Friday, August 17, 2007

Mystery Pinot--Part Two

So I did score a case of the mystery Pinot, tracking it down through the retailer who advised that I could get additional wine (maybe) from the maker and then, the next day, I received a confirm that indeed a case was available with the 10% discount, meaning I spent about $34 for a wine that will easily trump cult Pinots at twice the price. Plus, I ended up owning 2 of the 55 cases, or a considerable percentage of the available juice. I like those numbers!

To fill out the initial partial case of my mystery Pinot from the retailer in question I pulled down 7 other bottles from a couple of Pinot producers that I hadn't previously tried. One was the Demetria Estate 2005 Pinot Noir Jours de Bonheur Gaia Vineyards, Sta. Rita Hills. The Gaia Vineyard used to be known as Ashley's Vineyard, producing fine juice for Brewer-Clifton, Melville, Tantara and many others in the area. Demetria now owns the vineyard and produces its Burgundian varietals from its own grapes. The 2005 Pinot was grown, produced and bottled by Demetria, is unfined and unfiltered and has 14.2% alcohol. I paid about $35 retail for the wine, including the case discount. Demetria is biodynamic and this is the winery's first release. A bit more than 700 cases were made of it.

Tasting Notes: Violet in the glass, cherry nose, lots of very forward fruit. Juicy, expressive of red fruits, jasmine and sage, a carefree Pinot. Expressive and balanced, the wine is easy to drink and thirst quenching, going well with a host of food choices. While not complicated and with little mystique, it is thoroughly enjoyable for its bouquet of flavors and its drinkability.

Rating: Very good.

Cheers, Barrld

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pinot Mystery--Part One

Well, I found the best Pinot in memory but I can't tell you about it b/c only 55 cases were made by a guy from another country who is the full time winemaker at a Santa Ynez winery. I'm sure his moonlighting is kosher but don't know what his plans are for next year as I found out that he was pedaling his first vintage of the heretofore unknown wine door to door. I found the wine via an email add from a Santa Barbara area wine retailer of repute (who told me that they tasted it and flipped) and then bought the rest of the store's inventory so there is none of this wine on the market from 2005. Why am I telling you this, if not just to piss you off? More on that question in a bit.

Anyway, to confirm the quality of this particular Pinot from the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, I forced myself to drink 4 other fine Pinots out there, amidst the current sea of very good to excellent California Pinots from 2004 and 2005, to see if the fave held up to the test. Over the course of the next week or so I will give you my notes on the four comparison wines, then maybe I will give you more clues, and some notes on the mysterious blockbuster. I may have a means of getting more of this wine and, if I do, will reveal its identity to you.

Emeritus. Founded by Brice Jones of Sonoma-Cutrer fame, 2005 was the opening vintage of Emeritus. Don Blackburn, the winemaker, has a lot of quality experience with Pinot and knows the various Sonoma appellations. In June I bought a case of one of its two inaugural wines after Laube extolled its virtues. The wine in question is the 2005 Emeritus Pinot Noir William Wesley Vineyards Sonoma Coast, which was produced and bottled by the Emeritus folks. It checks in at 14.3% alcohol and I spent about $34 on it direct from Emeritus, with the case discount from the winery. Laube found it full bodied with firm tannins in need of time. I disagree with much of his notes, and the guzzlers chimed in quite consistently following a second tasting of the Emeritus after lusting over the afore-mentioned mystery wine.

Tasting Notes. Ruby red in the glass, dark cherry and currants on the nose, red fruits and tannins, tightly wound, almost closed and needs time (my only agreement with Laube). Lovely bouquet, earthy, tart blackberry and refined, medium bodied with structural elements that could come together nicely, just not yet. Second tasting was consistent, though the Emeritus suffered in comparison to my blockbuster.

Rating: Very good.

Cheers, Barrld