09 March 2012

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Here are a few wine notes from a month ago that I'd neglected to turn into posts. Nothing wrong with the wines--in fact, I really enjoyed these. But sometimes you get caught up with other things, and sometimes you want to wax nostalgic about your Scouting days, and sometimes you're more in the mood to write about cooking.

I don't review every wine that I taste, though that was the goal of the blog in the first two years. And I slogged through it with notes and links and prices on everything I tasted, which was kind of crazy since I was mainly going to free tastings on weekends and reviewing 10-20 wines per post. Now I write about far fewer wines but spend more time with them. Perhaps during my 10th anniversary year I'll just write about one wine a month, but it will be some legendary, rare vintage plucked out of a cellar in Bordeaux. A fella can dream, can't he?

2008 Foley Chardonnay Rancho Santa Rosa
Sta. Rita Hills, California
$30, 14.4% abv.
Honey and vanilla with a touch of coconut. Firm acidity, long finish. A surprisingly tropical Chardonnay with an excellent use of oak. While tasting it I found myself wishing that it was summer and that I had some Thai food in front of me. The aromas on this wine are not too strong, but it is a very fun wine to let novices sniff while they try to figure out what those elements are in their glass of white wine.

2009 Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir
$12, 13.5% abv.
Firm tannins but still smooth and creamy. Strawberry with slight leather and smoke. This is a bargain Pinot Noir without a lot of complexity, but it works well. I enjoyed it with leftover turkey sandwiches during the holidays, and the combination made for a pair of delightful weekend lunches.

2009 Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir
Martinborough, New Zealand
$40, 14.4% abv.
This one probably deserved its own post, but I did recently get the opportunity to try two other wines from Craggy Range. This dignified Pinot Noir was fascinating with a solid body and great red berry flavors. Elements of spice and a hint of raspberry seed, medium tannins, and firm acidity. As it opened up, floral and additional spice aromas were present. Even though it was two years old at the time, I still felt that it was not quite ready. In a few years this should be spectacular. I'm not an expert on aging and cellaring, but if you do enough verticals and early release samples from established winemakers, you start to figure out the differences between a "drink now" wine and a "arrggh... why didn't I hold onto this for half a decade?" wine. Which means that if you're thirsty now, you might want to be on the lookout for any surviving bottles from 2004, and set this vintage aside for enjoying during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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