May 26, 2007

Recently, Rusty Gaffney (PinotFile) and I blind tasted (wines are bagged to avoid label bias) 18 Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs. Always instructive, and frankly at times even a bit humiliating.

  • 2005 McPhail Toulouse Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Ripe cherry, strawberry and rhubarb nose, with hint of citrus. Ripe, yet seemingly balanced. A bit too sweet for my tastes.
  • 2004 Jeriko Pinot Noir - Mendocino Co.
    Faint nose of cherry, earth and herbs. Light ripeness, with a dark berry flavor, off-sweet mouthfeel, bit of acid throughout.
  • 2005 La Crema Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Nose of cherry, rhubarb, and citrus, with a nice earthy funk back note and some floral accents. Off-sweet mouthfeel, nice balance. More seductive in nose than mouth.
  • 2004 Gryphon Larklinn Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Lightly funky, earthy, bit of mushroom and perfume. Off-sweet mouthfeel, bit bitter in fruit, tannic, seems almost acidified with its vitamin C quality.
  • 2004 Londer Estate Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Nose of orange blossom, perfume, rose petal. Slightly sweet mouthfeel, obvious but balanced acids, with interesting minerality.
  • 2005 McPhail Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Nice citrusy nose, hints of caramelized sugar and cinnamon, melded with a bit of earth and loam. Slightly sweet and a bit tannic, but quite nice.
  • 2005 Drew "Fog Eater" Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Lightly candied nose, with hints of perfume. Seems rich, deep and earthy with a good swirl. Touch of rose stem in mouthfeel, very nice balance, and long finish.
  • 2004 Goldeneye Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Quite earthy in its background notes, with light spice and vanilla. Nice mouthfeel, but seems a bit short of chew fruit, yet finishes very long.
  • 2004 Baxter Toulouse Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Sweet and spicy dark cherry. Smell like is has some age on it (old vine?).Nice balance of everything - spice, earth, acids, though a bit piercing on the long finish.
  • 2004 Harmonique "Noble One" Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Almost mute nose, with faint whisps of dark cherry and earth. Good off-sweet fruit nice balance, very long finish. Okay, but much going on here.
  • 2005 Brogan "My Father's Vineyard" Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Noce of orange blossom, rose stem, floral notes, citrus. Lovely mouthfeel and taste, with chewy dark fruit, excellent balance, very long finish, and marvelous aftertaste.
  • 2005 Black Kite Estate Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Nose of sweet spice, deep dark fruit and vanilla. Tasty mouthfeel, nice fruit and balance.
  • 2004 Londer Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Nose of citrus, wild strawberry, brown spices, and rose stem - lovely! Sweet mouthfeel, nice cherry fruit, very good balance and finish. Quite nice - if a bit monolithic.
  • 2005 Migration Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Dark cherry, strawberry and pink grapefruit in the nose. Touch sweet and chewy in mouthfeel, tasty, slightly ripe forward flavors, somewhat short finish.
  • 2004 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Elegant, with notes of pink grapefruit, cherry, and spice. Great balance, delicious flavors and mouthfeel, and very long finish.
  • 2005 Adrian Fog Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Nose of pink grapefruit and bing cherry, slightly pungent density. Tasty mouthfeel, mouthwatering acids, very long finish.
  • 2003 McPhail Toulouse Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    RSlightly overripe in the nose, with sweet spicy red fruit and citrus. Appears to get better with time, but medicinal quality then takes over. Flavors and taste profile seems fine, but picks of a bite on the finish.
  • 2004 Woodenhead Wiley Vineyard Pinot Noir - Anderson Valley
    Lovely off-sweet dark fruit with candied citrus rind. Nice round and open for business in mouthfeel, very good balance, and long finish.


May 3-5 , 2007
(HdR photojournal)

Attended the 15th annual HdR over this weekend. As usual, I will have a full report out in the near future. In the meantime, here were some of the festivities.

Arriving on Wednesday for the 15th annual event, we started off the evening with an offline wine dinner at Ristorante da Gaetano. Pinot Noir was the theme, and we had a table full. Thursday was the Syrah shootout, followed by yet another offline dinner.

Thursday was the Syrah Shootout, essentially a competition between winemakers for bragging rights about who had the best Syrah entered in a blind tasting challenge. This, of course, was followed by yet another offline dinner.

Friday begins the main event, two morning seminars, followed by a sumptuous lunch, and followed by a library and pre-auction tasting. Friday's dining options include a sponsored "dine-around" event, in which attendees can sign up for winery-sponsored dinners at specific restaurants.

Saturday continues the festivities with two more seminars, another lunch during the fabulous auction, and finally the grand tasting. This is always an event not to be missed!

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