Text Size:-+
06.29.2006

California's Best Pinot Noir: A Report From Pinot Days 2006

pinot_days_logo.gifWell folks, I'm here to tell you. The 2005 vintage of Pinot Noir in California looks to be an excellent one. It's taken me three days to recover from, and two days to write up my notes on the second ever Pinot Days festival held here in San Francisco. Last year's event was the first of its kind in San Francisco, and it was also pre-Sideways phenomon. It was also somewhat tranquil and low key.

That has all changed now, of course. This past Sunday's grand tasting held at Fort Mason reminded me of nothing so much as the ZAP Festival, where every year, bemused and horrified, I get to watch hundreds of San Francisco wine lovers mill about in excitement, confusion, and (as the day goes on) deeper and deeper states of drunkenness.

If anyone needed any confirmation that Pinot Noir is hot right now, all they needed to do was try to get to the Kosta Brown table for a taste of wine between 2pm and 3:30 PM when those guys poured the very last drop of everything they brought. I swear, people were stacked up 6 deep most of the day.

I would definitely have taken pictures of that, as well as other stuff, but I forgot my camera. Sorry. If you really want to see what it looked like, my friend and winemaker Sasha has some photos up on his site.

Of course the crowds aren't the only indication that Pinot Noir is the next hot thing in California. While it may never replace Cabernet both in popularity or sales figures, it is certainly starting to approach it in price.

This shit is getting REALLY expensive.

Here are a few statistics to underscore the fact that you really have to be pretty well off (or willing to spend a lot of your money) in order to afford the top bottlings of Pinot Noir in California:

  • Average price of the 200-some wines I tasted on Sunday: $43

  • Median price of the 200-some wines I tasted on Sunday: $45

  • Average price of the wines I rated 9/9.5 and above: $46

  • Of all the 200+ wines I tasted the number that were UNDER $30 per bottle: 24

  • The number that were over $50 per bottle: 53

    Of course, my intent here is not to bash anyone. It's just a fact of the market. But it certainly makes it tough to be a Pinot lover with a budget. Heck, Pinot Noir might even be a good investment!

    For those who are price conscious, I've pulled out the wines that I think are the best values in my scores below.

    If there is one important take-away from this grand tasting, which looks to be getting grander every year, it is that there is more good Pinot Noir being made in California than ever before, and it continues to rise in both quality and diversity. Miles would be pleased.


    TASTING NOTES:
    Note that unless otherwise specified, the wines are all Pinot Noir from California. I have noted the subappellation wherever possible. Some prices I simply forgot to ask, others have not yet been determined by the wineries.

    Finally, since I seemed to get asked every time, this represents most of the wines I tasted (i've left off a few wines that would have fallen off the bottom of this list), but despite tasting over two hundred wines, I got to only about half of the wines that were probably there. I can't get to everyone so I'm sorry if I missed your table (if you're a winemaker) or your favorite producer (if you're a regular reader).


    TOP VALUES:
    2004 Calera Wine Company Central Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $22.
    2004 Windy Oaks Estate "Estate Cuvee" Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 9. Cost: $22.
    2004 Hitching Post Wines "Cork Dancer". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $26.
    2004 Costa de Oro Winery Estate "Gold Coast Vyd," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $24.
    2004 Tudor Wines "Radog". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $22.
    2004 Aubin Cellars "Verve," Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5. Cost: $24.


    ALL WINES:

