It seems to me that there are really two types of Pinot Noir being made in California now. The first is a more tart, peppery, herbal wine that has a balance of fruit (like berries and bing cherries) and acidity that can often include notes of clove, eucalyptus, smoke, pine, etc. These are wines that pay homage to the Burgundy forebearers of everything Pinot Noir.
The second is a newer style of more extracted, forward fruit. These are wines that are rounder on the palate, juicier, and in addition to larger bouquets, generally have more undertones of rasberry, thimbleberry, and red currant.
I like both of these styles when done well, and the 2001 Flowers Sonoma Coast is definitely in the first category — a classic, smooth Pinot that was a delight to drink. It is easy to understand why this wine never even sees the outside of the Flowers tasting room and private mailing list before being completely bought up.
The wine is brilliant ruby red, and velvety and smooth on the tongue with a nice tartness that speaks of some acidity. Its a moderately strong wine (14.2%) but there is not a ‘hot’ finish to the wine that would be present in a poorly made Pinot. Instead there is a lovely lingering taste of smoky eucalyptus and redcurrant. The only thing that I can find wrong with this wine is that it does not have much of a nose. I wasn’t drinking from a particularly great glass, which may be part of the problem, but the aromas in the glass didn’t match the complexity in the mouth.
We had a few glasses with some home made foccacia bread with artichokes and red onion and a roasted pepper and chickpea cold salad, and the wine was a wonderful balance against the hearty bread and the balsamic vinaigrette of the salad.
Overall score: 9.0
How much?: $43
I bought my bottle through Porthos, but it looks like they are currently out of stock. If you can get your hands on this anywhere, I highly recommend it. It’s clear that this wine will cellar for a long time (5-8 recommended by the vintner).