2008 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir (California)

The nose shows a little raspberry and cherry with a touch of barnyard funk. The color is light brick-red. In the mouth this lighter style California Pinot Nior has red cherry, black licorice and oaky notes. It’s fairly one-dimensional but for the price it’s pretty good. This Pinot Noir carries the California appellation on the label so the fruit is sourced from many different areas and vineyards but again for $13 it’s pretty good.

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Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 12:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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2007 DuMOL Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Pale garnet in color. The nose had bold raspberry and cola notes. Nice mix of fruit and acidity on the palate with red cherry, raspberry and a mineral notes that lingers. This wine is a very good example of a California Pinot Noir. Big and bold but not over the top. Excellent.

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 1:13 am  Comments (1)  
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2009 Wine of the Year

As we draw to the end of the year it’s time to start thinking about the best wines of the year. The wines are those that have been released in calendar year 2009 so mostly 2006 vintage with a few from 2005 and 2007. My top twenty wines will be a little different from most for a few reasons. First, the list will be dominated by red wines because that is what I prefer. I am sure there are many, many great white wines that should be on someones top list but I wouldn’t know because I don’t taste many if any of them. Second, the list will contain many new world wines. I don’t buy very many old world wines. The style I prefer is more new world so that is what I taste. Finally the wines on the list are wines that I have purchased with my hard-earned dollars or something that I have tasted at a wine event either as a guest or a paid attendee. I am not on lists like Colgin, Screaming Eagle and Schrader. I haven’t tasted these wines so I can’t very well offer an opinion except that they are overpriced no mater how well they are made or good they taste. I am your typical wine enthusiast who has a wine budget. No one is sending me wine to taste for free (one can dream however).

Wines 4-2 and the Wine of the Year

4. 2007 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – Huge wine. Currant, smoke and spice

3. 2006 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon – Dark toasted oak and blackberry aromas lead the way. Black currant, smokey tobacco, tar hints, fig  and dark chocolate add to the complexity. The finish has a very earthy note and is lingering. A nice balance of fruit and minerality.

2.  2007 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – Beautiful ruby red color. The nose shows oaky-woody spice notes as well as red red raspberry flavors. The mouth feel is in a sense lush which adds to the complexity because I found the fruit notes crisp and bright. Red, cherry, raspberry and spice hang on through the long finish that adds a hint of mineralitiy.

Wine Of The Year

2006 Delectus Cuvee Julia – Very dark purple all the way to the rim. The aromas are a wonderful mix of black currant, cherry and vanilla. Across the palate the fruit really shines with black cherry, plumb stew, and blackberry. There is a lot going on but everything in its place and working very well together. Simply outstanding.

2006 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Botella

Overall this Pinot is good but not great. It’s silky smooth but is slightly lacking in fruit. There are hints of tart Botellared berry flavors and a touch of spice. The finish is short and the tannins are still heavy on the end. The Botella vineyard has rich, well-drained clay loam soil.  The site features southern exposure and the cool microclimate of the Santa Ynez River canyon which is in the Santa Rite Hills AVA.

Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 1:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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2007 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

Beautiful ruby red color. The nose shows oaky-woody spice notes as well as red red raspberry flavors. The mouth feel is in a sense lush which addKosta Brownes to the complexity because I found the fruit notes crisp and bright. Red, cherry, raspberry and spice hang on through the long finish that adds a hint of mineralitiy. This Ponot Nior seems more elegan that the Russian River botttling from the 2007 vintage. It is a blend of four vineyards. Two of the vineyards, Dutton Manzana and Kanzler are located near the southern end of the Russian River Valley appellation at the upper end of the Petaluma Gap. The remaining two, Gap’s Crown and Terra de Promissio, are located in the southern portion of the Sonoma Coast appellation lying directly in the path of the Petaluma Gap’s cooling influence. Kosta Browne continues it’s string of excellent Pinot Nior’s from Sonoma.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2006 Martinelli Pinot Noir RRV

This Helen Turley made Russian River Valley Pinot Nior has a nice clear ruby red color. The nose is sweet raspberry and cherry. Across the palate it’s red fruit flavors carry over and add a good dose of mineral edge. The acidity is nicely balanced with the sweetness of the fruit. This Pinot is easy drinking and surprisingly polished for a $30 bottle.

Published in: on July 23, 2009 at 1:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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2006 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

kosta-browne_rrvThe nose was cherry, raspberry and spice box. The flavors were bold and forward with ripe raspberry, cherry and vanilla leading the way with a hint of savory herbs andcola on the finish which is long and enjoyable. A very strong effort. This wine is at it’s peak now so drink up. Kosta Browne consistently produces some of the finest Pinot Noirs from Sonoma County. Dan Kosta and Michael Browne began their journey into wine from the restaurant industry. They produce small lots of high quality Pinot Noir and source grapes from the many different vineyards in the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley AVA’s. As many as seven different vineyards contributed to the final blend of this RRV designated Pinot. It will be hard to find but worth the search.

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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2006 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Ten (Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills)

sea_smoke_ten_2006Dark ruby red color. The nose gives off hints of sassafras and rose petals Ripe red cherry flavors lead the way in the mouth with notes of strawberry, loam and white pepper. The finish is medium length with well integrated tannins hanging on all the way through. Well balanced for a medium to full bodied Pinot Nior. Excellent but expensive for most ($80). It will be interesting to see how the change of winemakers from Kris Curran to Don Schroeder affects the house style of these wines. The Santa Rita Hills (along with the Russian River Valley) produces some of the best Pinot Nior fruit in the state of California.

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2006 DuMOL Pinot Noir Ryan Green Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Green Valley)

Spicy wild-berry and raspberry on the nose. The flavors across the palate are wild-berry, cola and plumb. This wine is very well balanced with a nice minerality in the structure. The finish is long with the fine grained tannins hanging on all the way through. It’s an indulgence for most ($75)  and hard to find, but a must try if you want to experience artisan wine making in this class of California Pinot Noir. DuMol is at the head of the class when it comes to rich, complex and indulgent California Pinot dumol_ryanrs. These wines are crafted so they are worth the extra effort in finding them and the extra price on a special occasion.

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 12:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Top Wines of 2008 Part 4

As we draw to the end of the year it’s time to start thinking about the best wines of the year. The wines are those that have been released in calendar year 2008 so mostly 2005 vintage with a few from 2004 and 2006. My top twenty wines will be a little different than most for a few reasons. First, the list will be dominated by red wines because that is what I prefer. I am sure there are many, many great white wines that should be on someones top list but I wouldn’t know because I don’t taste them. Second, the list will contain many new world wines. I don’t buy very many old world wines. The style I prefer is more new world so that is what I taste. Finally the wines on the list are wines that I have purchased with my hard earned dollars or something that I have tasted at a wine event either as a guest or a paid attendee. I am not on lists like Colgin or Screaming Eagle. I haven’t tasted these wines so I can’t very well offer an opinion except that they are overpriced no mater how good they taste. I am your typical wine enthusiast who has a wine budget. No one is sending me wine to taste for free (one can dream however).

Wines 5-2

5. 2005 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

4. 2006 Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Sonoma

3. 2005 Pride Napa & Sonoma Counties Merlot

2. 2005 Merus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley