So, Greenblanket is still pissed about the smoke but, damnit, there's some beautiful Anderson Valley fruit showing through the taint. Too bad the fires ruined otherwise good wine and too bad this wine was sold with no mention of the potential for smoke taint.
Here we go again; smoke or no smoke? One of the only things that Greenblanket knows for sure is that his impressionable mind is more of a factor in wine tasting that his leaden palate. This time he thinks it's more of a textural thing that seems to mask or dull tastes and aromas that seem to be partially hidden. Almost like tasting after smoking a cigar. Greenblanket should never have paid for this wine.
I was looking for smoke and didn't find any. However, there was spritz initially and the wine seemed stripped. A fine drinkable wine, but nothing really desirable. Good in comparison to the overall wine world, but definitely not up to Anthill standards. Expensive at this quality level. Glad this was my only bottle. However, this was better than my expectations based on discussions I've seen.
Tasted this blind and at first thought it had brett, then realized it was smoke taint. Comes across as bandaids on the nose and greasy bacon fat in the midpalate. Third bad bottle of the case. Starting to look like expensive cooking wine.
Not as bad as I expected. A little smokiness on the nose but that could have been because I was looking for it. On the palate, nice ripe fruit, good mouthfeel and good acidity. However the finish is where it fell well short. Very clipped and with a burnt aftertaste.
Very light, translucent ruby color. Cherries, underbrush, scorched earth, baking spices, raspberries, and some charred oak on the very nice nose. Medium body with soft tannins and very nice acidity. The red fruit, spices and earthiness quickly grab hold of the palate. A bit of cranberry and a slight herbal note add nice complexity. Nice length on the finish with the juicy fruit and spice slowly adding a bit of oak and the herbal note. This is my third bottle I have not experienced any of the "smoke taint" that others note, to me it's more like a nice toasted oak element this adds depth. I really like this wine.
No notes taken at tasting. Decanted 1 hr. Look: Great purple/red '08 color. Nose: Red and black cherries, soft spice, forest floor, lt. cranberry, very lt. vanilla. Body: 2.5% milk. Taste: Very smooth cherry, good tannins, nice spice, cranberry, musk. Actually this kept getting Better over the span of 2 hrs. Finish: Around 45-60 seconds.
Summary: WOW! Certainly decant 1-2 hrs. I would enjoy on it's own ideally. Amazing how it kept getting better. Started off a 91 pt and wrapped up 93 pts. While I love my Sta. Rita Hills Brewer-Cliftons, this is my top taste for Anderson Valley. I'll be seeking out more of these (and more Anthills - the rare times one comes across them).
Quite nice this time around and Greenblanket is sure that if this was served to him blind that he would never detect out of place smokiness. Just what you would expect from a well made appellation level wine - pretty red fruit with some tart notes, very light spiciness and a pleasant earthy soil thing going on.
Orange peel, cherries and a toasty note on the nose. Medium mouthfeel and noticeable acidity. I sort of think I detect a smokiness which is likely oak but given the year possible fire smoke. Nice wine.
I have to believe that my bottle is impacted by smoke taint. I knew of the issues but my wife didn't. I poured and didn't let on and she almost immediately said "Something's wrong with this wine. It's like I'm trying to smell the wine in a smoky bar." I have to agree - there was something off on both the nose and the palate. Even two days later, I pulled the cork on what remained and my first thought was someone has the wood started for a barbecue.
Dull ruby. Creamy, red fruited nose with a distinct earthy side. No smoke that I can detect on the nose. Thin and a bit abrasive on the finish. There is some good fruit here but overall it is disjointed and doesn't provide a ton of pleasure. Not bad, but not a favorite. Will wait awhile on other bottles to see what happens. (85)
Creosote firewood thruout. Still Messy and very murky almost a year later but NOT fizzy in mouth like the last bubbly bottle. Cosistantly poor showing 2nd time. 1 more bottle Im saving for 2016, give it a last hurrah. the second half will cook with tonight.
