Saturday my beau and I went to the weekly tasting at San Diego Wine Company. On deck for this tasting was a nice selection of Pinot Noirs. None were from Burgundy, in fact all were from either California or Oregon with two of them awarded 90+ points from Wine Spectator. The wines were, in order of presentation:
Willakenzie 2006 Pinot Noir: From the Willamette Valley comes a nice little Pinot, a good opener showing traditional nose of earth, red cherries, just a hint of coffee and plum. Slightly thin, good fruit and nice acidity with a balanced, fruity slighly short finish.
Kali Hart 2007 Pinot Noir: A California wine from Monterey County, part of the Talbott Vineyards family of wines, we have a Pinot Noir that was a little darker than the Willakenzie (and a year younger). Strawberries on the nose, sour fruits (cherry and strawberry) in the mouth with an almost strawberry jam finish. Very fruity compared to the Willakenzie.
Au Bon Climat 2007 "Santa Barbara": This is Jim McClendenen's entry-level Pinot. Pretty nose, hints of chocolate and red fruits but I have to say while a decent wine I expected a little more. Lighter bodied than I had expected, good acidity but short on fruit delivery.
O'Reilly's 2007 "Oregon" Pinot Noir: Sadly, I got almost nothing off of this wine. not very deep in color, a little fruit on the nose but it was very faint. Not much delivery, a brief flash of taste rapidly evaporating away
Daedalus 2006 "Willamette Valley": Dark chocolate and coffee are heavy on the nose and almost overpower the fruit. A bit more body the most of the others, this wine delivers some sour cherry and cranberry with tight tannins and some good acidity.
Stephen Ross 2007 "Central Coast": My partner really liked this one and it was an excellent value. Darkest wine thus far in the line up, fuller bodied than the others. Nice strawberries and hints of chocolate good acidity and soft tannins with a medium-length finish. A fine Pinot Noir for the price (offered at $15.95).
Bogle 2007 "Russian River": Bogle is a good producer, offering drinkable wines at an excellent price and this is no exception. The nose was almost floral with hints of cherry and a little cocoa (my partner swore caramel but I'll hold with cocoa). Good body, nice fruit delivery with balanced acidity and tannin with a touch of spice on the finish. This with the Ross make two very fine affordable Pinots.
Elke 2006 "Anderson Valley" Donnelly Creek Vineyard: Earthy nose (which I tend to like, reminds me of Burgundy) with underlying ripe red fruits. Medium bodied, soft tannins, decent acidity with just a touch of spice on the finish. At over 14$ alcohol seemed to run a little hot compared to the rest of the contenders (they should check with Fess Parker on how to do it a little better though this was not a bad wine at all).
Roessler 2007 "Sonoma Coast" La Brisa: This wine was rewarded 92 points from Wine Spectator. Good depth of color, pretty nice with solid red fruits (red currant and cranberry) and a hit of chocolate. The taste is very fruit driven with tight tannins leading to a medium-long finish.
Laird 2007 "Carneros" Ghost Ranch: My favorite and a 93 point Wine Spectator wine, this wine is the first Pinot Noir from the Laird family property at Ghost Ranch and what an offering. The nose is toasty spice, strawberry and chocolate. Excellent combination of fruit, acid and tannins ending in a long, delicious finish.
So for nice wines that won't break the bank go for the Bogle or Stephen Ross. If you want an excellent Pinot Noir splurge an extra $10 and get the Laird.