working for Thomas
Rivers Brown in 2001, and Brown introduced Smith to Carter. The first Pinot Noirs under the Ancillary label
were released with the 2012 vintage. The wines are sold through allocation by mailing list at
www.ancillarycellars.com. The three 2013 Pinot Noirs are now released.
2012 Ancillary Cellars Sun Chase Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $50. From a high elevation (900’ to 1400’) vineyard
located in the Petaluma Gap region. Clones 667, 777 and “828.”
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very nicely perfumed with
scents of black raspberry, black cherry, spice, balsam and subtle oak.
Silky, elegant and refined, with layers of black cherry and pomegranate
flavor accented by complimentary tobacco-laced oak. Very soft and
polished on the finish.
2012 Ancillary Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $50. From Robert’s
Road Vineyard, located directly below Gap’s Crown and Sun Chase vineyards. Clones are 115 and Pommard.
Aged on the lees for 10 months.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, red berry,
Provencal spices and underbrush lead to a light to medium weight core of cherry and strawberry fruits. More
savory than the Sun Chase with a vein of herbs in the background. Elegant and easy to drink with supple
tannins and some finishing length.
2012 Ancillary Cellars Sun Chase Vineyard Whole Cluster Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $55.
This wine is meant to bridge the gap between the ripe California style of Pinot Noir and the Old World style.
Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose is pleasant but unusual and hard to describe
with only a hint of black cherry and a touch of floral bouquet. Very soft and smooth on the palate with an earth-kissed
core of cherry fruit. Not as giving and a little more structured than the regular Sun Chase bottling,
although the tannins are still rather suave.
Bernardus Winery, Carmel Valley
Pinot Noirs are hand-picked and sorted, 100% de-stemmed, fermented in small open-tops with twice daily
hand punch downs. They are aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels (40%-50% new) before final
blending and bottling. The Chardonnays are whole cluster pressed and fermented with a special selections of
yeasts. They undergo 100% malolactic fermentation and are aged sur lie with stirring every two weeks until
shortly before blending and bottling.
2012 Bernardus Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.5% alc., 225 cases, $40.
Moderate golden yellow color
and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, yellow apple, toasted
coconut and nutty oak. Robust flavors of lemon, peach, poached pear
and toasty oak. A rich, California-styled Chardonnay with mature fruit
flavors and plenty of oak flourish. Very silky and ephemeral mouth feel.
2012 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.7% alc., 343 cases, $40.
A unique bottling reflecting a special vintage and deserving of a vineyard designation. Moderate
golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Exotic array of aromas including white grape, mango and
lemongrass. Ripe and rich with flavors of cooked apple, lemon curd and caramel. Slightly creamy on the
palate with a compliment of oak in the background.
2013 Bernardus Saignée Santa Lucia Highlands Saignée De Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 414 cases, $24,
screwcap. A saignée of Pinot Noir that is cold fermented in stainless steel at cold temperatures.
pink salmon color in the glass. Aromas of alpine strawberry peach and fig leading to flavors of strawberry,
blood orange, raspberry and citrus. Slightly creamy, refreshing and easy to like. Chill for most enjoyment.
2012 Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 4,773 cases, $35. A blend of several
vineyards. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new.
Moderately dark reddish
purple color in the glass. The aromas trump the flavors in this very smoky wine. Scents of blackberry, plum,
spice and tobacco lead to a mid weight core of dark berry fruit enveloped by smoky and spicy oak and black
tea flavors. Easy too drink with modest tannins, but oak intrudes on the pleasure.
2012 Bernardus Ingrid’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 124 cases, $70. This 3.5-
acre estate vineyard was planted in 1999 with clones 667, 777 and Pommard.
Moderately dark reddish purple
hue in the glass. The wine is very shy and brooding upon opening with only cedary oak evident on the nose.
Flavors of black raspberry and black cherry brighten the palate and exhibit staying power on the smooth finish.
This wine will probably garner a higher score with more time in bottle.
2012 Bernardus Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 453 cases, $55. “828”
and Pisoni clones. Aged in 100% new French oak barrels of which 40% were new.
Dark reddish purple color
in the glass. This wine is big, bold and luscious, but tannins are in their place, and the wine is in impeccable
balance. The mouth coating flavors of black and purple berries, spice and anise are imposing, yet charming.
2012 Bernardus Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 451 cases, $55. 667
and Pisoni clone. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new.
Dark reddish purple color in the
glass. Aromas and flavors of black raspberry, blackberry and oak are presented in a mid weight plus wine that
is fruity but not complex. Nothing really stands out at this time and seems to need more time in bottle. A bit of
alcoholic heat peaks out on the finish.
2012 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 418 cases, $65. Clone
777 and Pisoni. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new.
Moderate reddish purple hue in
the glass. Inviting aromas of ripe strawberries, black raspberry, spice and floral goodness. Very charming,
with plenty of black raspberry, plum and spice flavors that persist on the long finish infused with a plethora of
dark berries. The wine’s modest tannins and restrained oak make for pleasing drinking now.
2012 Bernardus Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 165 cases, $65. Pisoni clone. Aged in 100% French oak
barrels of which 40% were new.
Medium reddish purple hue in the glass.
Friendly aromas of darker berries plum sauce and subtle smoky oak.
Very smooth and refined on the palate with intensely flavorful blackberry,
black raspberry and black plum fruits backed by modest tannins.
Impressive persistence on the glorious fruit-driven finish. The fruit really
stands out in this wine.
2012 Bernardus Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 448 cases, $70. Pisoni
clone. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 50% were new.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the
glass. The brooding nose offers restrained aromas of blackberry, cassis and black tea. A bruiser with fruit that
really grabs hold on entry, offering flavors of blackberry and cassis that build in intensity on the huge finish.
