Browse Tag

pinot noir

I gotta Hanna to you

Hanna 2007 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) – Starts off a little tentative, but by the end it’s achieved a moderate, medium-weight appeal. Plums and somewhat dried berries, earth, and just enough structure…though that structure is a little prematurely resolved in this bottle, which may have seen some poor treatment along the way. Nonetheless, it’s pleasant. (11/10)

Don’t it make you wanna Colla?

Poderi Colla 2006 Langhe Pinot Noir “Campo Romano” (Piedmont) – A recent closeout, purchased for very few dollars due to the retailer’s belief that it was of dubious quality. Dubious is not inaccurate, but I’m not quite sure how to characterize the qualitative state of the wine as it is now. First, I’m not sure whether or not I’d peg this as pinot noir without knowing same…smelling it while looking at the label, there are some obvious signs in the form of gentle, sweetish-berry and leaf aromatics, but the color (despite a quick fade at the rim) is a bit darker than the already-progressing nose would indicate, and there’s a spiky, very slightly volatile stridency to the aroma that elevates a pineapple-ish stowaway as it evaporates. Structurally – and again, knowing what the wine is when I say this – it speaks more of the Langhe than the grape, with a not-green-but-far-from-soft tannin more reminiscent of dolcetto, or even nebbiolo in its simplest forms, than of pinot noir. There’s no lack of acidity, either…one’s palate is awash in reactive liquids from the first moment this wine is sipped. I can’t say I have much confidence in this bottle’s future, though of course as a closeout its provenance has not been assured, but I don’t know how much I embrace its present, either. Since I didn’t have it at release, it’s hard to say much about it’s trajectory, either. As it stands: a zippy mouthful of conflicted influences, recognizable as what it is and where it’s from, but also challenging those notions, and while tasty enough in need of a calming and/or masking food companion to tame its more brazen inconsistencies. (10/10)

Over Londer

Londer 2007 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) – Starts with the weird cola/candy thing that used to mar so many California pinots, but that has never been particularly common from the Anderson Valley. So that’s weird. It does eventually round into a sort of form, layering some metallic soils and a still-sweetish red fruit together, but while this is happing the wine flattens and loses some of its life. Not bad, but there’s still work to be done. (10/10)

A Duzer of a wine

Van Duzer 1999 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) – There was a time when I quite liked this house. And then there was a time where everything they made seemed wretched. This was from the first era, and though it has mostly clung and lingered rather than blossomed, it’s still not bad. A fair bit more menthololic and herbal than pinot noir of only eleven years should be, with all the stripped-down structure but few of the developed berry-leaf aromatics that one expects. Still, it’s pretty enough, in an overly freckled sort of way. Drink up, and soon. (10/10)

Haegelen, just a little bit

Haegelen-Jayer 1999 Nuits-St-Georges “1er Cru” Les Damodes (Burgundy) – Starts a little tentatively, then grows into its maturity. Soft, lavender-hued fruit and rich, tilled soil abound; the wine’s gentle, but there’s a strength behind it as well, though the muscles might not flex as they once did. Fully mature, but note the caveat: this bottle is a recent acquisition from closeout and so I cannot verify its provenance. (10/10)


Rippon 2001 Pinot Noir (Central Otago) – Still fruity (figs, mostly, which is an interesting place for a pinot noir to go), though there’s some concentrated plum hanging about as well. Tastes warm in the way New World versions of this grape often do, and about as mature as I think one would want it; tannins have fully softened but acids are not yet exposed. The finish, which hints at licorice but never quite gets there, is surprisingly long. This was a wine I underestimated when I tasted it at release, thinking it more simple-minded than it turned out to be. (9/10)

Or, chat high

Barthod 2002 Chambolle-Musigny “1er Cru” Les Chatelots (Burgundy) – Primary, still, with a New Zealandish aroma of beet-infused macerated berries, but then plunging down a rollercoaster of earthy aromatics and portended complexity. Young, still. No surprise there. (8/10)

Fromm here to eternity

Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – As mature as one would want it, I think. The berries, strong and lavishly-structured, have not fully developed into something more autumnal, but those equinoxal notes are present, the tannin is still a throb but no longer deadening, and there are baked and sunset aspects to both aroma and finish. This turned out not to be the ager I might have predicted (though this bottle is from a recent store closeout, and thus of doubtful provenance), but has turned out to reward what aging it has accomplished. (8/10)

Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – Almost exactly like the previous bottle, except with more fruit-to-underbrush development, and a more appealing texture. (8/10)