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08.25.2012

Tasting Notes from the 2012 International Pinot Noir Celebration


Thumbnail image for al_fresco.jpgThe International Pinot Noir Celebration is perhaps my favorite tasting event that I attend each year here in the U.S. Held on the bucolic grounds of a small college in a little town in Oregon's Willamette Valley, the event always manages to get just about everything right. It offers great food, fantastic wines, and interesting lectures all wrapped up in a very casual, relaxed atmosphere that simply makes it a joy to attend.

I've already posted some of my coverage of the 2012 event (here and here) but now it's time to get down to the wines on offer. As you might imagine, an event billing itself as IPNC does offers myriad opportunities to taste wine. Every meal involves many bottles of wine, of course -- from the lunches and dinners on the lawn, to the embarassment of riches brought by the attendees of the Salmon Bake which concludes the weekend. And of course, there are the Al Fresco tastings.

In the afternoons, under the shade of some massive trees, thirty or forty producers pour their wines on the lawn. Each brings only one or two wines, so the tastings are a leisurely stroll, with the added benefit that you can spit on the ground instead of fighting for spit buckets. There are few things more idyllic than wandering around outside on a gorgeous day, tasting excellent Pinot Noir.

I collected and collated my notes for many of the best wines I tasted over the weekend. There are some random white wines and a single rosé thrown in the mix below, but mostly these are a whole lot of really good Pinot Noirs.

Enjoy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10
2008 Fougeray de Beauclair "Bonnes Mares Grand Cru" Morey St. Denis, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of exotic spices, cranberry and mulberry. In the mouth the wine has exceptional power, with amazing floral and berry flavors - mulberry, cherry, wet earth and a deep stony minerality. Exceptionally pure, powerful, and balanced. Utterly remarkable. Made from the tiny parcel of this Grand Cru that is actually part of the Morey St. Denis appellation. Cost: $175. click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2009 Brittan Vineyards "Gestalt Block" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of green herbs, bright flowers, and wet dirt with a hint of stemmy red berries underneath. In the mouth flavors of wet dirt and green herbs encase a pure core of raspberry and other forest berry fruit that is fantastically bright and juicy. Great acidity makes the mouth water as this wine sings through a long finish. Fantastic. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2009 Cristom "Jessie Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Eola Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine has a remarkably floral nose of raspberry and wet earth aromas that leap out of the glass. In the mouth electric raspberry fruit explodes across the palate thanks to phenomenal acidity. Forest floor, in all its dark piney earthiness envelops the palate as the fruit sings high and true through the finish. Great length, utterly compelling. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2009 Hanzell Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma, California
A perfect bright ruby color in the glass, this wine offers intense floral and raspberry aromas to lift out of the glass. In the mouth the wine has a coiled intensity with darker earth flavors and bright raspberry fruit that vibrates like a struck crystal glass. Fine grained tannins add structure to the overall picture, and the wine hums its vibratory chord through a long finish. Fantastic. Cost: $80. click to buy.

2010 Peay Vineyards "Pomarium Estate" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Pale garnet in color, this wine has a sweet nose of raspberry and floral aromas. In the mouth the wine tastes like quartz crystals dipped in raspberry essence. An aromatic sweetness suffuses the wine even as it crackles with electric, crystalline acidity. Fantastically mineral, bright, and refreshing, it lingers for a long time in the mouth. Wow. Cost: $54. click to buy.

2006 Domaine Lecheneaut "Les Damodes" Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright aromatic flowers and raspberries -- its perfume leaping out of the glass. In the mouth, gorgeous cherry, cedar and raspberry flavors have a bright, crystalline, even saline quality to them. Deeper earthy notes and well integrated oak all swirl together in a beautifully balanced package that all but bowls me over. Fantastic. Cost: $90. click to buy.

2005 Sineann "Whispering Ridge Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the the glass, this wine smells of mouthwatering brown sugar, cedar, and cherry aromas. In the mouth this wine is smooth as hell -- sexy, seductive, and throaty. Flavors of bright cherry and caramel cavort across the palate, swimming in a river of silk through to a long finish. Balanced and swoon-worthy. Cost: $??.

2007 Domaine Fourier "1er Cru Clos St. Jacques" Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of phenomenal forest floor, raspberry, and exotic woods and spices. In the mouth the wine has an incredible texture, with bright raspberry and forest floor flavors, that morph to cherry and even darker earth notes. Lovely fine grained tannins linger through a long finish. Stupendous. Cost: $350. click to buy.