    2003 Anne Amie Vineyards "Yamhill Springs Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9.5. Cost: $45.
    2002 Calera Wine Company "Jensen Vineyard" Mt. Harlan. Score: 9.5. Cost: $53.
    2001 Calera Wine Company "Mills Vineyard" Mt. Harlan. Score: 9.5. Cost: $40.
    2004 Chasseur Wines "Freestone Station Vineyard" Russian River Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $55.
    2004 Chasseur Wines "Joyce's Vineyard" Sonoma Coast. Score: 9.5. Cost: $55.
    2003 Clos Saron "Home Vineyard," Sierra Foothills. Score: 9.5. Cost: $45.
    2003 Copeland Creek Estate, Sonoma Coast. Score: 9.5. Cost: $??.
    2002 Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery "Fort Ross Vineyard Reserve," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9.5. Cost: $49.
    2002 Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery "Symposium" Sonoma Coast. Score: 9.5. Cost: $37.
    2003 Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery Pinotage, Sonoma Coast. Score: 9.5. Cost: $37.
    2004 J. Wilkes "Bien Nacido Vineyards Hillside" Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $38.
    2004 Martinelli Winery "Bondi Home Ranch" Russian River Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $50.
    2004 Native9 Wine "Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $48.
    2004 Papapietro Perry Winery "100% Pommard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Sea Smoke Cellars "Southing". Score: 9.5. Cost: $50.
    2005 Siduri Wines "Ewald Vinyard". Score: 9.5. Cost: $45.
    2005 Siduri Wines "Pisoni Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9.5. Cost: $45.
    2005 Siduri Wines "Clos Pepe Vineyard". Score: 9.5. Cost: $45.
    2003 Tandem Winery "Silver Pines Vineyard," Sonoma Mountain. Score: 9.5. Cost: $54.
    2004 Tantara Winery "Brosseau Vineyard," Chalone AVA. Score: 9.5. Cost: $52.
    2003 Windy Oaks "Estate Reserve," Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 9.5. Cost: $42.
    2004 Woodenhead Russian River Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $35.
    2004 Woodenhead "Wiley Vineyard," Anderson Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $46.
    2004 Woodenhead "Morning Dew Ranch," Anderson Valley. Score: 9.5. Cost: $46.

    2005 A.P. VIN Garys' Vineyard (barrel Sample), Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $46.
    2005 A.P. VIN Keefer Ranch Vineyard (Barrel Sample), Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $46.
    2003 Anne Amie Vineyards "Hawk's View Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2003 Anne Amie Vineyards "Laurel Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Arista Winery "Longbow" - Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $38.
    2002 Calera Wine Company "Reed Vineyard," Mt. Harlan. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
    2003 Calera Wine Company "Ryan Vineyard" Mt. Harlan. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $40.
    2004 Chasseur Wines "Sylvia's Vineyard" Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $55.
    2005 Clos Saron "Home Vineyard," Sierra Foothills (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Copain Wine Cellars "Kiser Vineyard En Bas". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $50.
    2002 Davis Bynum Winery "Lindley's Knoll Vineyard". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $55.
    2003 Davis Bynum Winery "Lindley's Knoll Vineyard". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $60.
    2004 Eno Wines "Fairview Road Ranch Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $35.
    2005 Eno Wines "Fairview Road Ranch Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $35.
    2004 Failla Winery "Keefer Ranch," Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $42.
    2003 Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery "Fort Ross Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $37.
    2004 Freeman "Keefer Ranch" Green Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Freeman "Akiko's Cuvee". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
    2004 Halleck Vineyard "Three Sons Cuvee," Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $38.
    2003 Hamel Wines "Campbell Ranch Annapolis", Sonoma Coast. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $28.
    2004 Holdredge Wines Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $32.
    2004 Holdredge Wines "Wren Hop Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $38.
    2003 Inman Family Wines "Olivet Grange Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2005 Inman Family Wines Russian River Valley Pinot Gris. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $25.
    2003 J. Wilkes "Bien Nacido Vineyards Block Q," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
    2004 J. Wilkes "Solomon Hills Vineyard". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $38.
    2005 Kosta Browne "Koplen Vineyard" (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $??.
    2005 Kosta Browne "Garys' Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $??.
    2005 Kosta Browne "Keefer Ranch," Green Valley (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $??.
    2005 Jamie Kutch Wines (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $??.
    2005 Loring Wine Company "Clos Pepe Vineyard," Santa Rita Hills (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
    2005 Loring Wine Company "Garys' Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands (barrel sample). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
    2004 MacRostie Winery "Wildcat Mountain Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $40.
    2004 Martinelli Winery "Zig Tony", Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $50.
    2004 Melville "Carries". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $52.
    2004 Morgan Winery "Double L Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $55.
    2004 Morgan Winery "Garys' Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $50.
    2004 Papapietro Perry Winery Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $39.
    2004 Papapietro Perry Winery "Peters Vineayard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Porter Creek Vineyards "Reserve" Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $60.
    2004 Porter Creek Vineyards "Hillside Vineyard" Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $60.
    2004 Roessler Cellars "Kanzler Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Saintsbury "Lee Vineyard," Carneros. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Siduri Wines "Olivet Grange Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2003 Skewis Wines "Salzgeber-Chan Vineyard" Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $40.
    2003 Skewis Wines "Bush Vineyard" Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $42.
    2003 Skewis Wines "Montgomery Vineyard" Anderson Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $??.
    2004 Stephen Ross Wine Cellars "Bien Nacido Vineyard," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $35.
    2004 Stephen Ross Wine Cellars Edna Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $28.
    2003 Tandem Winery "Van der Kamp Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
    2003 Tandem Winery "Auction Block," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $54.
    2004 Tantara Winery "Bien Nacido Vineyard Old Vine," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Tantara Winery "La Colline Vineyard" Arroyo Grande Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Tantara Winery "Rio Vista Vineyard," Santa Rita Hills. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $52.
    2004 Tantara Winery "Pisoni Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $60.
    1997 Tantara Winery (First bottling of Pinot Noir). Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $n/a.
    2004 Tantara Winery "Silacci Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $??.
    2004 Tudor Wines Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $39.
    2004 Vision Cellars "Cole Ranch". Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $65.
    2003 Woodenhead "Wiley Vineyard," Anderson Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Woodenhead "Buena Tierra Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $46.
    2003 Domaine Serene "Evenstead Reserve," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $52
    2003 Chehalem "Reserve," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $60

    2005 A.P. VIN Rosella's Vineyard (Barrel Sample), Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9. Cost: $46.
    2004 Ancien Wines, Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $38.
    2004 Ancien Wines "Fiddlestix Vineyard", Santa Rita Hills. Score: 9. Cost: $48.
    2004 Ancien Wines "Red Dog Vineyard," Sonoma Mountain. Score: 9. Cost: $42.
    2003 Anne Amie Vineyards "La Colina Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2000 Arcadian Winery "Rio Vista Vineyard". Score: 9. Cost: $55.
    2004 Arista Winery, Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $28.
    2005 August West "Rosella's Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands (Barrel Sample). Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2004 Auteur "Hyland Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2003 Bernardus Vineyards and Winery "Rosella's Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Bernardus Vineyards and Winery "Rosella's Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Bernardus Vineyards and Winery "Ingrio's Estate Vineyard" Carmel Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $75.
    2004 Calera Wine Company Central Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $22.
    2004 Clos Saron "Home Vineyard," Sierra Foothills. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    1999 Clos Saron "Estate Vineyard," Sierra Foothills. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2004 Copain Wine Cellars "Kiser Vineyard En Haut". Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Failla Winery "Hirsch Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $48.
    2004 Freeman Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $35.
    2004 Hamel Wines "Campbell Ranch Annapolis", Sonoma Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $30.
    2004 Handley Cellars Anderson Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $28.
    2004 Hirsch Vineyard and Winery, "Hirsch Vineyards," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $60.
    2004 Hitching Post Wines "Santa Rita Earth," Santa Rita Hills. Score: 9. Cost: $35.
    2004 Hitching Post Wines "Fiddlestix," Santa Rita Hills. Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Hitching Post Wines "Highliner," Santa Barbara County. Score: 9. Cost: $40.
    2004 J. Wilkes "Bien Nacido Vineyards Block Q," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $??.
    2004 J. Wilkes "Bien Nacido Vineyards" Pinot Blanc, Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $18.
    2003 Joseph Swan Vineyards "Saralee's Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $30.
    2003 Keller Estate "La Cruz Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $.
    2004 Keller Estate "La Cruz Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $.
    2005 Kosta Browne "Rosella's Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands (barrel sample). Score: 9. Cost: $.
    2005 Loring Wine Company "Keefer Ranch Vineyard," Russian River Valley (Barrel Sample). Score: 9. Cost: $48.
    2004 Denis Mortet "Mes Cinq Terroirs" Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy, France. Score: 9. Cost: $75.
    2003 Michel Gay Chorey-les-Beaune, Burgundy, France. Score: 9. Cost: $30.
    2003 Miller Wine Works "Hellenthal Vineyard". Score: 9. Cost: $33.
    2004 Morgan Winery "Rosella's Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2002 Mueller Winery "Emily's Cuvee," Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $38.
    2005 Nicholson Ranch Rose of Pinot Noir. Score: 9. Cost: $??.
    2003 Nicholson Ranch "Cactus Hill Reserve". Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2005 Olson Ogden Wines Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $35.
    2003 Patz & Hall Wine Company "Alder Springs," Mendocino. Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Pey-Marin Vineyards "Trois Filles," Marin County. Score: 9. Cost: $36.
    2004 Cargasacchi Santa Barbara County. Score: 9. Cost: $44.
    2004 Porter Creek Vineyards "Fiona Hill Vineyard" Russian River Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $34.
    2004 Roessler Cellars "Sanford & Benedict Vineyard," Santa Rita Hills. Score: 9. Cost: $46.
    2004 Roessler Cellars "La Brisa," Sonoma Coast. Score: 9. Cost: $28.
    2003 Roessler Cellars "Savoy Vineyard," Anderson Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $42.
    2003 Saintsbury "Brown Ranch Estate Bottled," Carneros. Score: 9. Cost: $60.
    2004 Saintsbury Toyon Farm," Carneros. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2004 Siduri Wines "Van Der Kamp Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
    2005 Siduri Wines "Shaw Mountain Vineyard". Score: 9. Cost: $39.
    2003 Skewis Wines "Demuth Vineyard," Anderson Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $35.
    2003 Skewis Wines "Floodgate Vineyard," Anderson Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $??.
    2004 Sonnet "Tondre's Grapefield," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9. Cost: $36.
    2003 Tandem Winery "Sangiacomo Vineyard". Score: 9. Cost: $38.
    2004 Testarossa Vineyards "Palazzio". Score: 9. Cost: $34.
    2004 Testarossa Vineyards "Bien Nacido Vineyard," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $54.
    2003 Tolosa Winery Estate. Score: 9. Cost: $28.
    2003 Tolosa Winery "1772 Barrel Select". Score: 9. Cost: $52.
    2004 Vision Cellars "Rosella's Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Vision Cellars Sonoma County. Score: 9. Cost: $28.
    2004 Windy Oaks Estate "Diane's Block" Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 9. Cost: $37.
    2004 Windy Oaks Estate "Estate Cuvee" Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 9. Cost: $22.
    2001 Bethel Heights "Nysa Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9. Cost: $30
    2004 Elk Cove "Wind Hill Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9. Cost: $36
    2003 Patton Vineyards "Estate," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9. Cost: $30
    2002 Lange "Cancilla Vineyard," Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 9. Cost: $60
    2003 Bercher "Barrique Reserve," Germany. Score: 9. Cost: $38

