Pinot Noir is like that childhood poem about the girl with the curl on her forehead “When she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid.” Done well, Pinot Noir can be complex, elegant, voluptuous, silky, sexy and multi-faceted. Done poorly, Pinot Noir can be funkier than James Brown, stemmy, weedy, thin and tart.
Please note – sometimes a winery will send me a few of the same varietal (in this case, Pinot Noir) from different vineyard designations and/or vintages. If the wines are good, I’ll write about all of them. If they aren’t good, I won’t. Gotta be fair, you know!
I had the pleasure of tasting a goodly handful of Pinot Noirs from all over California. The following wines were my favorites:
2008 Sonoma Coast $38
OK, I’ll admit it – It’s a good thing I taste sitting down, because this wine literally made my knees get weak! Mouthwatering aromas of juicy, ripe cherry, rose petals, forest floor and brown spices lure the taster into a silky, sexy mouthful of consistent flavors that linger through the finish. Oh yeah!
2008 Sangiacamo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast $47
This wine reminded me of how much I love my job ? it is truly a pleasure to taste wines of this caliber! Aromas and flavors of cherry, strawberry, vanilla and spice box abound, all wrapped up in a seamlessly smooth mouthfeel. Gorgeous!
2008 Gap?s Crown Vineyard, Sonoma Coast $47
Picture walking through a rose garden, eating a big slice of strawberry/rhubarb pie with a graham cracker crust and you’re almost there! This wine is absolutely delicious, from first sniff, through the luscious juicy finish. Yum!
2008 Monterey $12
Really pretty wine and a bargain at that! The nose is sassy and spicy, with pepper, clove and cinnamon, balanced by black cherry and rose petal notes. The mouth is satiny-smooth and layered with cherry, vanilla, spice and floral flavors. This is a fantastic Pinot and the price can?t be beat!
2008 Russian River Valley $50
This Pinot Noir is, in the words of Richard Thompson, “fine as a bee?s wing!” It is delicate and feminine, with balanced aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry, spice and a touch of sweet vanilla.
2008 Russian River Valley $47
Drew Barrymore eating strawberry Pop Tarts and drinking a cherry Coke while wearing a crown of violets in her hair. Can you say “sexy, sassy and approachable?” I knew you could.
2008 Rogers Creek Vineyard, Sonoma Coast $47
This classic Pinot Noir is earthy, spicy and beautiful! Think Jennifer Hudson in a low-cut, clingy red dress, smoking a clove cigarette and you’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about. Strawberry, rhubarb and cherry accented by pepper and mushroom notes set the stage I the nose and don’t disappoint in the silken mouth.