Pinot Noir

Wine reviews, notes, and ramblings about Pinot Noir.


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Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

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When we are children, we don't necessarily comprehend what our parents do for fun, and when we do, we rarely approve. As a teenager, As a teenager, the view from Ross Cobb's room included a few dozen Pinot Noir vines that his father, David Cobb, a marine biologist and environmental scientist, had planted in the backyard of their Mill Valley home. The fact that his parents were spending their Tuesday and Thursday nights taking viticulture classes... READ MORE

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Vivier Wines, Napa: Current Releases. Most winemakers have some story of how they discovered wine. It's quite commonplace in Europe to simply grow up in a winemaking family, but here in the U.S. most winemakers don't have that luxury. Instead they often can recall a specific moment when the world of wine opened up to them, and they recognized the possibility of finding their life's work in it. Read more on Vinography.Com...

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The International Pinot Noir Celebration is perhaps my favorite tasting event that I attend each year here in the U.S. Held on the bucolic grounds of a small college in a little town in Oregon's Willamette Valley, the event always manages to get just about everything right. It offers great food, fantastic wines, and interesting lectures all wrapped up in a very casual, relaxed atmosphere that simply makes it a joy to attend. Read More.

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Merry Edwards Wines, Russian River Valley: Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs Meredith "Merry" Edwards drives an SUV with a license plate that matches the title on her business card: Reina de Pinot. With far too few female winemakers in this country, claiming to be the Queen of Pinot might not involve much competition no matter what your real qualifications. But anyone would be hard pressed to find a woman winemaker in the Western Hemisphere that has more experience growing and making Pinot Noir...

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Rivers-Marie Winery, Sonoma Coast: Current Releases The creation of a new winery is always an exciting thing, especially when it is founded with the goal of being small, conscientious, and expressive of a particular place and grape. Like turning the corner in a new neighborhood and discovering a tiny shop that sells exquisite crafts, or finding a hole in the wall restaurant that serves the perfect version of a favorite dish, tasting great wine from a recently begun boutique winery...

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Kutch Wines, Sonoma: Current Releases Every wine has a story behind it. Some are better than others. Every wine has a dream behind it. Some are bigger than others. While some people are content to drink wine their entire lives, and never once feel the urge to make it, there are those wine lovers who yearn for something more than they get out of even the best bottles.

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Patton Valley Vineyard, Willamette Valley: Current Releases When it comes to wineries I generally know I'm in for something good when I drive down a long dirt road (unsure if I'm headed in the right direction) and finally come upon some vineyards and a couple of small aluminum barns with harvest bins stacked outside. For many small winery operations, the barrel storage, the lab, the office, and the tasting room are all under one corrugated roof.

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Notes from the Al Fresco Tasting at IPNC 2009 I go to a lot of wine tastings, and have come to really appreciate those that are done right. It may not be immediately apparent how easily a large public tasting can be screwed up, but all it takes is one small thing to make it a really miserable experience. For instance, a lack of spit buckets has turned more than one big tasting event into a nightmare. The spacing of the tables, the labeling of the stations...

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Arista Winery, Russian River Valley: Current Releases Given the chance, I highly recommend anyone to make the investment of time and money to watch a winery evolve from its very first vintage. It doesn't take much, just buying a bottle or two every year from a brand new winery that you think shows some promise, and then drinking them. Such observation is a wonderful study in personality. You get to see, or perhaps more accurately, taste...

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2007 J. Rochioli "River Block" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley It took me a long time in my evolution as a wine lover to truly understand the amount of money and sweat and energy that goes into building a world class winery over decades, even centuries. Many wine lovers early in their education (and in their earning power) are often flummoxed by prices for wines that start to head north of $80 or $90 per bottle. Should they pursue their love of wine long enough to really learn...

2007 J. Rochioli

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  • Barbara Johnston
    Barbara Johnston

    'If' u can get your hands on any of their pinots, DO!

The Best Pinot Noir in California?: Tasting Pinot Days 2009 The Pinot Days grand tasting event, which took place yesterday at Fort Mason in San Francisco, brings together one of the largest collections of Pinot Noir producers in North America for the tasting pleasure of the public. I was interested to see whether attendance at this year's event would be noticeably lower, but if it was, I couldn't tell. The place seemed just as packed as ever, which is a good thing...

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2007 Three Sticks "Durell Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast People tend to turn up their noses at the word "pedigree" as it is most often invoked in the context of class, but for both grapevines and the skills of the people who work them, a long history can make a big difference. The tiny Three Sticks winery started in 2002, but unlike many wine labels that spring up overnight with nary a grapevine to their name, Three Sticks emerged as a logical conclusion from the collision...

2007 Three Sticks

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2007 Anaba Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast One of my greatest pleasures remains my "discovery" of small new wineries, and the opportunity to watch them mature over time. Of course, three vintages isn't exactly a lot of time to watch a winery mature, but it's quite exciting to see the third vintage of a winery that seemed to hit it out of the ballpark with their very first release. A couple of years ago some bottles showed up on my doorstep bearing the name Anaba in beautiful looping script...

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1997 Calera Wine Company "Mills Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Mt. Harlan, CA Those of you who know me well understand the soft spot I have in my heart for iconoclastic winemakers. The crazier the better, in my book, but at the very least, so steadfastly committed to their idea of what makes for great wine that they're willing to persist in their quest even when everyone else says they are nuts. And that's exactly what most people said when they spotted Josh Jensen driving up and down California...

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2007 J Vineyards "Barrel 16" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. There was a time (think: late Seventies, early Eighties) when a lot of people would have put money on California being the next Champagne. It seems quite improbable now given California's reputation for Cabernet and the relative paucity of sparkling wine producers in the state. Yet there are many California winery names that have become synonymous with sparking wine (Schramsberg, Iron Horse, Korbel, Chandon, and more) and which...

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The good $15 Pinot Noir is the unicorn of the California wine industry. A mythic beast, highly sought after, no one is actually sure whether it exists or not. I'm always on the lookout myself, as it's one of the most frequent questions I get asked when people find out I review wines. Consequently, whenever I do come across something that comes close, I feel almost obligated to share the find. It's been some time since I visited the wines made under the brand TAZ...

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Low(er) Alcohol California Pinot Noir: Tasting Notes from 'In Pursuit of Balance'. Spring certainly seems to be Pinot Noir season in the Bay Area. Several major Pinot focused events -- the Pinot Noir Shootout, the World of Pinot Noir, the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, the Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Passport Event, etc. -- all occur within a span of about three months. To this impressive list, we may be able to add yet one more annual event, judging by the crush of the crowd...

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2008 Alta Maria Vineyards Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley. If I were doing now what I thought I would probably do with my life as a sophomore in college, I would be a photographer living in a tent or an old VW Bus somewhere, splitting my time between rock climbing and taking pictures of stuff that most people wouldn't give a second glance. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but I offer it as proof of how little sense I had of what path my life would take.

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Acid Freaks Unite!: Tasting Notes from In Pursuit of Balance 2012 I may be mangling the quote a little, but I swear I saw someone on twitter the other day say something along the lines of: "It may be possible that there's a wine out there with too much acidity, but I have yet to taste it." I couldn't agree more. For me, acidity (and perhaps more specifically, the perception of acidity -- since they are a little different) is a crucial component that can make or break a wine.

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