Tag Archive: Pinot noir


Albert Bichot’s Vieilles Vignes de Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, from Beaune France. This wine is mis en bouteille, estate bottled. It is a delightfully dusty cherry red fruit pinot noir, with excellent expressions of raspberries, earth, with a bright acid finish. This wine is beautifully round, red cherries, with red clay notes, and spicy, unsweetened cinnamon.

This would be a delightful pairing with roasted chicken, beef bourgogne, or even beef stroganoff.

Cristom’s MT Jefferson Cuvee 2013 is a beautiful deep earthy garnet. This pinot noir from the Willamette Valley is full of delicious dried cherries, raspberries, earthy mulch and old leather. This wine is full of beautiful, almost frosty red fruit.

This wine is a welcome companion to potato rounds fried in a little oil with thyme, and garlic. This would also be pleasant with roasted chicken in a cherry or raspberry reduction sauce.

While I don’t have any lovely poetry for this wine tonight, it might open into something really lovely, with roses.

P.S. I was right! This Pinot Noir opens up into bold roses, bright red, super ripe cherries, granny smith apple skins, and cinnamon bark and leather. I really enjoyed this wine after it had breathed and opened for an hour or so.

Chelsey brought in some fun German wines, to bolster our German portfolio. I tell you, it’s hard to find/hard to sell a German wine that isn’t a Gewurztraminer or a Riesling, though thanks to the swill, Liebfraumilch, it’s even harder to sell a varietally correct Riesling that doesn’t taste like syrup. Below are the following, worthy of note, so here’s hoping we’ll be able to bring the spiffy ones on!

“Armand” Riesling Kabinett 2014 by Reichsrat von Buhl: Amazing for a VDP Gutswein, with excellent white floral notes of freesia and lilies, green apples, ocean marble, green starfruit flesh, and an opening to almost orange cream-sicle and lychee. This would be a crowd-pleaser with such an abundance of fruit.

Wegner Stempel’s Weißburgunder 2014: Interesting to see a pinot blanc made in an almost Gewurztraminer fashion. seemed very gravelly, herbal, and structured with lava pumice rather than fruit. This wine is dry, austere, with popcorn kernels, celery, taragon, and the dusty pumice that threw it forward, like whiplash. I’m not a fan, but people might like it.

Schloß Lieser by Thomas Haag “Feinherb” SL Riesling 2014: Best balance of all the wines present. This wine is precisely what people would expect from a Riesling, with a rich round body, cantaloupe, pears and pineapple acid that has a little barb at the end hidden by green ferns.

Salwey Pinot Noir 2012

I saved the best for last. This Pinot Noir stole the show. I’ve never had a Pinot Noir from Germany, but man, this is wine makes me want to meet the maker. I would happily save to visit this winery, if indeed it were an accurate portrayal (who knows?). It is rich with dusty cherries, and reminds me of a frosty fall morning with bare feet on the wood floors, with a body of strawberries and whiffs of smoked meat. Can I purchase a case on pre-sale????

*Please keep in mind, these are the rough notes that I passed along to the boss. They’re not my standard review, nor did I spend as much time with these wines as I normally would have*

Pairing Dinner Results

The dinner went splendidly. Our guests seemed to have a lovely time, and said so a few times.

Notes: The sparkling pairings were a success. The Salmon pairing was interesting.

The Gruet Rose was dry enough that it cut through the goat milk mozarella’s creaminess. The tempered fruit paired with the fresh basil, and rather than overpower the tomato, it complemented it. I removed the seeds from each grape tomato half, so that they wouldn’t be messy, or contribute the bitter tanginess that we’re used to with that mouth-explosion.

The Sean Minor Pinot Noir: This central coast Pinot noir held enough fruit and body to stand on it’s own with the rosemary roasted salmon. It wasn’t over-powering, and the herbs and gentle meat went nicely with the earthiness and moderate fruit of the pinot noir. I woudn’t say it was a perfect match, by any means, but it was pleasing enough.

The Steele Aligote: I wasn’t pleased with this pairing for the salmon. It would have been better served with something that needed a higher acid wine. However, a few minutes to open up, and the Aligote was very nice with it. The pairing that was really neat, was that our guests really, REALLY liked the wine. It was interesting, an unfamiliar grape to them, and a great conversation starter. Once in awhile, I think you have to serve a wine that you know your guests will enjoy, not just one that will pair well with the food- which is why options are king.

SECCO Moscato: I learned from one of our guests that this wine is made by Charles Smith! It was a perfect pairing for the lemon cake with unsweetened strawberries and blackberries! I loved this match so much.

In recent trends, wines are showing up in cans. King’s Ridge, of Oregon, canned their hit wine, “Underwood” Pinot Noir. The wine itself is a delightfully standard pinot noir, but in a can? I haven’t had the pleasure yet.

A Truett Hurst account, C.A. Winecraft sent samples to George’s Distributing, and in turn, the boss sent me a four pack to try, and report on.

This was a fascinating disaster. These wines, and I use that term lightly, because there is actual “wine” in the cans, are more like soda. They are well packaged, in fun, artsy, sometimes vintage cans, with snazzy little sayings.

Ingredients: Wine, water, carbon dioxide, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and potassium metabisulfite.