2002 Domaine Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of forest floor and pine duff with a smoky balcony meaty goodness that immediately begins the mouth watering in anticipation. In the mouth raspberry and redcurrant mix with forest floor, and are dusted with earthy tacky tannins. Smooth and bright, this wine embodies a tension that is quite compelling, urging another sip to watch it unfold again across the palate. Exceptional. Cost: $100. click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2009 ADEA "Cherry Grove Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Bright light garnet in the glass, this wine offers bright raspberry aromas that have a gorgeous sweetness to them. In the mouth that pure raspberry character remains the core of the experience, with fantastic acidity making the flavors juicy and delicious. Fine grained tannins linger along with the pure fruit through a long finish suffused with aromatic sweetness. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2009 Brooks "Janus" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a wonderfully floral nose of green herbs and raspberry aromas. In the mouth bright fruit flavors of raspberry have a wonderful texture and extraordinary acidity and fine grained tannins to support a beautifully balanced wine. Delicious. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2009 Chehalem "Reserve, Ridgecrest" Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine has an herbal nose of raspberry and cherry fruit aromas. In the mouth bright raspberry fruit is juicy against a foil of fresh and dried herbs spread over a bed of dark wet earth. The finish lingers long, with a crispness of fruit that is quite compelling. Delicious. Cost: $59. click to buy.

2009 Cornerstone Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of brown sugar, raspberries and cedar. In the mouth, the wine offers strong raspberry flavors with juicy acidity and a hint of earth to keep the wine from being too fruit driven. Long finish. Very pretty. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2009 Domaine Charles Audoin "Les Longeroies" Marsannay, Burgundy, France
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of flowers, herbs, raspberries and wet wood. In the mouth bright raspberry flavors meld seamlessly with wet wood and wet earth. Freshly chopped herbs make an appearance amidst the acid-driven juiciness of the wine, as do fine-grained tannins. Lovely. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2010 Alloro "Riservata Estate" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of pure, sweet raspberry fruit -- very pretty aromas. In the mouth that raspberry combines with cedar, wet stone, and forest floor flavors to make a beautiful mélange of flavors that have a tartness and brightness to them thanks to very nice acidity. Tacky tannins grab at the edges of the mouth and promise some softening over time. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2010 Chamisal "Estate" Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, Central Coast, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of pure, sweet raspberry fruit. In the mouth that fruit quality continues with a remarkable clean crystalline quality that is breathtaking. Wonderfully smooth textured and sexy, with fine grained tannins and excellent acidity. Good finish. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2010 Luminous Hills "Estate" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of floral and raspberry aromas. In the mouth the wine has a remarkable aromatic sweetness as raspberry and a hint of dark earthy flavors swirl across the palate. Great acidity makes everything lively while the forest floor component gives the wine depth. Very pretty and delicious. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2010 Patricia Green Cellars "Estate Old Vine" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
A bright cloudy ruby color in the glass, this wine smells of the purest raspberries and wet stones. In the mouth bright raspberry flavors explode across the palate with a stony, crystalline intensity that is breathtaking. Great acidity and a very long finish round out this truly delicious package. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2010 Red Car Wine "Heaven & Earth" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
A light cloudy garnet in the glass, this wine smells of huckleberry and raspberry. In the mouth it is exceedingly soft, supple, and silky. Bright redcurrant flavors are tart and juicy and linger through a refreshing finish. Excellent. Cost: $65. click to buy.

2010 Red Car Wine "Estate" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
A pale cloudy garnet color in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and wet stones. In the mouth it is exceedingly stony, with bright granitic flavors of sour cherry, raspberry, and redcurrant. These flavors, along with the deep mineral undertones linger long in the finish. Fantastic acidity. This is the first vintage of this wine, and man, what a debut. Outstanding. Cost: $65. click to buy.

2010 Domaine Huber Verdereau "Robardelle" Volnay, Burgundy, France
Pale garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries, wet stones, and just the perfect hint of barnyard that gives it a bit of complexity without making it stinky. In the mouth, raspberry fruit has a deep stony character and juiciness thanks to great acidity. The tannins are a bit stiff, but that will no doubt improve over some time, and a deep forest floor earthiness lingers through the wine's long finish. Delicious. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Domaine Pavelot "1er Cru Les Serpentieres" Savigny les Beaune, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of floral, raspberry, and wet stone aromas. In the mouth flavors of wet stone, and citrusy raspberry fruit are bright and clear thanks to great acidity and wonderful minerality. Delicious. Cost: $48. click to buy.

