What is both crisp, fruity, a bit sour and a tad sweet – a Pomegranate and this ’09 Modus Pinot which has some fun traits that I’ve not recently seen in a Pinot. Jason (the winemaker) does some cool stuff with his bigger reds, but this was a great surprise that I really enjoyed.
This is the 2nd bottle of The Crusher that we’ve enjoyed – the first was in July 2011 and this is a great sequel. I really like Pinot Noir in the summer as it goes well with many foods that I prepare (tonight: red salt crusted pork loin chop and roasted asparagus with olive oil) and it doesn’t overpower it at all. Summer is great for whites, but I can’t drink white wine all summer; I get bored.
This is the first bottle we opened from our Winelibrary order (love that they ship to PA!). This Pinot from Jackhammer has grapes from each of the Central Coast counties (Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara) and is representative of all. For $14, this is a bargain as it’s tough to find a solid Pinot for much less than $25. This is a very full Pinot that reminds me more of a Tempranillo as it’s fleshy fruit is quite evident. It’s smooth without the earthy-ness that comes with the “traditional” pinots. Loved it!
We enjoyed this Pinot Nero at Osteria last week; Pinot Nero is the Italian Pinot Noir and this is from the Alto Adige region. This wine was very smooth, fruit forward and a light tannin finish. I’d say it was in the medium-dry range and complimented our dinner perfectly. Personally, I think Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile wines and in this case, pleased the multiple palates at the table.
On a side note, the vegetable antipasti at Osteria is amazing, especially the brussels sprouts, oven roasted tomatoes, julienned squash salad, and salt roasted beets. Other winners were the corn bolognese, skate wing, and the lemon & raspberry charlotte.
Just had this very cool named wine at Zavino (my favorite artisan pizza spot in Philly) and had this awesome Pinot Noir. Many Pinots are light and easy drinking – - this, however is a really full flavored one with blueberry, plum and creamy vanilla on the finish. I’m a fan and will look for it on the shelves at my local store…or on my next wine country trip.
Yes, it’s a long name for a vineyard specific wine, but this Arista Bacigalupi is a wonderful Pinot which showcases its Russian River home. We visited Arista on our December 2010 Sonoma trip, and it’s a must-do for anyone doing wine tasting in the Russian River Valley. Their wines are wonderful, across the board, people are welcoming, and the scenery is gorgeous.
We enjoyed this Pinot on Friday night with dinner at Caffe Casta Diva and this balanced, slightly fruit forward Pinot complimented our dinner well. There isn’t much in the way of earth undertones in this Pinot, but I found some mild raspberry and dark cherry; it’s on the richer side of Pinot and quite enjoyable. This was the last of our Sonoma trip Pinots…maybe it’s time to go back!
We had this Mietz Cellars Pinot Noir this week with a friend at a local BYOB. I purchased this as I wanted a versatile red for dinner and this fit the bill; I find Pinot Noir to be one of the most flexible reds out there. This Mietz Cellars Pinot is indicative of the Russian River style which I generally like. It’s light, a little fruity with some cherry notes and very reasonable as Pinot can be pricey. Enjoy this by itself, with some cheese or your favorite food.
On our visit to Sonoma, specifically, our stay in Healdsburg and the surrounding valley, our first stop was at Dutton Goldfield in Sebastopol. The staff was great and the wine really shines here. Their Pinot Noir is the star and this Sanchietti was our favorite of the bunch. It’s a bit floral (think rose garden) on the nose and then it opens up to a black-blueberry roundness without being too fruity. The thing we really like about the Sonoma Pinots is their lack of earthiness found in many other Pinots (especially those from the “old world”). I also find Pinots like this to be very food friendly without the ‘risk’ of taking away from that meal you’ve been working on all day. If you’re lucky enough to find the DG Pinot in a store near you, grab it; if you’re even luckier and your home state allows direct shipping – - order this one and see how patient you can be…
The view from the Gary Farrell tasting room is incredible and you can really take in the breadth of Sonoma from there. This Pinot takes me back to that visit and reminds me of the wonderful (non-earthy) pinots we had in the Russian River valley. I think this one is best described with a fruit analogy – it’s like a pomegranate meets a grape… This wine has the initial fresh tartness of the pomegranate and, well, it’s a wine, so you have to imagine a grape in there somewhere too. This pinot will go well with just about any food or just by itself too.