1. “Chateau Vanille” Which was chardonnay and natural vanilla flavors. The drink fizzed like a soda, because of the injection of carbon dioxide, and tasted like sour vanilla.

2. “Nor-Cal Squeeze” Sauv Blanc with natural lemon flavors. This was the best of the worst. It smells like a lemon drop, and/or Pinesol. Second smell offered up strawberry candy. It’s not terrible, but it did give me an instant headache.

3. “Mataro’s Punch” Red wine with fruit flavors.”And in the Red Corner” was printed on the can. I was looking forward to trying Mataro, but wow, what a disaster. It tasted like cranberry sauce with a bad college wine spritzer. The CO2 hit my throat, and I gagged. After I got over that, the taste was…. still bad.

4. “The Sonoma Brew” “Red wine with natural cola flavor”, This wine wasn’t terrible, it was like a wine spritzer made with cola, instead of sprite or club soda. Like all of these drinks, it was overly sweet, and kind of disappointing.

I’d have liked to have liked these, it’s a fun can, at 160-170 calories a pop, great marketability, for picnics, and better yet, easily recyclable. Unfortunately, the marketers got ahead of the creators with this stuff.

CA Winecraft Cans

Second in the long list of future wine flights, is the Pinot Noir. While I have a hard time distinguishing between white wines, pinot noirs are much more easy to differentiate. Their personalities are more distinctive.

King’s Ridge Pinot Noir
This wine immediately has a cold weather taste to it, more hesitant in it’s greeting. It will warm up to you, but it opens with cold boysenberry juice and basil. As it warms in the glass, the King’s Ridge pinot noir becomes warm, earthy cinnamon, still with a winter edge, with blueberries, dried cranberries and woody roots. An impressive pinot noir indeed.

Lange Pinot Noir
The Lange pinot noir is the kind that I enjoy best. It’s a more masculine wine, with leather, wet folliage just after a rainfall, burned marshmallows, and licorice tea. It’s not the most complicated of wines, but it is lovely.

Elk Cove Pinot Noir
My least favorite of the flights, made big and syrupy for American tastes. There are cherry coke flavors, lavender and juniper. If you’re a fan of bigger wines, like American Zins, this pinot noir would be a good alternative.

Luli is a delicious line of creations by the Master Sommelier, Sara Floyd and the Pisoni Family. Coming from the Santa Lucia Highlands, this line of wines was the most consistently enjoyable group on the tasting table at work.
Luli Sauv Blanc 2014
The Luli Sauv Blanc surprised me. Normally, I can’t stand Sauvignon Blanc, but in this instance, it was absolutely enjoyable. It opened as grassy, with sun-warmed straw and alphalpha. It tastes of pale minerals, hints of lime, and is deliciously floral across the palate, and flies off the palate gracefully at the finish, leaving behind only a pleasant memory. This Sauv Blanc reads more like a pinot grigio personality.

Luli Chardonnay 2013
The Luli Chard is surprisingly fruity, with pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew. This wine smells like a basement I was once in, in Spokane Washington. That aside, it is refreshingly crisp, with a pineapple after taste and a well time finished. What impressed me about this wine, is how beautifully balanced it was. There was excellent fruit, but enough acid to even it out.

Luli Rose 2014
This rose wine is lovely in the glass, pale antique peach roses, with the smell of musty roses, pale iced strawberries and apricots, with possible peaches. Simple, but this rose is beautiful, refreshing, and exactly as it smells. This wine is perfect for Sunday summer afternoons.

Luli Pinot Noir 2013
This pinot noir is a beautiful garnet in the glass, smelling precisely like you’d expect a pinot noir to smell, and tastes just the same. It is leather, cold weather raspberries, red cherries that are just slightly cloying. This wine is a cold weather wine, and smells like the air just before it snows. The finish is nice, though the cloying cherries might be abated by a longer opening period.

This delightful Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California is deceptive. The price would tell you that it’s a simple, standard wine with no real personality other than the varietal. Boy, was I wrong. This wine may only be about $10.99 retail, but the age on it has opened it up to become a stunningly delicious earthy, welcoming wine. It opens with a warm leathery taste, that is followed closely by pommegranate, savory herbal notes, red cherries, forest floor of dry leaves and warm dirt. This wine is like an old friend. Sean Minor’s 4-Bears Pinot Noir is refreshing, comfortable, and a welcomed friend, but as with a returning friend, it’s nuances are different, never quite the same.
I really enjoyed this wine, and I’m hoping that it will pair well with my maple/garlic-rubbed steak and white asparagus.

Domaine Parent Bourgogne 2009 is an outstanding pinot noir with stunning cherries, blueberries, and layers of black plum. It has light leather engravings, and it smells like Moonlight Sonata made into wine. It’s slow and melancholy, for a romance, moonlight on the water, with sparkling cherries. Domaine Parent Bourgogne comes from Pommard, which is the only Cote d’Or town which has no Grand Cru Vinyards. This wine smells like heaven, and tastes better than any moonlight kiss.

Lange Pinot Noir 2010

Lange Pinot Noir is an actively bright fruity wine. It is distinctively pinot noir, but with giant cranberries and red cherries. It has dry wood quality with beautiful herbal notes. Through out this wine there is a feisty smokey quality that bulldozes through. This wine is a rugby player, rugged cranberry.