2010 Fougeray de Beauclair "Clos Marion" Fixin, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of tart redcurrant and wet stones. In the mouth juicy and tart redcurrant flavors dance over a streambed of stony, liquefied rock. A hint of oak lends a tiny bit of woodiness to the wine, but mostly it's juicy, stony fruit. Delicious. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2008 Fougeray de Beauclair "Clos Marion" Fixin, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass this wine has a wonderfully bright nose of raspberry and cherry aromas. In the mouth, bright fruit is balanced by minerality as raspberry and wet earth flavors come alive with lovely acidity. Faint tannins and gorgeous balance. Excellent. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2009 Peay Vineyards "Scallop Shelf" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet raspberry and cherry fruit with a hint of floral notes and spices. In the mouth, the wine has a bright spiciness with a bright cherry and raspberry character mixed with cedar and a nice earthy undertone. Faint tannins, good acidity. Long finish. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2010 Fougeray de Beauclair "Clos Saint Jacques" Marsannay, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells intensely of pine duff or forest floor. In the mouth that forest floor character comes through in spades, with bright redcurrant and raspberry fruit that bounces joyously in the background. Fantastic acidity and a lovely lightness on the palate. Very pretty. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2006 Maison Ambroise "Vieilles Vignes" Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark raspberry, forest floor, and wet stones. In the mouth, black raspberry, forest floor flavors have a dark mystery to them. The wine is dusted with light tannins, and a wet stone quality emerges in the lovely, long finish. Quite enthralling. Cost: $65. click to buy.

2006 Felton Road "Block 5" Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet dirt, herbs, and bright cherry fruit. In the mouth, raspberry and forest floor flavors swirl with a dark resonance that is quite compelling. Great acidity makes the wine quite delicious and easy to drink. Faint tannins hover at the edges of the mouth for a long time. Yum. Cost: $65. click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2009 Alexana "Revana Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry with a hint of sweet oak. In the mouth the wine is juicy, and has a crystalline quality with a hint of sweetness as a core of raspberry dusted with faint tannins lingers through a nice finish. Cost: $42. click to buy.

2009 Boedecker Cellars "Athena" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet raspberry fruit. In the mouth, bright raspberry and cherry flavors are draped with a thin skein of tannins and counterpointed by a wet dirt and mineral aspect to the wine that is quite compelling. Long finish. Cost: $34. click to buy.

2009 Capitello Wines "WV" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of spicy cedar with a hint of red fruits. In the mouth, a nice texture and flavors of raspberry and cherry are supported by taut tannins and great acidity. The wine lingers long in the finish.. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2009 Craggy Range "Te Muna Road" Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries and mixed herbs. In the mouth darker earth flavors sit underneath a top layer of raspberry fruit that is dusted with light tannins. Good acidity and finish. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2009 Lange "Three Hills Cuvee" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry and cedar. In the mouth the wine has a clear, bright, crystalline fruit that is touched with oak. Raspberry and cherry dominate, wrapped in tacky tannins that seem to have an herbal quality about them, Good acidity keeps the wine bouncy and juicy. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2009 Hamacher Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of flowers and sweet raspberry fruit. In the mouth that sweet fruit character continues with faint tannins that lightly caress the bright core of raspberry and cherry. Good acids. Very tasty. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Anne Amie "Winemaker's Selection" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of floral, cedar, and raspberry aromas. In the mouth woody flavors of raspberry bounce along under a blanket of mouth coating tannins that have a muscularity to them. Earthy notes emerge as the wine lingers on the tongue. Good acidity, moderate finish. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2010 Archery Summit "Looney Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of burnt match heads, cherry and raspberry aromas. In the mouth stiff tannins surround a core of quite pretty raspberry and earth flavors that have a remarkable stony undertone. This is a wine that needs some time in the bottle. Cost: $85. click to buy.

2010 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand
A cloudy medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry, raspberry, and wet stones. In the mouth the wine offers stony, bright raspberry fruit and tannins that begin faint but grow in strength as the wine lingers through its finish with herbal and wet stone notes. Tasty. Cost: $42. click to buy.