Light, ruby color. The red-fruited nose is a little shy with some earthiness underneath. On the palate, there is lovely cherry fruit and an interesting spicy note mixed with a touch of minerals. This is light-bodied, but not thin, with lively acidity and a touch of tannin. There is a slight hole in the midpalate, but the finish is solid. Overall, I find myself more attracted to this type of wine - bright fruit, lively acidity, and very little oak influence.
A nice, lighter ruby color. Cherries, raspberries, toasty oak, and a slight herbal note on the nose. No smoke taint at all. Medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very nice acidity. Juicy red fruit on the palate with some baking spices kicking in on the nice finish. This is a delicious, young pinot. Perhaps there is some bottle variation in reguard to smoke taint, but I'm 2 for 2 with good bottles.
For those keeping score: faint hints of campfire at first, but it seemed to fade away leaving behind a really nice bottle of pinot. In fact, two hours after opening I can't find a hint of it, and I'm looking for it. Nothing mind blowing here, but I like the style of this (and of anthill in general)... elegant red fruits with a nice sense of flavor impact followed by a nice streak of acidity keeping everything dancing on the palate and tying it all together. Yeah, I like this wine. Still a buyer of these wines for sure.
P&P as soon as Fedex delivered and tasted again 12 hrs later using Riedel PN glass with wine at 55 degrees. Tasting notes essentially unchanged both tastings. Bright red; initial nose sl green and stemmy followed by red cherry and subtle floral, rose? scents. Less smoke than in many other producers "normal" vintages using heavy char barrels; red cherry,raspberry flavor on a medium body, nice acidity, balanced; simple, fast finish, soft tannins. I expect there will be bottle variation, but if half of the case turns out as good as this it will be a big QPR given the prices this is getting on the secondary market now.
There was smoke on this and, while it was different from the smoked meat often detected on a good wine - this was more like the smell of a burned down house - it was not too unpleasant and it seemed to blow off by day two. Underneath was a nice sour cherry pinot noir with mouth watering acidity and a fine structure. Overall, we quite enjoyed it
Second of the two bottles I bought. With the first bottle, I didn't pick up any smoke on the nose initially (a bit more on the nose after awhile), and just a bit on the palate. This time the peaty smokiness is much more evident on the nose, and the palate is a murky, muddled mess, with a simply overwhelming smokiness bordering on ashtray (as one poster aptly put it). I've never licked an ashtray, but I imagine it would taste like this bottle. Have to put it down as flawed. Too bad, I'm generally very impressed with AF wines.
Had a small pour; tried hard but couldn't detect smoke on the nose of this small sample anyway. The palate was what I expected, a bit tart with cranberry and rhubarb flavors and cool climate in style. Decent, and not marred by smoke on the palate, at least for the one gulp I had. Fine but lacks excitement. 87-88+. Overall, the profile tends toward what I like so I look forward to trying single-vineyard bottlings and other vintages of this.
I've been tracking CT's tasting notes regarding the smoke taint issue with this wine, and have been wanting to try my lone bottle (parted with the rest) to assess for myself. Pop and pour. This bottle's bouquet seems unaffected, at least for my senses, but the taint is serious in the palate, the finish especially. Ashtray. It seems especially marked on the finish, the tail end of the finish, and lingers, like it's woven into the tannins and structure of the wine itself. I worked very hard to keep any expectations out of this, and my tongue still feels furred and burnt (I'm not a smoker). Too bad AHF released this, I love their wines. A classy pinot otherwise, but this is one of the very few bottles I've ever poured down the sink. Not a 'flawed bottle,' but it's a flawed wine IMHO. (I'd be interested in a poll of smokers vs non-smokers who detect vs don't detect smoke in this wine.)