The onslaught of fruit and tannins is daunting now and this wine should benefit from several years in the cellar.
2012 DuMOL eoin Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $90.
Sourced from Sonoma Stage Vineyard located at the southern edge of
the Sonoma Coast AVA. Unfiltered.
Moderately dark reddish purple
color in the glass. Ripe fruited aromas of black cherry and black
raspberry with a hint of oak. Deliciously rich core of black cherry and
black raspberry fruits with a touch of spice, cola, anise and earth. Very
forward and giving, yet has the balance and the structure to age. The
noticeably long finish is appealing. More Carneros in character than
2012 DuMOL ryan Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $90.
Sourced from Dutton-Widdoes Vineyard located in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA. Unfiltered.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy nose that never really comes around in the glass over
time. More expressive on the palate and packed with dark red cherry and berry flavors wrapped in significant
tannins and oak. Despite its heft, the wine has a gentle demeanor and is quite silky in texture. Rather
brooding and in need of more time in bottle.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Russian River Valley
2013 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.61, $38. The heart of
this wine is old vine and old clone vineyards located in the
Green Valley: Mill Station, Walker Hill and Rued. Rounded out
with Morelli Lane Vineyard Hyde clone and some Dijon 95
from JJJS by the old Dutton shop. Indigenous and inoculated
yeast strains. 100% malolactic fermentation, aged sur lie with
twice monthly stirring through the winter. Aged a total of 10
months in French oak barrels (40% new).
Moderate golden straw color
and clear in the glass. Inviting aromas of pear, peach skin, lemon and
fresh butter. Somewhat richly fruited with flavors of lemon curd,
pineapple, green apple and poached pear. Nicely balanced with
complimentary oak treatment, finishing dry with bright acidity. A complete
wine of considerable charm.
2013 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.58, $40.
100% de-stemmed into small open-top fermenters where must is cold soaked for 5 days. 14-20 days on the
skins. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels (40% new).
Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass.
Lovely Pinot perfume of rose petals, spice and Bing cherry. Discreetly concentrated flavors of strawberry,
cherry, nutmeg spice, and cola with a compliment of oak. Easy to like with modest tannins and a bashful fruitfilled
finish. A solid appellation wine that should benefit from another 6 months in bottle.
2012 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Cherry Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Syrah
13.8% alc., pH
3.60, TA 0.67, 501 cases, $50. Clones 470, 383 and 877. Vinified similar to Pinot Noir but aged 20 months in
French oak barrels (40% new). Racked twice for initial blending and barrel honing, and a second time to
further develop flavors and tannins.
Deep, dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry jam,
boysenberry, white pepper, wintergreen, malt and mocha. Bright flavors of blueberries and blackberries,
pomegranate and iodine with matching tannins. Made in a Pinot Noir style but with more sap but with similar
crisp acidity. The finish is very fruity and seductive. A Pinot lover’s Syrah.
Laetitia Vineyards & Winery, Arroyo Grande Valley
2013 Laetitia Arroyo Grande Valley Chardonnay
13.8% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.67, 15,000 cases,
$20. Harvest Brix 23.7º-25.8º. Clones 96, 97, Wente 17 and Clone 4. Whole cluster pressed, 75%
malolactic fermentation. 100% barrel fermented for 9 months in Francois Frères and Rousseau
French oak barrels (25% new, 75% neutral).
Moderately light golden straw color and clear in the
glass. A pleasing compliment of aromas including lemon, tropical fruits, vanilla cream and buttery
oak. Crisp and bright in the mouth with flavors of citrus, lemongrass, grilled white peach, brioche and
baking spices. The wine finishes clean with a refreshing cut of lemon zest on the finish.
2013 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.63, 32,000 cases, $25. Harvest
Brix 23.6º-26.1º. Clones 113, 115, 959, 667, 777, “828,”
Pommard 5, Wädenswil 2A, Martini 13 and Mt Eden. 100%
de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, quick fermentation lasting 4
days, aged 11 months in a combination of Francois Frères
and Rousseau French oak barrels (30% new, 70% neutral).
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of
plum reduction sauce, boysenberry, blackberry, oak spice and vanilla. A
big mouthful of well-spiced purple berry fruits in a mid weight style with a
hint of savory tea and earth in the background. Very satisfying and
expansive on the palate with a fruit-driven, long finish of some note that
offers a subtle citric tang. Tremendous value and amazing quality for
such large production.
Nelson Hill Winery, Anderson Valley
Greg and Barbara Hill acquired a ranch in Philo in 1999 located close to Goldeneye, Roederer Estate and
Husch. They rebuilt one of the valley’s oldest farmhouses and planted a small vineyard to Pinot Noir clones
114, 115 and 777 and a small amount of Pommard. Deny Dudzik is the vineyard manager and winemaker with
Phil Baxter, Jr., of Baxter Winery providing consultation. My initial impressions of the 2009 vintage estate Pinot
Noir were not particularly favorable, but re-tasting recently changed my opinion. Tasting by appointment. Visit
2009 Nelson Hill Deep End Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 300 cases, $42.
light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromatically pleasing with scents of black cherry, rose petal, spice and
herbs. Moderately rich core of black cherry, black raspberry and pomegranate fruits backed by soft but
supportive tannins. A slight herbal vein peeks out in the background. A little more ripeness than the 2010
vintage of this wine with a bigger, lush fruit-filled finish.