2010 B Kosuge "Hirsch Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry, cherry and cedar. In the mouth the wine has a smoothness to it with cherry and cranberry flavors and what appears to be a faint sweetness that is quite pretty. Cedary, stony notes linger with a hint of dirt through the finish. Good acidity. Yum. Cost: $54. click to buy.

2010 Bergstrom "Bergstrom Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of burnt match heads and raspberries. In the mouth flavors of cedar, wet stone, and forest floor eventually give way to a core of juicy raspberry fruit that is quite lovely. Great acidity and nice length. Cost: $82. click to buy.

2010 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cranberry, with a hint of something funkier underneath. In the mouth the wine is stony and bright with a core of cranberry cocktail fruit, fine grained, faint tannins, and a long finish. Cost: $43. click to buy.

2010 Colene Clemens "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of lavender and raspberry. Remarkably the lavender aroma translates into flavor as well, accompanying the juicy raspberry fruit and light tannins. The finish has a greenish stemmy note at the end. Bright acidity. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2010 Felton Road Pinot Noir, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of burnt match heads and raspberries. In the mouth the wine is juicy and silky with flavors of raspberry, earth, black tea, and green herbs. The finish is long and bright. Faint tannins. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2009 Handley "RSM Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of burnt match heads, raspberries and a hint of barnyard aromas. In the mouth lively flavors of raspberries are accompanied by a wet dirt and forest floor darkness that is quite pleasing. The tannins are leathery and the acids are bright. Cost: $52. click to buy.

2009 J Vineyards "Nicole's Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light garnet in color, this wine has a sweet floral nose of sweet oak and berry aromas. In the mouth the wine offers pliable but muscular tannins that wrap around bright huckleberry and raspberry flavors. The wine has a pretty, and long, finish. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2009 Kingston Family Vineyard "Alazan" Pinot Noir, Casablanca, Chile
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of lavender and red berries. In the mouth cherry and raspberry flavors are intense, and they have just a whiff of alcoholic heat, but stony notes and faint tannins give the wine complexity, as good acidity gives it lift and juiciness. Cost: $32. click to buy.

2010 La Crema "Russian River" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherries and raspberries. In the mouth the wine has a cleanliness and clarity to it, with juicy raspberry brushed with light tannins. There's a freshness to the wine that is compelling. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2009 Robert Sinskey Vineyards "Four Vineyards" Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, California
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of bright raspberry and cherry aromas. In the mouth the wine has a liquid stone quality to it -- juicy cherry and wet rocks make for a yummy combination that has just a touch of alcoholic heat on the finish. Exceptionally drinkable nonetheless. Cost: $60. click to buy.

2010 Talley Vineyards "Estate" Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, Central Coast, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cherries. In the mouth bright raspberry fruit is encased in supple tannins. The whole wine has a light sweetness to it that is pleasant, and it offers nice acidity. Cost: $36. click to buy.

2005 Domaine Charles Audoin "Les Longeroies" Marsannay, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass this wine smells of cherry and wet dirt with a nice floral note. In the mouth powdery tannins wrap around flavors of cherry, black tea, wet earth, and a lovely sour cherry finish. Good acidity. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2007 Broadley "Claudia's Choice" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar, cherry, and some floral notes. In the mouth the wine offers cherry, red apple skin, and cinnamon flavors. One of the most striking aspects of the wine is its lovely texture. Long finish. 13.5% alcohol. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2005 Scott Paul "Cuvée Martha Pirrie" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of wet dirt and cranberries. In the mouth, wet dirt, cranberry and raspberry fruit mix with a deep mineral note that is quite compelling. Good acidity, and a lovely rumbling earthy quality make the wine quite drinkable. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2002 Domaine Michel Lafarge "Les Caillerets 1er Cru" Volnay, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of forest floor and dusty roads. In the mouth, wet dusty road and forest floor flavors have an undertone of red berries and wet stone. Rustic and pretty with great acidity. Cost: $125. click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2009 Bethel Heights "Casteel Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet wood, cherries and wet dirt. In the mouth flavors of cherry and raspberry mix with a wet dirt undertone touched by new oak and lively with good acidity. Cost: $60. click to buy.

2010 Broadley "Jessica" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine has a stemmy nose of greenish wood, green herbs, and raspberry fruit aromas. In the mouth raspberry fruit is wrapped in tacky tannins and green herb flavors. Earthy notes emerge even as the fruit becomes pure and lingers through a long finish. Good acidity. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Evesham Wood "Le Puits Sec" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pale garnet in the glass, this wine smells of strawberry and raspberries. In the mouth bright redcurrant, strawberry and other berry flavors bounce happily on a streambed of stony minerality. Light tannins. Cost: $36. click to buy.

