Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 30, 2016

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a few maturing Oregon Pinot Noirs that are settling quite nicely into a groove; a few newer California Pinots that can be drunk now or put away for a while; and some modestly priced Nebbiolos from Roero that are worth checking out.

Finally, I got my first taste of some Pinots from a very small family estate in Sonoma’s Green Valley that are solidly made and will appeal to many.

Enjoy!

2014 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch – Freestone Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and pomegranate. In the mouth, cranberry and pomegranate flavors mix with earthy notes and light, tacky tannins. Excellent acidity keeps the fruit bright and lingering through a moderate finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $67. click to buy.

2014 Dutton Goldfield “McDougall Ranch” Pinot Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries and earth and bramble. In the mouth, bright raspberry and sour cherry flavors have a thrilling juiciness thanks to excellent acidity. A faint leathery tannic texture lingers in the mouth along with citrus notes. Excellent. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $??

2014 Dutton Goldfield “Azaya Ranch Vineyard” Pinot Noir, , Marin County, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cranberry fruit. In the mouth, cranberry and raspberry flavors have a crystalline purity to them and an incredibly juicy citrusy snap thanks to fabulous acidity. Faint tannins brush the edges of the mouth and tongue. Still quite young and primary, this wine will age beautifully. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $58. click to buy.

2010 Cascina Ca’Rossa “Mompissano Riserva” Nebbiolo, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
Light ruby in color, this wine smells of strawberry jam and dried flowers. In the mouth, strawberries, dried flowers, and dried herbs mix against a backdrop of stiff tannins and rumbling notes of earthiness. Excellent acidity. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $??

2010 Cascina Ca’Rossa “Audinaggio” Nebbiolo, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of licorice and strawberry jam. In the mouth, grippy, muscular tannins close in a tight fist around flavors of strawberry, dried flowers, and cherry. Excellent acidity makes this wine quite delicate and pretty, but the tannins need some time to calm down. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2012 Erath “Prince Hill” Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry and cherry. In the mouth, smooth cranberry and cherry flavors are silky on the palate and bouncy with excellent acidity. Good length and purity, with a kick of citrus on the finish. Barely perceptible tannins. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2012 Ponzi Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and herbs and a hint of jam. In the mouth, flavors of raspberry jam and fresh berries are lively and boisterous thanks to excellent acidity. Juicy and bright, if a bit uncomplicated, this wine is simply and delightfully quaffable. Notes of citrus and cedar linger in the finish. 13.5% alcohol. Closed with screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2012 Lange “Reserve” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and incense and a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, faintly sweet cherry and herbal flavors swirl in a beautifully silky texture across the palate. Very good acidity keeps the fruit lively, and very faint tannins brush the edges of the mouth. 13.7% alcohol. Closed with screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $36. click to buy.

2013 Ron Rubin Family Wines Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and cherry. In the mouth, sweet cherry and cranberry fruit are quite lively thanks to good acidity. Bright, juicy and appealing to those looking for a lot of fruit in their glass. Notes of herbs enter the finish. Missing a little complexity and dynamism that would make this a truly excellent wine. 13.7% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $40.

2014 Ron Rubin Family Wines “Gunsalus Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet cherry and blueberry. In the mouth, rich cherry flavors are bright with acidity and faint tannins add texture. Notes of citrus peel and cedar emerge as the wine lingers on the palate. Nicely balanced, but on the richer side of Pinot Noir. 14.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38.

2013 Ron Rubin Family Wines “Dutton Cherry Ridge Vineyard” Syrah, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match, cassis, and blackberry pie. In the mouth, cassis and blackberry fruit is shot through with some white pepper and herbs. Silky on the palate, the wine is tasty, but missing a little zip of acidity that would make it stronger. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $32.