7.22.09 I am NOT drinking any F#&%ing Merlot! (A California Pinot Noir Tasting)

23 07 2009

Pinot-tastingATTENTION: Pinotphiles, pinot-princesses, and pinot whoirs. This was it. Our all-cal tasting of Pinots from across the state. Since the movie Sideways came out, wine lovers have had a raging hard-on for Pinot Noir, the fickle, difficult to grow grape that constantly commands top dollar for her delicate, sometimes seductive, sometimes snobtastic efforts. With geographic variety in mind, and not much else, we embarked upon a pinotpalooza fit for any slut to the pinot noir namesake.

Pinot Noirs, sorted regionally

Pinot Noirs, sorted regionally

First, an 2007 Copain Anderson Valley “Tous Ensemble” Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley, CA), $30. The 07 vintage and Anderson Valley have been getting a lot of buzz, so I had to splurge for both the geographic designation and the vintage. On the nose, we got smokiness, dried fruit and cherries. I noticed some baking spice, Katie got cake flour, and Tamara noticed chocolate.
On the palate, Ellen got a balsamic cherry component, I got a cherry liqueur/kirsch, and Steph got mozzarella cheese. Katie noted a short finish, I got good acidity,  and Tim noted that it was less earthy, and more fruity. Katie and I also noted a touch of citrus on the finish. Overall, we found this wine to be a solid effort from Copain.

Next was an 206 Kastania “Proprietor’s Reserve” Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast/Petaluma Gap, CA), $45. Off the bat, this was a more brickish colored pinot with some sediment. Me likey. On the nose I got cinnamon, Tim got fireworks, Tamara found a walnut scent and found it to be dirty, not in a good way, Nikki got banana bread, Luke noticed an alfalfa/hay component, and several of us noted the alcohol on the nose.
As for the palate, we picked up a slight amount of tannin, a helping of alcohol, strawberry, and raspberry. We were not super impressed, this was our lowest rated wine, and after we found out that the retail price of $45, we were also surprised. Just another example of how price does not necessarily correspond with quality.
Somewhere around here I mentioned about how “the blog is getting better the more that I tinkle with it.” We all laughed. And, I meant tinker, by the way.

Pinot #3, was an 2007 Fleur Pinot Noir (Carneros, CA), $25.  First off we noted a dirty smell. Perhaps a kitten pooping rainbows. Luke got diaper and iceberg lettuce. A floral component of rose garden, white rose, and rosewater was noted. Tamara, Nikki, and Colin agreed on a cucumber scent. Jessalyn got bleu cheese. I noted an herbal, sage/oregano component.
We found the palate to be balanced, but not super-interesting. Katie got pomegranate, I got raspberry and found it very juicy. Several of us agreed that this wine was very drinkable and hard to pinpoint, but good.

Fourth was a 2006 Foppiano Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, CA), $20. Kaite got black licorice on the nose, Tamara noticed caramel, Colin attributed some funk, I got funkberry, particularly the rasberry denomination of funkberry with a potpourri/dried flowers component, Tamara got dried fruit, and lastly, I found craisins (yeah, the dried cranberries that are great on salads).
Laura found the palate to be velvety, Nikki noticed dried herbs, Jessalyn noted a long finish with a Robitussen component. Katie upped it by mentioning cherry-flavored NyQuil.

Number 5 was a 2007 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir (Central Coast/Monterey, CA), $18. On the nose, Colin got a mix of unidentifiable fruits along with Juicy Juice. I seconded that with red Juicy Juice, off the hizzy. Steph got green apples. Elllen noted golden raisins. Laurie said it smelled like a janitor’s closet with cleaning supplies. Jessalyn thought it smelled metallic, like keys.
On the palate, I found it grapey, earthy, fruity, and yummy to drink with some more flavors of red Juicy Juice. Tamara thought it was earthy. Nikki found it citrusy and bright. Colin thought it was high in acid like the Copain pinot. Katie got clementine and Steph got kumquat.A nice effort from MacMurray Ranch.

Pinot numero 6 was a 2007 Concannon Pinot Noir (Central Coast, CA), $11. Tamara noted a citusy lemon smell. Katie got Wet Ones moist towellettes. Nikki and I noticed some spice, particularly cinnamon. Katie got a salty smell, Tamara got horseradish, and Nikki got the jew-food charoset, a mix of apples, grapes, juice (Jewce?) and cinnamon.
On the palate Nikki got briney sea water, Kaite got BAM! salt, Colin got cola, Tamara and I got furthered the notion with Dr. Pepper, and Tamara got a nutty finish. There was a bit of discrepency on the overall likeability of this wine, but we found it to be a good wine and a nice value overall.

#7 was a 2005 Foggy Bridge Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley, CA), $45. We found it light and fresh. Tim, a Santa Maria Valley native, thought it smelled like Santa Maria in the springtime, particularly during strawberry season. Ellen thought it was fruity and airy. Luke and Tamara noted a vanilla component. Un-identified cool Wino got cherry. Katie got pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top and Nikki got Play-Doh.
More Play-Doh was had on the palate with vibrant acidity and an overall sense of balance. Steph noted a vegetable component. Other flavors included vanilla, loads of cherry, white pepper, and a long finish. Katie simply said “thumbs up. I’ve reached that point in the night where I can’t think of words anymore.”

Number 8 was a 2007 Rancho Sisquoc Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara, CA), $30. On the nose I got forest floor, red licorice, and blackberry. Luke and Ellen got strawberry rhubarb. Steph noted wet leaves. I got a smoky, campfire on the beach aroma. Colin got pine needles. Todd thought it smelled like Big Foot’s dick. Coln proceed to choke, presumable on Big Foot’s dick.
Ellen got boysenbery on the palate, I got a mint and grean tea component. Katie and Jessalyn got green olives and Tamara got dirty martini.

Young Winos!

Big group of young winos!

(Especially after the movie Sideways) our expectations for California Pinot Noir were high. Overall, they were solid, but none of them blew us out of the water. Thankfully, we found the more expnensive pinots to be not quite as interesting and the value wine with the best rating was the 07 Concannon Pinot. We may not be beautiful bitchy Burgundies, but we will settle for being the over-the-top, high in alcohol, Lindsay Lohan, pinot whoirs that we are. Cheers bitches.




3 responses

31 07 2009
Jesse Porter

I was all about that Foppiano until I read the “NyQuil” bit. If I want to get blitzed off NyQuil, it’s not gonna cost me $20… am I right?

Awesome write-up. You guys always look so happy.

1 08 2009

I have to say that I personally love the taste of cherry NyQuil and if I had to chose, drinking the wine is probably less damaging on my liver than the NyQuil, so I for one will be back for more. You should ask Kelly what we ended up rating that one… I can’t remember

2 08 2009

Jesse, we’re not just really happy… This is San Francisco. We’re gay.
Last time I checked, a 1997 Napa Valley NyQuil was going for $250 a bottle. Oh wait, that was a bottle of Opus One… Same difference. 😉

And Katie, I couldn’t remember either for obvious reasons, but Jessalyn’s pretty handwriting tells me that we scored it a 6/10. Most wines hovered around a 6.5-7 that night. I’ll have to get my tannin-stained fingers on another bottle in the near future and see how it does. Also, tried to Copain again at work tonight after it had been open for some time, freaking stellar.

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