2010 Nelson Hill Deep End Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 300 cases, $42.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the
glass. Shy initially, but opens nicely over time, offering scents of black
cherry and sandalwood. Light to mid weight cherry essence that really
pops like a cherry pie out of the oven. Silky in the mouth with balanced
tannins and a very tasty and lively cherry-driven finish. Definitely better
the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
Roadhouse Winery, Russian River Valley
Proprietor Eric Hall launched Roadhouse Winery in downtown Healdsburg in 2008. He has a spirited passion
for Pinot Noir which led him to be one of the founders of the annual Pinot on the River Festival in 2004. Much of his winemaking experience
came from work at Papapietro Perry Winery. A tasting room is located in downtown Healdsburg next door to
Oakville Grocery. His wines have colorful labels and wax-dipped tops. Visit www.roadhousewinery.com.
2012 Roadhouse Winery Russian River Valley Pink Label Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.65, 150
cases, $59. Sourced primarily from Nunes Vineyard. Clones 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. 100% destemmed,
5-day cold soak, inoculated fermentations, aged 20 months in 100% French oak barrels, 20% of
which were new. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries,
brewed tea, forest floor and oak spice. Solid mid palate attack of very ripe Bing cherry and black raspberry fruit
with a hint of cola and anise, and some oak in the background. The wine’s finish is lip-smacking.
2012 Roadhouse Winery Martini Clone Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.54, 250
cases, $49. Sourced from Vine Hill Road Vineyard planted to Martini clone in 1989. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day
cold soak, inoculated fermentations, aged 20 months in 100% French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.
Unfined and unfiltered.
Light red cherry color in the glass. The nose reluctantly opens slowly over time to
reveal demure aromas of ripe cherry pie glaze, rose petal and oak. The cherry fruit core seems a bit roasted
and is dominated by oak-driven flavors of coffee nibs, dark chocolate, cola and spice. The fine-grain tannins
offer textural interest and the finish is long and plush with black cherry goodness.
2012 Roadhouse Winery Sonoma Coast Green Label Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.62, 300 cases,
$59. Sourced from Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. Pommard clone. 100% destemmed,
5-day cold soak, 14 days total cuvaison, inoculated fermentations, aged 20 months in 100% French
oak barrels, 20% new. Unifined and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Intriguing
aromas of clove, cardamom, peppercorn, forest floor, mushroom and raisin. Very ripe fruited, featuring flavors
of black cherry, black raspberry, and sassafras. Silky smooth on the palate with balanced tannins and a dry,
mouthwatering finish. Nicely crafted in a ripe, dark fruited style.
2012 Roadhouse Winery Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.58, 150 cases, $75.
Sourced from Weir Vineyard. DRC selection and Wädenswil 2A clone planted in 1992. 100% de-stemmed, 5-
day cold soak, inoculated fermentations, aged 20 months in 100% French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.
Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate light red cherry color in the glass. Perfumed with effusive scents of cherry,
leafy herbs, sous-bois and woodpile. Very elegant, soft and smooth in the mouth with refined tannins, offering
light to mid weight flavors of red cherries and berries, with hints of spice and red plum, that hold your attention
on the finish. This wine shows more finesse than others in the 2012 Roadhouse lineup.
Whitethorn Winery, Humboldt County
This southern Humboldt County producer was founded by Tasha McCorkle McKee, a graduate of University of
California at Davis with a degree in fermentation science. This was a remarkable achievement considering she
left high school before graduating to work in the carpentry business with her father. She rose to an assistant
winemaking position at Simi Winery under Zelma Long before launching her Whitethorn label in 1991 with the
assistance of her father and Joe and Maggie Collins of nearby Briceland Winery. I was impressed with her
Pinot Noirs from Hyde and Hirsch vineyards and her wines became well known among the San Francisco Bay
Area restaurant community. Some personal lifestyle issues and a desire to devote her energies to the nonprofit
Sanctuary Forest that addresses stream flow for fisheries and wildlife habitats led her to cease winemaking
with the 2002 vintage. Tasha’s son, Galen, has taken over the operations of the winery. Tasting is by
appointment - 707-986-1658. The wines can be found at select wine retailers and restaurants in the San
Francisco Bay Area. Two annual open houses are held Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekends.
2002 Whitethorn Hyde Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., $27.
Moderate reddish purple color in the
glass: still bright in color with no bricking. Primary black cherry fruit aromas persist along with secondary
aromas of cigar box, black tea leaves and old trunk. Very tasty black cherry and raspberry fruits that veer to
the ripe side with a hint of tobacco and tea in the background. A delightful aged California Pinot Noir with
merged tannins, and a long, juicy finish.
2009 Whitethorn Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $35.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The
nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal inviting aromas of cherry and
dark red berries. Delicious spiced cherry and raspberry flavor with
supple tannins and an impressive, cherry-fueled finish of unusual length.
Very Pinot in character with appealing finesse and impeccable balance.
2009 Whitethorn Elk Prairie Vineyard Humboldt County Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $40.
Ripe fruit aromas and
mid weight plus, sappy flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and cassis are featured. Lovely fruit, which
stars on the generous finish, but is somewhat buried by muscular tannins. Need a big ribeye steak for this one.
2012 Cameron Hughes Lot 409 Central Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $16. A large negociant producer
producing a diverse range of wines with lot numbers on the labels. This wine was sold by Costco.
reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas of black plum, black currant, cardamom spice and toasty oak
really attack the senses. Soft and easy to drink with suave tannins, sporting mid weight flavors of black plum,
cassis, black raspberry and spicy oak. A good value priced wine that will please depending on the drinker’s
tolerance for oak.
2012 North Wines Edna Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $74. A new wine from John and Lorraine Alban,
Rhone varietal specialists, sourced from Alban Estate fruit. Label says, “Grown, produced and bottled by Perro
Docs Cellars in Arroyo Grande.” Highly rated by critics, but this bottle, which was heavy with an impressive
label and long cork, was not to my liking. 100% de-stemmed and aged in 60% new French oak barrels.
reddish purple color in the glass. Very ripe, roasted fruits including prune aroma on the nose. Full-bodied
flavors of very ripe dark berries and cassis with balanced tannins and a noticeable overlay of cedary oak.
Lacks Pinot charm.
2013 Vivier Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $37. Sourced from vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region
of the Sonoma Coast. Aged in French oak barrels without fining or filtration.
Moderately dark reddish purple
color in the glass. Very shy aromatics with only a peek of fruit and cedary oak. Middleweight flavors of purple
and black fruits with balanced tannins and acidity. Pleasant, but nothing stands out. Check back in a year.
Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir
Broadley Vineyards, Monroe
2013 Broadley Vineyards Palmer Creek Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 50 cases, $30. A 10-acre vineyard owned by Janet and Larry Richards who
meticulously farm the vines. Pommard clone. 30% whole cluster. Aged in 100% French oak
barrels, 50% of which were new.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very tight on the nose
with demure aromas of black cherry and oak. Mid weight plus flavors of black cherry, black
raspberry and pomegranate with a touch of spice and savory herbs and a generous oak overlay. A
luscious, friendly wine which should be more giving with another year in bottle. Soft and smooth on
the palate with classy fruit and balanced, refined tannins. Tasted the following day from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle, the nose was still reticent and the oak still evident.
2013 Broadley Vineyards Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 250 cases, $50. Clone 777 and
Wädenswil. 100% de-stemmed, wild yeast primary fermentation for
14-21 days, pump overs in early stage and 3 punch downs a day
subsequently. Aged 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new
Francois Frères and 70% neutral.
Medium reddish purple color in the
glass. Rather shy aromas of black cherry, dark red berries and a touch of
oak. Enjoyable core of cherry and raspberry fruit, but the wine is not
giving its whole energy. Plenty of soul in this wine, but very shy with a
prominent oak overlay. Tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle, the aromas had still not arrived. Cellar this
wine for another year or two.
DION Vineyard, Oak Knoll
2011 DION Winemaker’s Reserve Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 97 cases, $35. This 60-acre vineyard is located in the northern Willamette
Valley on Laurelwood soils at 300’ to 500’ elevation. Proprietors are Kevin Dion Johnson and Beth
Klingner. Clones 114, 115, 667 and 777. Harvest Brix 20.4º-22.7º. Latest harvest start ever. A barrel
selection. 50% new oak.
Moderately light black cherry color in the glass. Rather closed with
demure aromas of ripe black cherries and wintergreen. Admirable harmony and finesse with modest
flavors of black cherry and plum backed by oak, finishing with slightly astringent tannins.
2011 DION Old Vines Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 48 cases, $40. Own-rooted, dry-farmed Pommard
vines planted in 1977. This block was one of the last picked in a late
Moderately light dark cherry color in the glass. Scents of black
cherry, dark chocolate and seasoned oak lead to a very inviting core of
black cherry fruit accented with notes of spice, tobacco, mocha and iron
minerality. Rich and mouth filling, with a good structural backbone, and a
very long, eye-opening finish.
2012 DION Winemaker’s Reserve Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 97 cases, $35. Harvest Brix 24.3º-25.0º. Clones 115, 114, 777 and
Pommard. A barrel selection including for the first time a Pommard block. Aged 13 months in 50%
new French oak barrels.
Moderate red cherry color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherry, rose petal
and sandalwood. Mid weight pleasing flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and fig with well
integrated oak. Beautifully balanced, with fine-grain tannins, supportive acidity and a sexy, soft and
silky texture. Riper in this vintage, but not too ripe. Highly enjoyable now, but will age long term.
Gresser Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains
A small, family owned and operated winery and vineyard estate. The family, which lives on the property, is
involved in every aspect of vineyard management. Located next to the Chehalem Ridge Natural Area
southwest of Portland, Oregon, close to Forest Grove, the vineyard is planted on a steep slope at about 99’
elevation. Visit www.gresservineyard.com.
2013 Gresser Vineyard Select Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 100 cases, $18. Aged 9
months in 40% new French oak barrels.
Light yellow color and clear in the glass. Welcoming aromas
of lemon curd, apple, buttery brioche and nuts, and bright lemon, pineapple and green apple flavors
driven by bright acidity. Slightly viscous in texture, with a refreshing burst of acidity on the finish. A
very enjoyable wine for the dinner table.
2012 Gresser Vineyard Select Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 500 cases, $32.
Clones 29, Dijon 113, 115. Aged 16 months in 30% new
French oak barrels.
Moderately light crimson color in the
glass. Very inviting in the glass with aromas of fresh cherry
and spice that hold up over time in the glass. Deep red
cherry and raspberry flavors with toasty oak in the
background. Sheik and silky, with many nuances that show themselves
over time including savory herbs, cola, and black walnuts. Nicely
balanced with dry tannins and welcome acidity. Still very solid the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating
LUMOS Wine Co., Philomath
2012 LUMOS Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $38.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy nose offering a whiff of black cherry and ashen oak. Fullbodied,
luscious core of black cherry, black raspberry and pomegranate fruits backed by firm, but not obtrusive
tannins. Very vivid and classy, soft and smooth in the mouth, with a lengthy finish of uncommon generosity.
The oak overlay is a bit much now, but should mitigate some over time. A man’s Pinot.
2012 LUMOS Five Blocks Wren & Temperance Hill Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $25.
reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing but shy aromas of dark
berries, rose petals and spice. Attention-grabbing attack of mid to fullbodied
blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry fruits with an earthy
undertone. This wine is still young, sporting defined tannins and toasty
oak which show up on the huge, generously fruited finish. Still a bit tight
the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle but the
potential is obvious. No rush to drink this one.
Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, Roseburg, Umpqua Valley
Estate grown and produced wines from a family owned winery in Southern Oregon. Stephen and Gloria
Reustle moved their family to Oregon and established vineyards in 2001, with the first estate wines released in
2004. The winery currently produces annually about 8,000 cases of a dozen different varietals, reserves and
blends from 40 acres of hillside vineyards. The winery’s tasting room program includes a sit-down wine and
appetizer pairing in a underground wine cave. Visit www.reustlevineyards.com.
2011 Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards “Pichon Bloc” Prayer Rock Vineyard Umpqua Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.63, 625 cases, $34. Sourced from Pichon Block in Prayer Rock Vineyard, named for
river that flowed out of the Garden of Eden as noted in Genesis 2:11. High elevation at 660’. Dijon clones.
100% de-stemmed, inoculated yeast ferments, aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 84% of which was
Light red cherry color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of dusty cherry and raspberry with an
oak compliment. Elegantly crafted, with light to mid weight flavors of red cherry and red berry with a hint of
spice. Supple tannins and easy drink ability. A nice reflection of the vintage.
2013 Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards Winemaker’s Reserve Umpqua Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.68, 600 cases, $39.
Warmest vintage since 2004. From estate Prayer Rock and Romancing
Rock vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, inoculated yeast ferments in 1-ton
fermenters, aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 85% of which
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Demure
wild berry aromas with hints of floral bouquet and oak. Very smooth and
polished on the palate with mid weight flavors of ripe, sweet cherry, black
raspberry and cola. Nicely integrated tannins and oak. More sap and
structure than the 2011 bottling tasted here, offering more overall
Wine as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle: 2014 in Review - Prologue
“The complicated nature of both wine and the human body will make
blanket statements about the health benefits of wine near impossible.”
Each year in January it has been customary for me to offer a summary of the major, peer-reviewed, scientific
studies published in the preceding year. As a retired physician, and believer that wine in moderation plays an
important role in a healthy lifestyle, I have a dedicated interest in these studies that contribute to our current
understanding of the roles that alcohol and wine play in our health. Each year, there are thousands of citations
in the biomedical literature regarding alcohol, wine and health so this is obviously a prodigious undertaking. In
the past, I have devoted an entire lengthy issue to the subject, but this year I will provide the information in
segments over multiple issues so that the reader is not overwhelmed by the deluge of scientific reports and
The key recurring word in any discussion of the possible health benefits of wine is moderation. The praise for
and urging for moderation in alcohol consumption has been a refrain since antiquity. Clearly, those who
preceded us were aware of a boundary between the health benefits of wine and hazardous imbibing. The
term, hormesis, applies here, meaning a biological phenomenon in which the favorable effect of moderate
dosage of a substance is toxic in higher doses. Over drinking of alcohol can lead to a number of very serious
health problems: one is better off not drinking alcohol at all than drinking too much.
There are many challenges to performing medical research on the health benefits of alcohol and wine in this
country. The Federal Government prohibits wineries from hinting at or promoting the health benefits of wine
and currently, Federal money cannot be used to support alcohol research other than the treatment of alcohol
addiction, and funding is available only for viticultural studies and examination of grapes, raisins and other non-vinification
topics. Alcohol, including wine, is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
(TTB) which was established in 2002 under the Homeland Security Act. Jake Lorenzo, writing in Wine
Business Monthly (December 2012) points out, “That means wine is considered dangerous and possibly
subversive by our own government.”
The correct message from scientific research is often trumpeted incorrectly to the American public by
slanderous headlines proclaiming that alcohol and specifically wine is not good for you. These headlines send
a confusing message to the public and have a veil of Neo-prohibitionism. Rob McMillan notes, “Neoprohibitionism
may be less visible, yet the underlying agglomeration of strange bedfellows isn’t yet dead.”
It has been 25 years since the 60 minutes television program on the “French Paradox” alerted 20 million
viewers to the possible health benefits of wine at a time when the wine industry was unsuccessfully trying to
promote the health benefits of drinking in moderation. Despite the impact of that program, the public’s
confusion about the possible health benefits of wine in moderation continues.
As a medical doctor, I have read a considerable amount of medical literature and scientific research on the
relationship between alcoholic beverages and health, yet I find it exasperating to successfully merge the
conflicting reports into a consistent message. Practically every published research study ends with disclaimers
such as, “Further study is necessary,” “More research is needed to explain the results,” and “The results may
be explained by biases and confounding.” The word “suggestive” or the two words “interpret cautiously” are
I know that we need more voices promoting the truth about the responsible consumption of wine. I hope that
this feature in the PinotFile speaks clearly to this very complicated subject. There are few absolutes presented
here, and readers are encouraged to individualize the vast amount of information as well as consult with their
personal physician for advice on lifestyle, diet and drinking.
Governments & Alcohol Action Groups Have a Loud Voice in 2014
In November 2014, the United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) last updated their fact
sheets on alcohol use and health: www.cdc.gov/alcohol.com. These were published in conjunction with a study
in the CDC Journal titled, “Preventing Chronic Disease,” released in collaboration with the Substance Abuse &
Mental Health Services Administration. This study looked at data on 138,100 United States adults 18 years of
age and older in 2009, 2010 and 2011, participating in the National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH).
The study reported that nearly 1 in 3 adults is an excessive drinker defined as (1) binge drinking, (2) heavy
drinking, (3) any alcohol use by pregnant women and (4) any alcohol use by those under the legal drinking age
of 21 years. Most excessive drinkers binge drink, usually on multiple occasions, but are not considered
alcoholics while 1 in 30 excessive drinkers are alcohol dependent.
