10.15.2009 Pinot Smackdown Oregon vs California

26 11 2009

(Thanks Alea for writing this awesome post!!)


It was the Smack Down of the Century, Oregon vs. California for who can hold claim to the title of best Pinot Noirs.  In order to make sure it was a fair fight we did a blind tasting with five Oregon and five California Pinots.  It was a long hard battle and in the end the only unanimous decision was that ten Pinots with seventeen people tasting is really hard to make it through.

the pinot line-up

Bottle 1: Arista 2007 Sonoma Coast CA

On the nose Kelly got Cranberry while Ellen got burnt crayon. Alea tasted dark fruit. Melanie got stems and grass.

Bottle 2: Bogle 2007 Russian River Valley CA

Colin smelled all barnyard. Nicki got baking spice and Kelly was all over the cheese and chicharrones. On the palate Russ found it creamy and Alea found it buttery but thought it smelled like blueberry dry erase markers. Alexa tasted roses.

Bottle 3: Black Kite 2007 Anderson Valley CA

Right away fruits were jumping at us. Ellen got Blackberry while Alea was smelling raspberry and Russ was having a shnozberry parade in his nose. Ellen and Nicki confirmed the berryliciousness and unripe raspberries.  Tyler found it tart. Alea tasted regular coca cola and mushrooms to pair with the leather Nicki smelled.

Bottle 4: O’Reilly’s 2007 Oregon

Darren thought Rose from the Golden Girls had walked in the room when he smelled this wine. Johnny was also getting the old lady perfume covering up old lady smell. Gretchen was getting freesia but Nicki thought it was violet. Colin was getting more barnyard but this time with chocolate. The palate didn’t do much for us. Ellen tasted dirty socks. Fernanda just thought it was bad. Melanie clarified it was ass that we were tasting. Colin tasted stems.


Bottle 5: Erashann Wood 2008 Willamette OR

Colin got a nose full of young man’s cologne and astringent but in a good way. Johnny felt like he was in the spice aisle at the grocery store but also was getting a hella tannic nose. Nicki was getting cinnamon and tree bark on the nose, while Kelly smelled pomegranate and notes that it had a juicy finish. Darren tasted blueberries and Nicki tasted black olives. Alea found it had a mild earthiness to the palate.

Bottle 6: Davis Bynum 2005 Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley CA

Right away Nicki thought it had and earthy nose with mushroom and Dr Pepper. She was surprised to find that the wine didn’t taste as burgundian as it smelt. Colin smelt brandy but tasted cough syrup. Alea found it smelled like a burnt match with a hit of cherry. Kelly was on the same track with his lit cigarette, charcoal and used BBQ. Ellen was smelling fruity hookah smoke. Dave got flat cola specifically Shasta cola. Russ tasted fruity cheese.

Bottle 7: Patricia Green Cellars 2007 “Estate” Ribbon Ridge OR

Colin got smoky scotch and antique train set on the nose. Russ was getting a nose full of lard from a burrito. Melanie smelt a bouquet of spring flowers especially honeysuckle. Alea smelt lemongrass and confirmed the lemon on the palate. Nicky smelled play dough and Kelly agreed but he tasted strawberry on the palate. Ellen found the palate Yummy and smooth like a babies bottom.

Bottle 8: And still standing (barely) The 5 Russians 2006 Nalasha’s  Russian River Valley

Kelly and Alea both got butterscotch right way on the nose. Ellen and Colin were in agreement they smelled funk berry. Dave got berries. Russ was sure it smelled like vodka and a bad hook up. Nicki got a spice she was pretty sure was nutmeg. Kelly also got bathtub and Nicki clarified that it was actually scrubbing bubbles. Johny said it finished with a strawberry tube taste.

Bottle 9: Broadley Vineyards 2008 Willamette Valley OR

“This smells like cowpow” Colin stated with a look of disgust on his face. He also got rotting wood. Russ called it earthy. Alea was sure that this wine is exactly what mildewy mushrooms on someone’s butt crack would smell like. Kelly called it fruity ass. Johny tasted berry colada. Kelly found it tart on the palate with some minerality. Alea tasted ASS, Culo!!! Asshole.

edutoxicating ourselves

Bottle 10: A to Z 2007 OR

Russ got overcooked BBQ on the nose. Ellen just got plan FUNK!! Andrea smelled gas station bathroom, while Nicki was getting more of a bat Mitzvah smell. Ellen got berry and Mushrooms on the palate.

Determining a winner was much harder than we thought it would be. The highest rated wine of the night was an Oregon, but all of the lowest rated wines were also from Oregon. California Pinots seemed to be much more consistent. They all had good solid ratings. Our decision was that a rematch will have to be scheduled to truly determine with state produces better pinots.  And buyers beware if you are going to go with an Oregon pinot make sure you get a referral, because there are some awful Oregon pinots out there. But for a great Oregon pinot noir go with our favorite of the evening Patricia Green Cellars 2007 “Estate” Ribbon Ridge from Oregon retails at around $43 a bottle (bottle 7).

thumbs up




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26 11 2009
Tweets that mention 10.15.2009 Pinot Smackdown Oregon vs California « -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katie Smillie, Young Winos of SF. Young Winos of SF said: Happy Thanksgiving all! Digest and check out our new blog post: Pinot Smackdown Oregon vs California http://bit.ly/7FEj9C […]

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