After some great wine in Napa, we headed up to Healdsburg for our maiden visit. We stayed there at the H2 Hotel which we really enjoyed (read my review on tripadvisor). Our visit yielded some wonderful Pinot Noir and some other great finds too. Sonoma County has a very different personality than Napa both in its wine and overall feeling; I recommend doing both.
- Dutton Goldfield: This was our first stop and the tasting room is relatively new. We started with a Chardonnay and as I expected, I wasn’t a fan which isn’t anything against DG, I just don’t really like Chard. The Pinot here is what brings in the rave reviews and you can see why. Also, Sarah in the tasting room was very helpful and provided some great vineyard and lunch suggestions as well. We visited most of the spots she recommended which proved fruitful.
- Merry Edwards: They welcome you into the winery version of a board room to do the tastings here. While they suggest reservations, we didn’t have one and they accommodated us completely. Their website suggests that you’ll receive an abridged tasting without reservations, but I can’t imagine trying anything beyond what we had. Either way, they are known for small production Pinot and offer many styles from relatively fruit forward to more dry and earthy. It’s hard not to find one you like. Their staff is friendly and is happy to answer your questions, but doesn’t shell out much information without inquisition. Definitely worth a stop.
- Marimar Estate: This quaint estate has a small tasting room pouring a nice variety of Pinot. Marimar Torres, the owner is from Spain where her family is also in the wine business. She’s been surrounded by it all of her life which is evident in the finished product. Their Pinot we enjoyed showed a wonderful balance throughout the palate. Their tasting room is pleasant, but had a bit of a strong push towards their wine club. Beyond that, it was a good spot.
- Arista Winery: Along a curvy road and up a hill, you’ll find Arista. This picturesque spot has a cozy tasting bar with space for about 10. The staff is welcoming, knowledgeable, and outgoing. Their wines were very enjoyable across the board and provided a nice variety of options throughout their tasting menu. Their small production allows them to keenly focus on their craft, yet still provide a reasonable price/value in comparison to other vineyards. A must go.
- Iron Horse: There was significant rain leading up to our visit, so we had to enter Iron Horse through their back entrance. This took us past their stables and down a single lane, unimproved road to a hilltop with a spectacular view. Their tasting room is completely outside with some propane heaters (like you’ll find at restaurants & bars) for the colder months. On our visit, it was pretty chilly and the single staffer struggled to keep up. She provided little information beyond the name of the champagne and minimal tasting notes, adding little value to our visit. Their claim to fame is that their bubbly was served during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit and hopefully it tasted different then. I’ve had my share of bubbly and this wasn’t my favorite or terribly remarkable – it was the one stop we made where we didn’t buy anything.
- Gary Farrell: Go for the view and stay for the wine. Gary Farrell produced a somewhat mass market Pinot that you may find at home, but the juice they pour (with a sensational view behind them) is unique to their tasting room. From a light Sau Blanc to their Zin, each choice showed the personality of the winery. Scott in the tasting room was great and also provided some solid restaurant recommendations in the Healdsburg area. More on our dinner soon.
- Bartholomew Park: A visit to wine country isn’t complete for us without a visit to Bart Park. We stopped here on our way to the airport the following day and bought 1 more bottle than we had spaces in our wine packer for. We found Bart Park originally on a recommendation from another winery who told us that “Bartholomew Park has the best Zin in the valley”. We couldn’t agree more which is why we stop by to try each Zin vintage. Their staff is great and each visit is always educational. Beyond Zin, their Cab, Syrah, and Merlot are also wonderful.