Opened, poured a glass for my friend who remarked a minute later, "What is this? It's great, I love the subtle smokiness throughout." Sums up my thoughts pretty well--some smoke is there, but it's an acceptable trait of the wine. Enjoyable cranberry, silky dark cherries, a hint of dried raspberry all intermix with a slightly gamey, smokey vein. Impressive mouthfeel and good length on the finish.
Gave it a 30 minute decant. Nose wasn't smoky, but a bit restrained. The color is cranberry looking. It looks light. The taste showed no ill effects of fire. This continually opened up and showed some minerals and spice, gaining complexity towards the last glass.
P&P-nose initially giving off a faint burnt rubber smell that quickly blew off. There's a little bacon fat aroma that could be linked to smoke, but no other discernable evidence. Otherwise nose is cherry, flat cola, some red currant. Palate is smooth with cherry and mild tobacco notes. Tannins are reserved and mouthfeel is fairly round and silky. Very drinkable but I expected a bit more complexity and structure.
Consistent with the trend of recent tastings on this controversial bottle, I thought this wine showed well. Opened for an hour before pouring. Fairly deep in color, with a nose of florals, spice, bacon fat, and a touch of high toned red fruit. The primary floral and spice element carried through to the palate, which was big and rich - thanks to the Abbey Harris and Demuth fruit declassified into this bottle. Bright red cherry came through on the finish after a bit of time. I could have used a little more brightness in this, as for me, it was a bit sappy. Yes, I did get a charred/peaty characteristic in this wine (both on the nose and the palate), but it did not bother me.....actually blended in nicely with the big flavors. I see no need to hold on to these.
Call my palate dumb, but no intrusive smoke taint here. Just a nice, elegant style Pinot Noir with red cherry, cranberry and a little bit of spice. Considering the last Pinot Noir I drank, 2005 Aubert UV, was at the total opposite of the spectrum than this one, I was very happy with the lower alcohol, more finesse and lighter style. There was definitely nothing in the wine that was off-putting.
I enjoyed it with some smoked salmon, pea and cream pasta.
Nice, well balanced pinot. Everything I like, a bit on the red fruited side some cranberry a touch of cake spice, but overall a bit on the light and elegant side. Nothing pointy at all and while I didn't go looking for the smoke, I did not notice more than a touch. Worked well with the grass fed buffalo tenderloin.
And here begins my contribution to the great 2008 Anthill Farms smoke debate: It's in there... but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have identified it as "smoke" if it wasn't the only thing going through my head when I tasted this. It's not a bad wine at all... the pedigree of the declassified juice is apparent: beautiful nose; very light, delicate and balanced in the mouth but with a big flavor impact. Quite a nice finish too, but there on the back of the palate... what is that funny taste? Is that smoke (or campfire, or whatever you want to call it)? Yup. I applaud the guys at Anthill for declassifying some of their upper end bottlings into this generic bottling and being upfront about it all. I plan on leaving my remaining bottles in the cellar for a while, the balance should carry this a long way.
Yes, you can smell and taste a bit of campfire in the wine, but with about 30 min of air, it dissipates and the elegant fruit and structure comes through. It is not a profound wine, and if even a hint of smoke is a dealbreaker, then you will not like this wine. That being said, it is well-balanced, refreshing, with bright fruit and crisp acidity and it paired beautifully with crispy roast chicken.
Brought my third and final bottle to a neighbor's for s'mores over the fire pit. Figured that if there was smoke taint then it would "pair" nicely. As with the other two bottles, we did not detect any "taint" per se but maybe a subtle smokey aspect to the palate. The best of the three bottles and I have like them all. Let the debate on this wine continue.
I had not tasted this until tonight. That said, I have been following the CT notes on this one (given the troubles of the vintage) and there appears to be a lot of bottle variation. I believe I got one of the good ones here. The smoke was noticeable on the nose (but not offensive) and the mid-palate seemed a bit hollow, but a good Pinot given the difficulties of the vintage and the price.
I'm firmly in the like it camp. Soft smokiness on the nose and the palate, but not tainted. More like you'd get from a well toasted barrel. Nice light body with pleasing red fruit and minerals. Juicy acidity.