    2004 Ancien Wines, Carneros. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $34.
    2001 Arcadian Winery "Gary's Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $55.
    2005 August West "Graham Family Vineyard". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $42.
    2004 Bernardus Vineyards and Winery "Bien Nacido Vineyard," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $34.
    1999 Clos Saron "Texas Hill Vineyard," Sierra Foothills. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $45.
    2004 Copain Wine Cellars "Hein Vineyard". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $50.
    2004 Costa de Oro Winery Estate "Gold Coast Vyd," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $24.
    2003 Fiddlehead Cellars "Seven Twenty Eight," Santa Rita Hills. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $38.
    2004 Freeman Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $35.
    2003 Handley Cellars Anderson Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $28.
    2003 Hartford Family Winery "Seascape Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $60.
    2004 Hitching Post Wines "Cork Dancer". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $26.
    2004 Inman Family Wines "Olivet Grange Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $42.
    2002 Joseph Swan Vineyards "Trenton Estate Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $45.
    2003 Joseph Swan Vineyards "Trenton Estate Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $45.
    2005 La Rochelle Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $44.
    2004 Londer Vineyards "Estate Grown". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $46.
    2004 Londer Vineyards "Paraboll". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $52.
    1999 Leroy "Les Serpentieres" 1er Cru, Savigny-les-Beaune, Burgundy, France. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $93.
    2004 Melville "Terraces". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $52.
    2002 Miller Wine Works "Hellenthal Vineyard". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $32.
    2004 Morgan Winery "Twelve Clones," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $32.
    2003 Mueller Winery "Emily's Cuvee," Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $38.
    2003 Nicholson Ranch Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $??.
    2004 Nicholson Ranch "Estate". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $32.
    2005 Cargasacchi Santa Barbara County. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $44.
    2004 Roessler Cellars "Griffins Lair Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $45.
    2004 Saintsbury "Stanly Ranch," Carneros. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $45.
    2004 Sojourn Cellars "Sangiacomo Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $42.
    2004 Stephen Ross Wine Cellars "Aubaine Vineyards". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $40.
    2004 Tandem Winery "Keefer Vineyard," Green Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $42.
    2003 Thomas Fogarty Winery "Rapley Trail Vineyard - Block B" Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $65.
    2004 Tudor Wines "Radog". Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $22.
    2004 Ponzi Willamette Valley, Oregon. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $32
    2003 Dr. Heyden "Estate Reserve," Rheinhessen, Germany. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $30