Excessive alcohol use was responsible for 88,000 deaths in the United States each year (3,700 deaths from
alcohol dependence) from 2006-2010 due to short-term health effects including breast cancer, liver and heart
disease, drinking too much over a short period, violence, alcoholic poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes.
The CDC study came in the wake of a proposal by the National Transportation Safety Board to reduce the blood
alcohol limit for drunken driving by one-third. As pointed out by the Wine Curmudgeon blog at
www.winecurmudgeon.com, this study was somewhat alarming to moderate wine drinkers since it equated
drinking the equivalent of one to two glasses of wine daily as heavy or excessive drinking. In addition, the
media alarmed the public unnecessarily. Fueling the fire, The National Institute for Health Care Excellence
(NICE) in the UK called those who drink a couple of large glasses of wine a day “mild alcoholics.”
A CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report dated January 10, 2014, www.cdc.gov/mmwr, reported that the
government’s concern about excessive alcohol use led the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
to recommend that alcohol misuse screening and behavioral counseling for adults (also known as
alcohol screening and brief intervention or ASBI) be instituted in 2004 for adults to address this issue.
Despite these public health efforts, the study found that only one of six U.S. adults ( 1 in 5 current drinkers and
1 in 4 binge drinkers), reported ever discussing alcohol consumption with a physician or other health
Clearly, alcohol counseling is underutilized by physicians, and increased implementation of ASBI is necessary,
including steps to make discussion and education about alcohol consumption a part of physicians’ routine
medical assessments and care. A 2 minute new video was released in September 2014 hosted by American
Medical Women’s Association President Dr. Farzanna Haffizula that was produced by Mission Critical Health
(MCH). This video, which aired in U.S. physician offices, hospitals and military facilities, encouraged
healthcare professional to talk with patients who drink alcohol about the importance of moderation. The video
provided important science-based information on alcohol and health from the United States Dietary Guidelines
and the CDC. View the video at http://youtu.be/RgV2BZHGHxQ.
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report in May 2014 that indicated alcohol was responsible for
3.3 million deaths each year or 5.9% of deaths globally. More than 200 health conditions were described as related to alcohol
and responsible for many of these deaths. The report also noted that Europe had the largest percentage
alcohol consumption of any region of the world. Levels of drinking in Europe, Africa and the Americas have
been steady for the last five years, but Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific have had increased drinking.
The merger of the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) and the Global Alcohol Producers Group
(GAPG), both funded by nineteen of the world’s leading drinks producers involved, led in 2014 to the creation
of a new alcohol action group, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), It's purpose is to help reduce
harmful drinking and fiercely promote responsible drinking. The Press Release noted, “Continuing and
expanding ICAP’s work, IARD will support implementation of the Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers’
Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking (www.producerscommitments.org), and promote responsible
drinking through research, programs, and balanced debate around the world.
Pernod Ricard, a member of IARD, launched a Wise Drinking mobile application in May 2014 that allows users
to monitor their alcohol intake. Users can test their knowledge of responsible drinking through a quiz, keep a
diary of their drinking patterns, and receive notice from the app when driving may be impaired. Visit www.wisedrinking.
Australia’s Foundation for Alcohol Research (FARE), headed by chief executive Michael Thorn, advocated that
clear warnings about short-term and long-term harmful effects of alcohol be mandatory on all alcoholic drink
labels. A voluntary program instituted over two years ago failed to garner compliance presumably because
alcoholic beverage producers feared it woul reduce sales.
The All Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse has also called for health warnings and calorie content on all
drink labels to attempt to reduce alcohol misuse in the U.K.. They reported that 1 in 20 U.K. adults (1.6 million
people) was “dependent” on alcohol. After smoking, alcohol was the second largest preventable killer.
Members of Parliament also proposed to lower the blood alcohol level from 80 mg/100 ml to 50 mg/100 ml -
the same as the lower limits for drivers in France, Spain, Scotland and Northern Ireland, tighter restrictions on
alcoholic beverage ads to the underage group, a phased ban on alcohol company sponsorship of sport teams,
and a minimum price per unit of alcohol to increase the cost of the cheapest drinks in the marketplace. A group
of U.K. doctors supported these changes as a way to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. It appears that
the current drunk driving limit in England will remain unchanged for the time being, but the government has
plans for increasing enforcement.
In February 2015, the Irish government passed a law setting a minimum price for drink sales and alcohol
producers are now required to put health warnings and calorie counts on wine, beer and spirits. Alcohol
advertising will be restricted and marketing alcohol to the underage group will be banned.
Public Health England has publicly advised consumers in the U.K. to refrain from drinking two days in a row (or
at least 2 days a week). In a 92-page paper it was reported that daily drinking contributes to an increased risk
of health issues such as cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. This recommendation was widely criticized as
unrealistic and not a helpful strategy as there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that skipping days is
more healthy. Many believe the Chief Medical Officer would be better served by simply recommending
moderation ( for example, a maximum of one standard drink a day for women and two standard drinks a day
Alcohol and Weight Gain
A single serving size of 6 ounces of wine has about 111-275 calories (the amount will vary depending on the
type of wine and its ABV). Refer to the chart below from www.winefolly.com/tutorial/wine-nutrition-facts. A
standard 12 ounce serving of beer has 150 calories as does a 12 ounce serving of Coke.
Claims that drinking alcohol will make you fat continue to grab the attention of the public. Many nutritionists
advocate avoidance of alcohol. They reason that since alcohol is high in calories it therefore must cause weight
gain. Adding the calorie content to wine labels as is currently required on food labels has been proposed in the
U.S., but so far nutritional label requirements have not been passed into law.
The research into the effect of alcohol on weight is inconclusive, but many scientific studies show that liquid
calories from alcohol are metabolized differently and not bioavailable. A 2002 study by researchers at Kyushu
University in Japan determined that alcohol improves insulin sensitivity. In other words, drinkers process
complex carbohydrates more efficiently and store less fat.
