Sunday, May 11, 2014

Wine Reviews: Oregon & California Pinot Noirs

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

What a solid bunch of wines. These Pinot Noirs from Oregon and California were received as trade samples and tasted blind.

2010 Stoller Pinot Noir Reserve Dundee Hills - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
SRP: $45
Clear, medium intensity ruby colored. On the nose, cranberries and sour cherries, a note of red hot candies and rhubarb. Medium+ acid, fine-grained tannins, lots of strawberries and cranberries on the palate. I love the white pepper and resin notes and the creamy oak accents. Tasty, tangy, a good one to drink now or hold for several years. (89 points)

2011 Stoller Pinot Noir Estate Grown - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
SRP: $25
A clear ruby color. Medium intensity on the nose, with red currants, wild raspberries, and I get the sense that I’m smelling a holly tree, with this strong green-herbal and tart berry combination, some caramel too. On the palate, the tannins are light, medium+ acid, with flavors of tart cranberries, strawberries and a bit of pomegranate seed. An interesting mix of pepper, menthol, some creamy oak and dusty soil. A zesty, lower-alcohol (12.7%) Pinot. (88 points)

2010 Hyland Estates Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, McMinnville
SRP: $35
A dark ruby color in the glass. The nose shows violets and smoke over raspberries and strawberries and a strong mushroom note that I really enjoy. Fresh and elegant on the palate, with very fine tannins, crisp acid and fresh strawberries and cherries, a dark plum note as well. That same mushroom note from the nose comes out on the palate, some bay leaf, cracked pepper and light roast coffee. I dig this wine for its unassuming approach, its nuance, and its delicate flavors, but it’s not one to age for very long. (88 points)

2011 Hyland Estates Pinot Noir Coury - Oregon, Willamette Valley, McMinnville
SRP: $60
Light ruby color. Really nice spice tones on the nose (clove, cinnamon, pepper) on top of bright cherries and cranberries. Brisk acid, fine tannins and snappy red fruit makes this a fresh and food-friendly Pinot. I like the tobacco, pepper and earth accents. (A pleasant hint of seaweed?) A lighter, more reserved style, but showing significant complexity. (89 points)

2012 Gainey Pinot Noir - California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
SRP: $30
Ruby-cherry colored. On the nose, some roses, cool strawberries and raspberries, anise, menthol. On the palate, juicy berry fruit, strawberries and raspberries, like strawberry rhubarb pie, mixed with white pepper, earth and tobacco, Complex, spice-toned, along with cola and tobacco. Bright, balanced and pure, but full of flavor. 13.9% alcohol, aged 11 months in 19% new French oak. A beauty. (91 points)

2012 Rusack Pinot Noir - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $30
Ruby-cherry color. Aromas of fig, cranberries, roses, rhubarb and a smoky note. Fresh acid on the palate, with fine tannins, very pretty in its approach. Flavors of cranberries, fresh cherries mix with notes of cola, pepper, rhubarb. Ripe and open, but stays cool and clean, with a pepper and sage-laced finish. (90 points)

2012 Rusack Pinot Noir Reserve - California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
SRP: $40
Medium black cherry color. Aromas of fresh, chilled strawberries and cherries, along with roses, earth and some mushroom. Bright cherries and plums lead the way on the palate, with some crunchy plum skin notes. Tangy, moderate structure, with secondary flavors of earth, rhubarb and strawberry greens, some nice tobacco and white pepper. Slight coffee and cedar on the finish. Very well balanced and full of interesting flavors. (90 points)

2012 Rusack Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
SRP: $45
Dark ruby colored. Wonderful nose, the strawberry and sour cherry fruit smells fresh and inviting, accented by notes of rhubarb, white pepper and a smell that reminds me sweet pickle relish. From the moment the wine hits the palate, to the finish, the wine is graceful and consistent. Solid tannic structure, highly refreshing acid, and waves of cool strawberry and cherry fruit. The notes of white pepper, earth, tobacco and sweet floral and dried fruit potpourri make this complex and exciting. Long, fresh finish with floral and earth nuances. Beautiful stuff, showing well right out of the bottle, but you could bury this for a while as well. (93 points) 

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