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The Fifth Annual Blind Tasting of American Pinot Noir (Half Three with Last Outcomes)


As I discussed Monday and yesterday, earlier this month, I and a gaggle of different Houston-based wine writers, tasted 55 American Pinot Noirs on a Saturday afternoon. The design was to style via the wines blind, which signifies that I didn’t know which wine was ever in my glass (effectively, my 4 glasses, as I tasted that many at a time).

Tasting wines blind is at all times a great train as realizing what a wine is can at all times introduce bias in the case of analysis. Blind tasting can also produce a number of surprises, as was definitely the case this time round.

After I inform folks about these tastings I maintain at my home, the response is almost uniform: “Oh, appears like actually robust work.” Reality be informed, whereas it’d fall in need of “robust work” it definitely shouldn’t be “straightforward.” Tasting so many wines inside a reasonably slender band of flavors and attributes (all of them come from the identical grape, in any case), could be troublesome to verbalize the delicate variations.

It is usually robust on the enamel–by the top, we have been all in want of a toothbrush. Badly in want.

55 bottles of Pinot on the counter. 55 bottles of Pinot.

Listed here are the ultimate 15 wines, within the order we tasted them:

2020 Sailer Household Wines Pinot Noir, San Luis Obispo County, CA: Retail $50? Medium colour. Muted nostril, minty, sage, darkish berry. Whoa, fairly tart, however actually luscious fruit, wealthy and decadent. It is a traditional American Pinot and it’s huge and wonderful. Excellent. 95 Factors.

2021 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $30. Extra purple than ruby, significantly on the brim. A nostril of purple cherry cough drop and a little bit of earth. Good tartness and greater than ample fruit on the palate with some complexity. Very Good. 89 Factors.

2018 Brooks Pinot Noir Toluca Lane Winery, Eola – Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $55. Darkish, even actually darkish colour with a near-brooding nostril of black cherry and spice. Possibly cinnamon? Fairly fruity initially, with an intense acidity coming in on the mid-palate. Some chewy tannins on the end. Glorious. 90 Factors.

2018 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Hallberg Winery, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $65. Beautiful ruby colour within the glass with appreciable earth and Bing cherry the nostril. Initially fairly tart on the palate with plentiful fruit which is surprisingly delicate on the identical time. Glorious. 92 Factors.

2019 Pellegrini Household Vineyards Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Property, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $57. Translucent medium ruby colour with tart cherry and only a trace of mustiness on the nostril. None of that funk on the palate, which is just pleasant: vivid, tart, and well-balanced.  Excellent. 94 Factors.

2021 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noir, San Luis Obispo County, CA: Retail $25. A little bit of cherry cola on the nostril with dusty earth. The palate is actually fruity maybe even a bit of extracted, however good acidity and a few tannic grip on the end. Very Good. 89 Factors.

What 55 bottles of Pinot seem like in brown paper baggage.

2021 Stoller Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $25. A determined natural side (celery) and a definite earthy, dirtiness on the nostril. Soiled and definitely tart, however missing a bit on the fruit. Very Good. 88 Factors.

2019 Virginia Marie Lambrix Pinot Noir Starscape, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $66. Cherry ice cream on the nostril with a contact of earth and a touch of funk. The palate has that very same ripe cherry ice cream “sweetness” to it on the palate, with a balancing dose of tartness. Very Good. 89 Factors.

2019 La Follette Pinot Noir Solar Chase Winery, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $65. Brilliant Bing cherry with only a contact of earth and the palate is completely incredible. Holy cow. Great fruit, nice steadiness, appreciable depth. Excellent. 96 Factors.

2020 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $55. A surprising nostril of a darker Pinot: earthy darkish cherry, with incredible fruit on the palate, a little bit of forest flooring, and a complete lot of verve. Whoa. Excellent. 94 Factors.