    2002 Arcadian Winery "Fiddlestix Vineyard". Score: 8.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 Aubin Cellars" Verve," Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $30.
    2004 Aubin Cellars "Verve," Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5. Cost: $24.
    2004 Beauregard Vineyards "Trout Gulch Vineyards," Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 8.5. Cost: $45.
    2003 Bernardus Vineyards and Winery "Bien Nacido Vineyard," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $34.
    2003 Donum Estate Carneros. Score: 8.5. Cost: $60.
    2002 Fiddlehead Cellars "Lollapalooza," Santa Rita Hills. Score: 8.5. Cost: $58.
    2004 Hartford Family Winery Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5. Cost: $35.
    2004 Hug Cellars "Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard," Santa Maria Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $43.
    2001 Joseph Swan Vineyards "Trenton Estate Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $45.
    2004 La Rochelle Winery "San Vicente". Score: 8.5. Cost: $38.
    2004 Londer Vineyards Anderson Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $30.
    2004 Londer Vineyards "Keefer Ranch," Green Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $42.
    2004 MacRostie Winery Carneros. Score: 8.5. Cost: $28.
    2004 Danjean-Berthoux "Clos de Cras Long" 1er Cru Givry Rouge, Burgundy, France. Score: 8.5. Cost: $24.
    2004 Melville "Estate". Score: 8.5. Cost: $28.
    2004 Miller Wine Works "Kendric Vineyard". Score: 8.5. Cost: $35.
    2004 Moshin Vineyards Russian River Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $28.
    2005 Sojourn Cellars "Sangiacomo Vineyard," Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5. Cost: $42.
    2004 Testarossa Vineyards "La Cruz Vineyard" Sonoma Coast. Score: 8.5. Cost: $54.
    2004 Klaus Moliter Pinot Noir, Rhinegau, Germany. Score: 8.5. Cost: $21

    2004 Clary Ranch Wines, Sonoma Coast. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $50.
    2003 Robert Stemmler (Donum Estate) "Nugent Vineyard," Russian River Valley. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $40.
    2004 Hagafen Cellars "Estate Bottled" Napa Valley. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $32.
    2004 Hug Cellars "Orchid Hill Vineyard," Paso Robles. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $27.
    2005 La Rochelle Winery Rose of Pinot Noir. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $18.
    2004 Laetitia Winery "La Colline Vineyard". Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $60.
    2004 MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $20.
    2004 MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $35.
    2004 Kooyong Massale, Australia. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $26.
    2004 Sonnet "Kruse Vineyard," York Mountain. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $36.
    2003 Thomas Fogarty Winery "Rapley Trail Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $50.
    2005 Tolosa Winery Central Coast. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $18.
    2004 Vision Cellars "Garys' Vineyard," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $48.

    2002 Arcadian Winery "Sleepy Hollow Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 8. Cost: $45.
    2004 Hope & Grace Wines "Sleepy Hollow Vineyards," Santa Lucia Highlands. Score: 8. Cost: $??.
    2005 Laetitia Winery "Estate". Score: 8. Cost: $22.
    2004 Laetitia Winery "Les Gulets Vineyard". Score: 8. Cost: $60.
    2003 Thomas Fogarty Winery "Rapley Trail Vineyard - Block M" Santa Cruz Mountains. Score: 8. Cost: $65.

    2003 Bink Wines "Weir Vineyard," Yorkville Highlands. Score: 7.5/8. Cost: $40.

    Comments (15)

    meetingsr4alkoholiks wrote:
    06.29.06 at 5:38 PM

    dear author,
    last year's pinot days was post-post-sideways.

    06.29.06 at 5:41 PM

    Wow, I forgot that you had that the day after our dinner. I could barely move--I have no idea how you managed to get up and go to a big wine tasting.

    Anonymous wrote:
    06.29.06 at 5:47 PM

    JB,

    Yes, you've busted me. The festival last year happened about 6 months after the movie hit the theaters in San Francsico. My recollection, though, is that the buzz, and the effect on the wine industry hadn't quite hit. On the other hand, I could have just had one too many glasses.