2010 Ghost Hill Cellars "Bayliss-Bower" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine has a sweet floral scent to it, with berries sweeping in behind. In the mouth, pleasant raspberry flavors have a floral character to them, along with taut tannins and a stony underbelly. Cost: $42. click to buy.

2010 Quartz Reef Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries, cedar, and wet stone. In the mouth bright raspberry and cherry fruit meld with a stoniness, along with alcoholic heat as the wine finishes. Pretty fruit, however, and decent balance apart from the bit of heat. Will probably improve with time. 14% alcohol. Cost: $32. click to buy.

2009 Ransom Wines "Selection" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of stemmy green herbs and a hint of fruit. In the mouth, lightly tacky tannins surround pretty flavors of raspberry, wet earth and stone. Good acidity. Cost: $24. click to buy.

2010 Rex Hill "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth that flavor combination continues, wrapped in leathery tannins and a hint of earth. Tasty. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2010 Rex Hill Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of faint barnyard aromas along with raspberry fruit. In the mouth raspberry fruit is wrapped in fleecy tannins and buoyed by good acidity. Cherry notes drift into the long finish. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2007 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, flavors of raspberry and cherry are juicy and lively thanks to good acidity. Lacks some complexity, but definitely pleasurable and tasty. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2009 Domaine Charles Audoin "Clos de Jeu" Marsannay, Burgundy, France
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and pomegranate with hints of raspberry. In the mouth, tart raspberry and sour cherry fruit mix with a nice stony note and a floral quality that emerges in the finish. Faint tannins and great acidity. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2010 Felton Road "Block 5" Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and wet earth and wood. In the mouth the wine has a softer, earthy character, with darker cherry fruit. Softer acids than I might like, but pretty fruit. Cost: $75. click to buy.

2004 Broadley "Claudia's Choice" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass with a hint of browning at the rim, this wine smells of wet dirt and dark cherry. In the mouth, deep wet dirt flavors and powdery tannins wrap around the cherry core of the wine. Darker and resonant. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2002 Maison Champy "Champs Piemonte 1er Cru" Beaune, Burgundy, France
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of melted brown sugar, raspberry, and sawdust. In the mouth, sawdust, wet earth, lightly drying tannins, wrap around a faint red berry core that peeks through the dark dirt notes, with nice acidity. Cost: $??.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2009 Averill Creek "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Vancouver island, British Columbia, Canada
Medium garnet in the glass this wine smells of dried cherries and dried herbs. In the mouth cherry and herbs have a slightly dry and tired quality to them, though the wine offers good acidity and is quite drinkable. Cost: $60.

2010 Maison Ambroise "Vieilles Vignes" Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells a little of farmyard, and a lot of forest floor. In the mouth the farmyard plays a greater role, to the point of being a bit stinky, but the fruit shines brightly through, with raspberry and cherry. Good acidity, but there may be more than a little Brettanomyces involved here. Not enough to completely ruin the wine, but it is slightly funkier than it should be. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2010 En Route "Les Pommiers" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a sweet raspberry and cherry aroma. In the mouth that sweetness is fairly pronounced to the point of being a bit excessive, though the raspberry and cherry fruit is quite pretty. Good acidity, light tannins. Cost: $62. click to buy.

2009 ROCO "Private Stash" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells primarily of dried fruit -- cherries and raspberries. In the mouth cedar flavors mix with sweet, tacky tannins and more dried cherry fruit. Good acidity saves the wine, but the tannins dry the mouth in the moderate finish. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2009 Chehalem "Reserve, Ridgecrest" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, floral notes, and licorice. In the mouth the wine offers cherry, cedar, and raspberry fruit with decent acidity, and a high toned alcoholic quality that leaves the wine slightly unbalanced. Light tannic structure, decent texture. 14.2% alcohol. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2008 R Stuart & Co. "Temperance Hill" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and redwood bark. In the mouth, cherry and black raspberry flavors mix with sawdust and wet earth. The wine has a darker, riper character, but is not dried or raisined. Decent acidity. Cost: $60. click to buy.