A report in the drinksbusiness.com (February 11, 2015) pointed out that a phenomenon known as "drinkorexia" is becoming more prevalent. Drinkorexics swap their food calories for alcoholic drinks, a result of the increasing availability of information on the caloric content of wine, beer and spirits. The calorie information is potentially harmful to those with eating disorders.
Science writer, Tony Edwards, in The Good News About Booze (2013), dispels the myth that drinking alcohol
makes you fat. He cites at least sixteen epidemiological studies over the past 25 years that have consistently
shown that wine drinkers, especially social or moderate drinkers, do not gain weight and even gain less weight
than abstainers. Some studies even found that alcohol was “slimming” (don’t take this to suggest that drinking
is a recommended weight loss method). It is true that alcohol can increase your appetite, cause you to loose
self control, and lead you to eat not only more food but less healthy food, but this is an indirect effect of alcohol
on weight change.
Beer bellies in heavy beer drinkers are often cited as evidence of alcohol-induced weight gain, but Edwards
points out that beer contains malt sugar or maltose and has a high Glycemic Index. Heavy drinkers tend to eat
excessively as well. No research has been done to explain whey wine drinkers do not develop an increased
Jill U. Adams presents a discussion of the subject in the Washington Post (www.thewashingtonpost.com,
October 22, 2014, “Is drinking alcohol going to make you fat?”) and admits, “The science is murky.” She cites
several studies that support the conclusion that moderate drinkers tend to gain less weight over time than
teetotalers, and quotes alcohol expert David Hanson at the State University of New York at Potsdam. “There’s
every reason to believe people who drink alcohol will gain weight, but they don’t.”
The takeaway message here is that you can enjoy wine in moderation without worrying about gaining weight
as long as you maintain a proper diet and perform regular exercise.
A Denver-based company, BeverageGrades®, offers a website with nutritional and flavor data on more than
5,000 wines including calories, sugar, carbohydrates, antioxidants, histamines, sulfites, vitamins, gluten,
pesticides and most flavor compounds. This is the first company to offer this nutritional information on
alcoholic beverages. The company’s independent lab extracts the chemical DNA of wines, beers and spirits
sold in the United States and a chemical fingerprint of each beverage is created including scientific taste and
aroma characteristics. Consumers can access this information on the website or by use of a mobile app.
Consumers are able to enter their favorite wine and find other wines with nearly identical chemical composition,
as well as similar flavor, aroma and taste profiles at different price points. When I visited the site, I could not
find information on most of the wines I review for the PinotFile. You will have better luck with larger, more
widely distributed wine brands. Visit www.BeverageGrades.com for more information.
Siduri Wines and Novy Family Wines Acquired by Jackson Family Wines Adam Lee
will stay on as winemaker, the winery will function as is at its urban warehouse facility in northwest Santa Rosa
where the winery currently produces 25,000 cases between the two brands (Kendall-Jackson will take over the
lease). The Lees will now have more capital, more free time to spend with their three children, and access to
the many Kendall-Jackson vineyards in California and Oregon.
San Luis Obispo Wine Country Celebrates 25th Anniversary in 2015 The San Luis
Obispo (SLO) Wine Country Association is launching a monthlong “Wine Adventures” experience in April by
reinventing its signature “Roll Out the Barrels.” The new experience begins the week of April 6 and concludes
at the end of the week of April 27. A variety of winery activities will be organized by weekly themes such as
“Taste the Coast,” “Farm to Fork,” and “Sustainability & Heritage.” Examples of activities include comparative
barrel tastings with winemaker Stephen Dooley of Stephen Ross Wine Cellars, a tour of Talley Farms followed
by a gourmet lunch at Talley Vineyards, and a concluding “Barrels in the Plaza” wine and food pairing event at
Mission Plaza on Thursday, April 30. A full schedule of events is forthcoming. Visit www.slowine.com for further
information and tickets.
In Pursuit of Balance Advance registrations are now being taken for wine buyers, media and
sommeliers for In Pursuit of Balance San Francisco, March 16 from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. at City View at
Metreon. Over 30 wineries pouring and seminars featuring Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson and
wine writer Jon Bonné of the San Francisco Chronicle. Register at www.eventbrite.com/e/ipob-san-franciscotrade-
New Winemaker at Chapter 24 and Maison l’Envoye Veteran winemaker Max Marriott has
taken over from Mike ‘Mikey’ Etzel, Jr., as winemaker and general manager for Chapter 24 Vineyards in
Oregon. Mikey will pursue a side project with Mark Tarlov called Double Zero offering vineyard-designated
Pinot Noirs made in tiny volumes with meticulous attention ($300) and this offshoot willl soon have its own
winery and website. Marriott worked for Louis-Michel in Burgundy and top producers in New Zealand, Australia
(Tasmania), Germany and the United States (Cristom in 2012). Marriott finished the 2013 wines which will be
released in a few months, and will make the 2014 wines. As of the 2014 vintage, Chapter 24 Vineyards is
sourcing 29 vineyards around the Willamette Valley in all six appellations, culminating in 70 blocks and
separate parcels of fruit. Ryan Hannaford, the former vineyard manager at Seven Springs Vineyard, joined the
team as company viticulturist. Production has increased from 5,000 to 12,000 cases, the majority of which is
made for the Maison l’Envoye program, with barrel and lot selections made for the Last Chapter, Fire and
Flood bottlings. (Note - Elin McCoy wrote a column at www.bloombergnews.com February 3, 2014, titled,
“Should You Pay $300 For An Oregon Pinot Noir?” She was referring to the 2012 Chapter 24 Double Zero
Hyland Vineyard and Shea Vineyard Pinot Noirs. After tasting the wines, she did not think they lived up to the
pricetag. Tarlov said that half of sell price will go to charity.)