Utterly undrinkable. Like swallowing the contents of an ashtray. As one of the reviewers mentioned, this wine should probably not have been released. I like Anthill Farms wines very much, but I am frankly surprised that the winery's management did not consider the value of protecting the long-term equity of their brand and business more carefully by selling a product that is clearly damaging to the winery's reputation.
sort of red Burgundy out of California, has enough acid to match the earthy red cherry, smoke and red currant, good intensity on the finish, a few hours later and a floral fragrance shines through with a bright berry palate, some earthiness, pretty yummy with king salmon fillet
If you cannot detect the smoke taint in this one, it's because it's obscured by the crack you're smoking. No subtle hints of "smoked meats" or "toast" or other BS...this is straight from the ashtray to the bottle, albeit with nice varietal character on the side. With 2 hours of air time, the good side of the wine opens up, but the smoke will not go away, and probably won't with age. Serve it to your friends who smoke; maybe they won't notice, but this verges on undrinkable.
Probably should not have been released. I knew of the smoke taint before buying and opening, and was looking at this as a learning experience. I did not tell my wife about any of this as I wanted her unblemished opinion. After two glasses, she said: "I don't usually say this about wines that you buy, but I really don't like this at all." I asked her to describe what she didn't like and she nailed it. Charred, smokey, bitter and really lacking in fruit.
Frankly, initially I didn't pick up any smoky character on the nose and maybe just a slight bit on the palate (a kind of charred quality), though it did seem to evolve on the nose slightly after an hour or so, but almost more like peat (which Josh Raynolds noted) and Christmas spice. Still, it has nice red fruit, and the expected charm and elegance of an Anthill pinot, but it was certainly better in the first hour after opening. Drink sooner rather than later.
Not as good as the first bottle I had earlier this year. The trademark "brightness" and crisp AH acidity seem to be missing. Deep, dark cranberry fruit with bacon fat. Not bad, but just not what I have come to know and expect from AH.
Nose leads with a bit of ashy meatiness--think charred grilled meats. Not terribly dominant, but noticeable. Soft red fruits exist beneath that & blend to toss in a touch of loamy character. Palate has good mouthfeel--enjoyable, palpable texture without being dense--and leads with that hint of charriness that I perceive as highlighting a nice acidity on the back end. Dark red fruits (cherry, raspberry, cranberry) carry through the finish.
My second bottle of this, and shockingly different than the first. Where the smoke was a subtle background note the first go-round, this was overwhelmed by the smoke taint. There was actually something mildly pleasant about it that reminded me of South Africa, particularly the Pinot Noirs and Pinotages (a sort of over-the-top bacon fat meets smoke quality), but there was very little beyond smoke other than a subtle bit of red fruit. I don't know how smoke taint fares with age, but it would be my advice to drink these on the young side based on my experience here.
Popped and poured. I didn't discern any obvious smoke taint. This was really a lovely wine. Bright red fruits, nice gripping acidity with a clean finish. Not over ripe with a medium alcohol content, it was very enjoyable.
Tastes almost like an aged gamay from Northeast France. Alternates in the mouth between smoked savory and sweet tastes especially when you swish it, i.e. between a meaty-gamey taste (think light prosciutto (some said bacon below) on thin sourdough) and a dessert tart taste (think plum-cherry, only barely sweet). Finishes with a citrus/plum, wood, and light gameyness. Fascinating pinot, worth a spin, a bit pricey for the experience.
Popped and poured, then drank over about 3 hours. As far as smoke taint goes, the only thing that showed up to me was a background note of bacon fat/smoked meat that, while uncharacteristic of their typical AV Pinots, didn't particularly bother me. Beautiful nose of fresh earth and classic AV red apple skin. The palate is rather full and rich, though it still maintains a mineral, gripping texture. The red apple flavors really dominate here, along with strawberry, earth, and a touch of bacon. Long finish of red apple and more of the bacon/smoked meat character (the finish contains the most overt "smoky" character, though even here it's not overwhelming). On the whole, this is a wonderful appellation Pinot that speaks loudly of Anderson Valley. It also speaks clearly of the difficult '08 vintage, and how the talented guys behind Anthill Farms managed to craft a beautiful, transparent wine despite the obstacles it presented.