    Lenn wrote:
    06.29.06 at 7:25 PM

    Alder...you are a rock star. To taste ALL THOSE WINES the day after tasting all the wonderful wines the night before...nicely done.

    I wish I could have joined you...it would have been a great time, but, we ended up dining at Zuni Cafe after a day at Ferry Plaza and watching bits of the Pride parade.

    Alder wrote:
    06.29.06 at 7:29 PM

    Lenn, Derrick,

    It's a rough job, but someone's gotta do it. I slept as late as I could after our 13 bottle night and hydrated like hell.

    Alder

    Mariëlla wrote:
    06.30.06 at 3:36 AM

    Wow, I'm deeply impressed. First of your stamina, second of the prices mentioned. We will have to bring big full wallets next year when we come to California (since we are Pinot lovers) ;-).

    caroline m. wrote:
    06.30.06 at 4:57 AM

    i'm so glad to see you tasted the siduri wines. i recently had the siduri sonoma coast at a restaurant here in atlanta and really loved it; but i can't find it anywhere in the stores here. . i'll have to keep looking.

    Alder wrote:
    06.30.06 at 8:16 AM

    It occurs to me that I should mention that my statistics about the prices are not entirely representative of the complete Pinot Noir market at the tasting. This is because I did not go to a random sampling of producers, I heavily targeted the ones I knew were good. This is also why my scores are not a nice bell curve of lots of bad ones along with lots of good ones.

    So it's entirely possible that I guided myself to mostly higher priced wines.

    Just thought I'd point that out for complete transparency.

    Yes, the Siduri wines were some of the better ones I've tasted from them. Their stuff is usually decent, but these were excellent.

    Rick Dobbs wrote:
    06.30.06 at 10:55 AM

    That has to be the most hardcore wine post of any blog this year. Nice freaking work man.

    As far as Pinot being an investment, I'm torn. Yeah, it's good stuff, but all of this zealotry has to die down at some point, doesn't it?

    Lindsay wrote:
    06.30.06 at 11:57 AM

    Alder,

    Nice list, and while I appreciate the fact that you weren't bargain hunting, the pricing is a bit steep. Oh well, being somewhat of a contrarian, it might be good to explore the fine merlots on the market today.

    BTW, with long lists like this one, why don't you just head each group with your score and skip the individual score listing. Might save some space.

    wineguy wrote:
    06.30.06 at 1:47 PM

    A very well-done report. You obviously have a great deal of stamina to taste all those wines and remain coherent throughout.

    GregP wrote:
    06.30.06 at 10:04 PM

    Alder,

    I'll bet Copeland Creek is Sonoma Coast, the vineyard is in Penngrove area in the Petaluma Gap, and Kosta Browne vineyard designates were all barrel samples (to be bottled next year).

    Greg

    Ruth wrote:
    07.06.06 at 8:24 AM

    I guess it was hard to make it to all the tables without the benefit of a tradetasting this year at Pinot Days. I wonder why they changed that.

    Anonymous wrote:
    07.06.06 at 11:24 AM

    I got tired just reading it. Zow! I was afraid this year would be hectic, which is why I stopped going to ZAP and Family tastings. My loss I'm sure. The other by-product to high retail Pinot prices is the difficulty in finding affordable decent bottles at restaurants. Mostly bad pinot at high prices.... Will this make corkage an even bigger problem? Or will I just drink more beer when going out?? (Don't count on it!)

    Carter wrote:
    07.23.06 at 8:02 AM

    Incredible job on posting those tasting notes. Very useful. Keep up the good work.

    If someone would like to see some photos from Pinot Days visit http://www.foodnotebook.com/blog/2006/04/pinot_days_a_great_way_to_lear.html

    Comment on this entry

    (will not be published)
    (optional -- Google will not follow)
    Yes
     

    Type the characters you see in the picture above.

  • Pre-Order My Book!

    small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

    Follow Me On:

    Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

    Most Recent Entries

    Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014 Earthquake Rattles Napa Harvest NIMBY Versus Vineyard in Malibu Vinography Images: Precious Droplets MORIC: The Apogee of Blaufränkisch

    Favorite Posts From the Archives

    Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

    Archives by Month

     

    Required Reading for Wine Lovers

    The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.