2009 Talley Vineyards "Rincon" Pinot Noir, Edna valley, Central Coast, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry, black cherry, and cedar. In the mouth the wine has a light sweetness to it with flavors of cherry, black raspberry, and a hint of cedar. Decent acidity, but lacks the complexity and lift that would elevate it above merely good. Cost: $58. click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2009 Panther Creek Cellars "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of brown sugar and caramel, with a hint of farmyard. In the mouth flavors of raspberry, and a bit too much new oak sweep across the palate with a vanguard of light tannins. Good acidity but on balance, significantly too much new oak. Cost: $60. click to buy.

2009 Witness Tree "Hanson Vineyard " Pinot Noir, Eola-amity hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried fruits, green herbs, dusty road, cherry and cranberry. In the mouth, candied cherry and cranberry flavors mix with a light sweetness and notes of green herbs. Short finish, perhaps a bit too sweet. 14.5% alcohol. Cost: $48. click to buy.


PINK WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2010 Antica Terra "Erratica" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pale orangey ruby in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and raspberry and wet stones. In the mouth raspberry and hibiscus and orange peel flavors mix with an interesting and distinctive tang while mineral notes hang in the background. Unusual. Cost: $??.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2008 Maison Ambroise Cote de Nuits Villages Blanc, Burgundy, France
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of toasted nuts and candied lemon rind. In the mouth, the wine has a bright saline quality to it and delivers fantastically fresh flavors of candied lemon rind, wet stones, and toasted sourdough bread. A long piney finish is electric with bright acidity. Wow, especially for just a blended village wine. Cost: $??.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2009 Domaine Pillot "1er Cru Les Ruchottes" Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy, France
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon and resiny toasty sourdough goodness. In the mouth, bright lemony resin flavors mix with a crystalline wet stone quality that is as stalwart as the notes of white flowers also present are ethereal. Very long and very pretty. Cost: $60. click to buy.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2010 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay Blanc, Burgundy, France
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and wet stones. In the mouth, flavors of wet stones and white flowers mix with rainwater essence for a delicate and bright concoction that is exceptionally drinkable. Good acidity. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2010 Domaine Huber Verdereau "En Dressolles" Meursault, Burgundy, France
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet stone, lemon zest, and rainwater. In the mouth rainwater, lemon zest, and deep wet chalkboard quality linger through a long finish. Sharp acidity and the slightly tannic quality of wet slate leave this wine a bit austere, but definitely tasty. Cost: $??.

2008 Et Fille "Deux Vert" Viognier, Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of apricots and peaches. In the mouth, juicy apricot fruit mixes with nice minerality and a hint of chamomile. Very pretty, with a tart bright finish. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2005 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Blanc, Burgundy, France
Palest gold in the glass, the wine smells of toasted sourdough, roasted nuts, and candied lemon rind. In the mouth the wine offers resiny candied lemon peel flavors with notes of parchment, roasted nuts, and dried mango. Nice acidity. Cost: $30. click to buy.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2009 Cloudy Bay "Te Koko" Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apple, gooseberries, and green grass. In the mouth the wine has a light sweetness, with flavors of gooseberry, passionfruit, and green apples. There's a tangy, sour green plum finish. Tasty. Cost: $50. click to buy.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2010 Antica Terra Roussanne, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium gold in the glass, this wine smells of pears and candied pineapple. In the mouth pineapple and wet stone flavors have a sharpness to them and a hint of bitterness that doesn't pair well with the ripe fruit. Macerated for 12 days on the skins. An interesting, if perhaps slightly less successful experiment. Cost: $??.

Comments (3)

08.27.12 at 2:48 PM

Thank you for including us in your tasting notes from the 2012 IPNC. I just wanted to point out real quick that there is an error in the pricing listed for our wine. The 2010 Bayliss-Bower Pinot Noir sells for 442/btl and will be available to the public later this year. Our current release is the 2009 vintage. The price and the link that you are using is for our white wine - the 2010 Pinot Noir Blanc. Thank you!

Vino Pete wrote:
08.27.12 at 5:21 PM

Alder,

Excellent post!

I really enjoyed your concise tasting notes. So much so, that I printed everything out and will be using this as a guide for Pinot Noir tasting on my own.

Have you read Rex Pickett's second novel "Vertical"? I am about halfway through it. This time the destination is the IPNC of all things!

cheers,

Pete

Tara Lidell wrote:
09.23.12 at 4:08 PM

Wow! That was a great article and can't wait for next year's event as I will be out in that part of Oregon and will taste some of their pinot noir myself! I loved reading your blog and will return when I have more time - thanks!

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