Opened and poured, this bottle showed improvement over previous encounters with this wine. This bottle still shows the smoke issue which causes some astringency on the palate and a clipped finish; however, for this bottle the smoke taint stays more or less in the background and the fruit characteristics of the wine take more of a leading roll.
With this wine I think that palate variation is more critical than bottle variation. I think there is little doubt that the fires have influenced the wine but, after serving blind to a group of six, each taster had a different opinion as to whether it detracted from the wine. My opinion is that it does not.
A lighter pinkish purple in the glass with a very clear rim. Nose of cherries, but once tasted, you first feel nice strong acidity but with a long finish punctuated with woody/earthy notes that turn into darker fruit. An excellent CA Pinot for the price.
On the bright side, I didn't get any smokey, burnt elements... on the other hand, this was because I didn't get anything else. I was really working to get at the flavor components, but this was only slightly more flavorful than mineral water. Some slight tart cherry flavors with airing, but this was either shut down or excessively filtered. Seems like a lot of bottle variation on this wine.
Decanted 3+ hours. Subtle nose of floral, cherry and spice with some cola. Starts very light on the palate but builds nicely to tart cherry and finishes with fine tannins and a hint of smoke. Nice finesse and balance.
Very light color with a purple hue rim of light extraction. On the nose loads of very pretty, floral, bright red cherry and raspberry... some new barrique spice notes. On the palate the wine has high acidity, a very pretty and light yet full midpalate that transitions into a low to moderate tannin finish... low ETOH. Great balance with the wine showing excellent balance between the hard and soft elements of the wine and the oak using being appropriate to the fruit intensity, average length, good intensity, average complexity. Wonderful finesse, especially considering its New World origing, a very fine texture, good expression of place. This is a really pretty wine that exibits no smoke taint to me... what it lacks in complexity and depth is more than made up for in beautiful texture... very good QPR... shows how good Cali pinot can be texturally if the winemakers would just back off the extraction and ripeness a bit... will hold well over the next few years...
Bright on the nose, no real notice of smoke or campfire in this bottle on the nose and even the mid-palate but do get a slight hint of smoke on the finish particularly after a minute or so on the exhale. But not to the point that it is really affecting me enjoying the wine, I think decanting helped. Still a solid $35 bottle of wine. My came home later that evening after work and asked her to try the wine and tell me what she smelled and taster, she had no previous knowledge of the fires nor did she hear about it or had any idea what took place in Anderson Valley in 2008, the first thing out of her mouth was she tasted smoke. No hesitation and it wasn't a completely negative comment, still liked the wine but did notice smoke and ash.
Opened and poured, this wine unfortunately appears to show signs of smoke taint with an astringent ashtray element on the bouquet and palate. Unfortunately these elements overshadow the underlying elegance and beauty of this wine. Based on the tasting notes of other CellarTracker memebers, there appears to be a degree of bottle variation regarding the smoke taint issue. This bottle shows it in a more obvious, detrimental way that at times makes the wine tough to consume.
Getting some smoky campfire (which I must admit for me isn't really a turn off) but not to an overwhelming extent. This pinot is in a richer, riper style but you can still see your fingers through it (which is nice!). Has opened up nicely over the course of a 4.5 hour decant and the campfire does dissipate a bit. A fair amount of acid on this and not much in the way of tannins. Definitely see the astringency on the finish that previous reviewers have mentioned.