Annual Vinexpo/IWSR Survey This annual study from International Wine and Spirit Research
(IWSR) is no in its thirteenth year. The survey covers 28 producing countries and 114 consumer markets.
Highlights of the study include the following from a recent press release. The U.S. is driving growth as the
world’s largest wine market, consuming 312.5 million cases in 2013. The U.S. was the only market among the
top 10 wine drinking countries to show growth over the previous year. Between 2009 and 2013, U.S.
consumption of sparkling wines (excluding Champagne) grew by 23% and it is expected that it will increase
another 15% between 2014 and 2018. Cava and Prosecco sales increased markedly. Red wine represented
54.8% of all still wine consumed in 2013. Rosé wine sales held steady and are thriving in the three primary
rosé consumer markets: France, the U.K. and the U.S., Italy and Australia are the most important suppliers of
imported wines to the U.S. market with France in third place but on the rise as maturing American wine
consumers are drawn to what is widely seen as the home of fine wine.
3rd Annual Shea Comparative Tasting at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Lynn Penner-Ash
and nine fellow vintners will participate in a progressive Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir tasting on April 12. Also, two
seminars will be held featuring Dick Shea and Lynn Penner-Ash joined by five Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
producers to discuss their relationship with Shea Vineyard and what makes their blocks within it inimitable.
Visit www.pennerash.com for tickets. #sheahappens.
Family Winemakers of California Southern California Event On March 15, Family
Winemakers will have their one Southern California tasting event at the Fairplex in Pomona. Family
Winemakers has partnered with WineMatch to offer a better experience. Consumers, media and retailers can
download the free WineMatch iPhone app and scan the QR code at the winery’s table to keep track of wines
they like. Family Winemakers represents family owned, small, boutique wineries. This is an opportunity to taste
from 500 wines offered by 100 wineries. Visit www.familywinemakers.org/taste for tickets.
Inaugural Sonoma County Barrel Auction This live auction for the trade on May 1, 2015, is an
opportunity to own one of a kind wines from Sonoma County’s most acclaimed vineyards. The auction will be
preceded on April 30 by a VIP trade and media preview event at Williams Selyem Winery. The live auction will
feature over 50 exclusive wine lots ( 5 to 20 cases) and will conclude with a celebration lunch prepared by local
chefs for all guests and participating wineries. Licensed wine sellers, including retailers, restaurateurs and
wholesalers, may request a ticket to the invitation-only event online at www.SonomaWine.com/BarrelAuction or
by contacting Danielle Hollywood at 415-683-0696. Follow at www.facebook.com/SonomaCountyVintners, on
Twitter @Sonoma Vintners or search using the hashtag #SoCoBA.
11th Annual Pinot Paradise The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association presents this
annual event March 21 & 22. The event is devoted exclusively to Pinot Noir grown in the Santa Cruz
Mountains. Pathway to Pinot Paradise self-guided tour of 25 wineries on Saturday, the Pinot Noir Tech
Session on Sunday morning at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, and the Grand Cruz Wine & Food Tasting also at
Mountain Winery in the afternoon featuring Pinot Noirs from 40 wineries. Names familiar to PinotFile readers
that are participating in the Grand Cruz Tasting include Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, Big Basin Vineyards,
Mount Eden Vineyards, Sante Arcangeli Family Wines, Ser Wine Company, Thomas Fogarty Winery and
Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards. Some of the most notable names such as Rhys Vineyards, Clos de Tech,
Varner, and Neely do not participate. Curiously, wineries outside the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA that source
Pinot Noir grapes from the AVA are not involved either. For information and tickets, visit www.scmwa.com.
Pinot Lollipops Inspired by owner Ryan Harms’ love of candy, Union Wine Company of Oregon is now
offering Quin Candy lollipops in Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris flavors. As reported in thedrinksbusiness.com
(February 6, 2015), the candy lollipops are made by the Quin company with Union Wine Company’s
Underwood Pinot Noir and Underwood Pinot Gris that are currently available in both traditional 750 ml bottles
as well as 12 ounce cans. The alcohol is removed during the production process, but bakery ingredients are
added that hint that alcohol is present. Gift packs including two tumblers, two cans of wine and a bag of wine
lollipops are sold on the Union Wine Company website ($20). Visit www.unionwinecompany.com.
Sinor-LaVallee Opens Tasting Room Mike Sinor is a veteran Pinot Noir producer who gained
acclaim at Chamisal and later Sinor-LaVelle in the Arroyo Grande Valley region. In 2013, Sinor bought a ranch
with a vineyard on it near Avila Beach and named it Bassi Vineyard. It has Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay,
Pinot Gris and Albarino on it. Starting February 6, 2015, Sinor-LaVallee will have a tasting room at 550 1st
Street in Avila Beach. The hours are Friday and Saturday 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM to 4:00
PM. Visit www.sinorlavallee.com.
Belle Glos Producer Plans Large Scale Winery in Sebastopol According to The Press
Democrat (February 2, 2015), Belle Glos owner and winemaker Joe Wagner wants to build a winery and
distillery at the Dairyman site on Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. The Dairyman site has 40
acres of Pinot Noir planted on 68-acres and is the source of Belle Glos’s Dairyman Russian River Valley Pinot
Noir. The project is large in scope, capable of producing up to 500,000 cases of wine and 250,000 gallons of
distilled spirits a year, making it tied with four others for the 15th largest permitted winemaking facility in
Sonoma County. Local residents are opposed and it could be a drawn out application for permits to build the