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  • 2006 Kazmer and Blaise Pinot Noir Primo's Hill

    PNP at just above cellar temp: 
    Appearance: The wine is clear and free of sediment. The color is medium depth, between garnet and brick red. Based on the visual appearance, I thought the pinot was going to taste quite old. I was pleasantly surprised. 

    Nose: The nose is fantastic. After a swirl, I noted nice tart red fruits, baking spices, and something that reminded of horseradish (in a good way). My wife commented on the baking spices, too, pinning it to a more specific clove-like scent. 

    Taste: The taste is dry, with nice acidity. The wine is well-balanced. The initial taste is of tart red fruits like raspberries and underripe cherries. The baking spices on the nose are more subtle, replaced by a cola taste. There is some nice dust/leather on the finish. 

    After a few hours: 
    Nose: After a few hours open, the nose has developed a bit. The horseradish smell has subsided and has been replaced by even more of the baking spice smell. Those spices have integrated with the red fruit flavors. 

    Taste: After a few hours, the cola taste subsided a bit. The dominant tastes remain tart red fruits, leather, and spices. 

    Overall: As a 2006 SV pinot from Carneros, I was worried that this wine would be a bit over the (Primo’s) hill. It was not. This is a fantastic bottle of wine, that has aged very gracefully and appears to have a lot of life left.

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  • 2011 Truchard Merlot

    Appearance: The wine was clear and free of sediment. It was ruby-red colored--much closer to a pinot noir in appearance than the darker purple of a cabernet.

    PNP (at just above cellar temperature):
    Nose: Initially, the nose was quite closed. Tough to pick out much except for oak/vanilla, and some initial heat/alcohol. After some swirling, I was able to pick out a slight vegetal smell, in addition to the oak/vanilla.

    Taste: The initial taste is totally different than the nose. Unlike the nose, there is very little perceptible oak or heat on the palate. I could also not initially perceive any vegetal taste, despite the vegetal streak in the nose. The wine is tart and tastes of young red fruits--almost like biting into a fresh cranberry. My guess is that the wine will be relatively high in acidity, based on the mouth-watering and mouth-drying sensations from the wine. The finish is medium, at around 4 or 5 seconds.

    We left the wine for a bit and had a dinner that didn't really pair well with the wine. After eating and cleaning up, we came back to the wine to see how it developed as it warmed and breathed.

    Nose: The perceptible heat and alcohol smell had dissipated. The slight vegetal streak I noted at PNP has developed into a dominating smell of green pepper. There's still some slight vanilla/oak behind the green pepper, but it would not be noticeable if I weren't looking for it based on my PNP notes. There is still very little fruit on the nose.

    Taste: Like on the nose, the green streak has developed on the palate, which is now a balance of green pepper and cranberry.

    In sum, for me, this wine was a bit disjointed tasting, which is probably not surprising from the tough 2011 year. The fruit flavors in the nose and on the palate were underwhelming for me. In the end, the cab franc in the blend did much of the heavy lifting here. If you're looking for a restrained, easy-drinking merlot that demonstrates some nice cab franc personality, this is your bottle of wine. My wife enjoyed this wine and found it imminently quaffable.

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  • 2011 Wellington Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

    The wine is clear of sediment and dark red in color. The nose is of ripe, dark fruits (blackberries and black cherries) with some nice tobacco/dark vegetal notes. On the palate are dense dark fruit flavors, black pepper, and a slight vegetal streak. The finish is long, with perceptible notes of fruit and black pepper. Highly recommended.

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