On the whole a decent bottle. Fairs pretty well with grilled tuna steaks. Despite holding up through the decant, this was nice enough as a pop and pour and didn't evolve too much. No need to hold this, drink over the next few years. 87-88
After openning I gave the glass to my wife, who doesn't drink wine, and ask her what she smelled. She said ashes. I had to agree. With a previous bottle I didn't detect anything on the nose but the finish was clipped and bitter. This one was almost the oppisite. Nose was all wet campfire, but the palate was not all that bad. Rest of the bottle consumed on day 2 was just reversed. Nose was better with no campfire, but the finish was short, bitter and chemical. Go figure.
Sure I was tipped off on the "taint," so I got the same impression as many others. On day 1, definite campfire on the nose, with the occasional more offensive wisp of wet ashtray. This was mostly gone by day 2 and 3, but this wine, while certainly drinkable, was nowhere near the class of the '07 single vineyards. Seemed like a hollow shell of the better AF wines, with lower acidity, darker fruit, and a somewhat diluted midpalate. The finish was short and marred by bitterness. A cool science experiment but I'm happy I only bought 2. I have better expectations for the Peters and Comptche but won't be testing that hypothesis any time soon.
Dominated by such an intense aromatic smoky, meaty character that I guessed a lighter Syrah immediately when this was served blind. Really lovely stuff, combining bright red fruits, bacon fat and smoky notes in a package that's very elegant and precise with nice acidity and length. Didn't find this particularly Pinot Noir-like - but the end result here is still really nice.
Unless there's some bottle variation I don't know how you can't pick up the smoke on this. I am a big fan of Anthill and opened this with an open mind and was hoping some of the other notes that showed smoke taint were more or less just imaginery. When first opened the showed lots of campfire so into the decanter it went for an hour. Poured the first glass and the campfire aromas didn't seem as strong, but were still there. On the palate there is lovely red fruits that on there own would make this a typical Anthill pinot, but the smoke reappears on the finish and is quite distracting. I drank 3 glasses over a 3 hour period which with the hour in the decanter gave this 4 full hours of air and if nothing else the campfire palate got worst. I now will always know what smoke tainted wine is like ( a learning experience to say the least).
Ok, maybe I'm imagining it, but I definitely taste a smokiness and, to be honest, I just can't get passed it. Without foreknowledge of the fires, etc., perhaps I would have called this gamey or reminiscent of beef jerky, but it really doesn't work for me in this instance.
There's no doubt this shows smoke taint, especially the nose. It's really not enjoyable to drink...will leave the rest for tomorrow to see where it goes. Much, much better the next day. Well balanced, straighforward pinot with bright red fruits. Pretty good.
Just took a whiff and a taste out of the decanter. Absolutely clear, bright rose color. No smoke on the nose or palate yet. Initial taste was tight with some acidity but will check back in after aeration in 1.5 hours. Young fruit of strawberry and cherry but the finish wss short and almost a chemical/acetone bite. My least favorite AF tp date.
Opened at 55deg F. Poured off half into a half-bottle for Day 2 drinking. The rest was left to warm up and aerate for ~1 hour. There are some deep aromas of ripe bing cherries and damp peat that are accompanied by some notes of smoky peat. Reduction or smoke? I'm leaning towards the latter, but I'm not sure. In the mouth there is an immediate, velvety rush of ripe cherries and plums, that are juicy. This is quickly followed by a light, chalky layer of tannins which mostly disappears after a few seconds but there is a lingering grip that persists through the tart finish which for me ends a little bitter. Possible smoke issues aside, the finish was a tad disappointing for me. Edit: With extra air time and more sipping, the smoky elements and bitterness are not (as) noticeable and the bottle ends up being a relatively simple but pleasant and sappy pinot.
Ripped into this one as it came off the UPS truck and it's much different than last year's version; it's darker, more saturated and better defined overall. The palate features red fruits and a nice sense of soil and earth. However, while I am withholding judgment for a day or two, I am concerned about hints of damp, morning after campfire on the nose and palate.
Day two report: No sign of smoke - just beautiful raspberry and cherry fruit with spice and earth accents.