2019 WillaKenzie Property Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $28. Largely a muted nostril, however a little bit of fruit that’s principally darkish cherry. Good wave of fruit on the palate, a bit mild in tartness (however I nitpick), with a lingering end. Glorious. 90 Factors. 

2021 Chehalem Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $25. Earthy cherry fruit, with bits of oak and spice on the nostril. Nice if unremarkable on the palate, with all of the requisite part components. Simply missing a little bit of chutzpah. Very Good. 88 Factors.

2019 Truett-Hurst Pinot Noir Black Sheep, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $52. Beautiful, simply pretty nostril with beautiful purple berry fruit (cherry, strawberry), vanilla, and simply the slightest trace of earth. Large and fruity, even actually huge on the palate. That is the fashion of Pinot that Europeans hate, however it’s definitely a comfortable spot for me. Whoa. Excellent. 93 Factors.

2019 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Noir 5 Mountain, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $60. An inviting nostril of candied fruit and a little bit of cherry “marmalade” with a contact of strawberry rhubarb pie, even cranberry and clove. Yeah, lots occurring with the nostril. Fruity and massive on the palate with a wave of earth and tartness on the mid-palate. Impeccable steadiness and intrigue. Whoa. Excellent. 93 Factors.

2021 Cattleya Pinot Noir Alma de Cattleya, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $45. Darkish colour, with a little bit of a muted nostril, with some faint darkish cherry coming via. The palate can also be relatively shy till the mid-palate when the fruit and tartness each leap in. Very Good. 89 Factors.

 

Prime Wines 

Earlier than I enumerate my prime wines, I’ve to say that I used to be impressed by the general high quality of the wines this 12 months, which I believe was a stable notch or three above any of the earlier 4 years. I personally scored nearly a 3rd of the wines “Excellent” or increased (which definitely induced me to pause, however the wines have been actually good).

The duty I introduced to the opposite writers on the tasting was relatively easy: give me a listing of the “prime wines.” I didn’t ask for a minimal or a most, simply the “prime wines.” Curiously, each of the opposite writers this 12 months included 11 wines on their respective lists.

There have been two wines that appeared on all three lists:

  • 2020 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir Fox Trot ($45)
  • 2019 La Follette Pinot Noir Solar Chase Winery ($65)

And there have been one other six wines that appeared on two of the three lists:

  • 2021 Cambria Pinot Noir Julia’s Winery ($25)
  • 2021 Stoller Pinot Noir Dundee Hills ($35)
  • 2019 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Radian Sta. Rita Hills ($68)
  • 2020 Sailer Household Wines Pinot Noir ($50)
  • 2019 Pellegrini Household Vineyards Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Property ($57)
  • 2019 Truett-Hurst Pinot Noir Black Sheep ($52)

As for my very own “prime wines”? Whoa. It was actually troublesome to decide on, however listed here are my prime dozen (a significantly better quantity than 11, by the way in which):

  • 2020 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir Fox Trot ($45)
  • 22019 La Follette Pinot Noir Solar Chase Winery ($65)
  • 2019 Stephen Ross Pinot Noir Stone Corral Winery ($55)
  • 2021 Cambria Pinot Noir Julia’s Winery ($25)
  • 2021 Stoller Pinot Noir Dundee Hills ($35)
  • 2020 Sailer Household Wines Pinot Noir ($50)
  • 2018 Brooks Pinot Noir Crimson Letter ($80)
  • 2020 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir Pinot de Ville ($69)
  • 2020 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($50)
  • 2019 Pellegrini Household Vineyards Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Property ($57)
  • 2018 Brooks Pinot Noir Crannell Eola – Amity Hills ($55)
  • 2020 Our Cellars Pinot Noir {Photograph} ($18)

Many due to my companions in crime: Sandra Crittenden (Wine-Ideas) and Rebecca Castillo (MyVinoRules) for his or her assist and experience!

Coming in December: Tasting American Glowing wines!

 

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