Showing posts from March, 2011

What does make California pinot noir special?

I was entertaining a little girl up in my room, lord
California wine and French perfume, lord
She started talking about the war, lord
I said, I don't want to talk about the war...
- Randy Newman (Lover's Prayer)

Why is it, recently, that every time I attend a wine symposium, a Fight Club breaks out?

Or so it seemed at both the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association's Pinot Paradise Technical Session this past Sunday (March 27), and RN74's In Pursuit of Balance Pinot Noir panel and tasting the following Monday in San Francisco.  The sad part is that both events involved pinot noir producers, who I've always though of as souls of sensitivity; or at least, knights of infinite resignation, given their difficult medium:  a grape that tests vignerons mightily -- one vintage giving wines as sweet and pure as Sissy Spacek, and another vintage giving wines that make you recoil in the Carrie of it all.  Does not trial and tribulation make one all the wiser?

Maybe not.  T…

As the pinot world turns

Finer American pinot noirs than ever dominate the 11th Annual World of Pinot Noir in Shell Beach...

March 4-5, 2011 – There were significantly more, and finer, pinot noirs than ever from the West Coast shown at 2011’s World of Pinot Noir. If anyone tells you differently? Tell them to take a hike...

The world of pinot, in other words, is spinning faster and faster. Two immediate observations:
The idea of “typically over-oaked” American pinot world is now, officially, a a thing of the past. Tasting through the ’06s to ’09s shown at WOPN, qualities of fruit focus and natural acidity now predominate across the board, with toasty or smoky nuances pretty much pushed into backdrops. It was especially pleasing to find wineries hitherto associated with oaky styles now pretty much on the same bandwagon.There’s been a lot of talk recently of the “high alcohol problem" of American pinot noirs (the sheening of American pinots?). Sure, recent warm or “ripe” vintages have given everyone cau…