WCC California Pinot Noir Blind Tasting

Provence Restaurant, Albany, NY

Tasted September 3, 2009 by kenv with 556 views


After a fairly disappointing Oregon PN tasting, my regular Albany-area group decided to try California PN. The general agreement based on these 2 tasting is that Cali Pinot is much better.

All wines were served blind. One person knew all the wines and organized the flights. The rest of us knew only the wine we brought, but not which one it was.

The wines were divided into 3 flights, each one served with a course of food.

Afterwards, we had a Dessert Course: Fig Tart with French Vanilla Crème Fraiche

Flight 1 - Flight 1 (3 notes)

Wood grilled Duck and Foie Gras Saucisson with French Green Lentils and Pomegranate Drizzle.

1990 Wild Horse Pinot Noir Cheval Sauvage USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
88 points
Lovely earthy cherry nose. Tart Cherry palate. Fading fast, though oddly a second glass a half hour later has a nose of cream soda, but a finish of very sour cherries. An odd wine.
1991 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast USA, California, Central Coast
66 points
Poopy nose. Sour bitter crap. Perhaps it's way over the hill or maybe it was never any good.
1991 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Historic Vineyard Collection Sanford & Benedict Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
90 points
Earthy, mature cherry mint nose. Rich, balanced. Quite nice. WOTF.

Flight 2 - Flight 2 (5 notes)

Chanterelle Mushroom and Camembert Beignets with White Truffle Vinaigrette.

2007 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
92 points
The color is more ruby than all the other wines in this flight. Has a stunning nose of strawberry and spice. Smooth, silky, lush. Sweet young and delicious. I will wait a year to try another. 92-?? points.
2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
89 points
Gorgeous nose of ripe jammy cherries. Very tasty but finish is marred by something green.
2003 Mahoney Vineyards Pinot Noir Barriques de Carneros Carneros USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
Mint and something sour in the nose. Rich, but has a lot of VA on the palate. NR.
2004 Etude Pinot Noir Estate Carneros USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
95 points
Muted but very appealing nose. Rich, delicious, and complex. Long, mildly tannic finish. This is a great bottle of wine. A true meditation wine. WOTN for me.
2005 Hanzell Pinot Noir USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
93 points
A more spicy red fruit nose. Really delicious. Lots of rocks and fruit. The most "Burgundian" wine so far. Excellent stuff.

Flight 3 - Flight 3 (5 notes)

Wood grilled sliced Beef Tenderloin with Sliced Beefsteak Tomato with Caramelized Onions and Boursin Cheese Crostini.

1996 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
92 points
Dark, warm, rich, and sweet. Quite extracted. This is definitely not Burgundy, but it is quite appealing.
1997 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Valhalla Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
Minty with sweet red fruit. This is quite nice and quite ready to drink. I could mistake this for Burgundy.
2001 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Vista Verde Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, San Benito County
89 points
Rich sweet complex, but there's something a bit off in it.
2002 DuMOL Pinot Noir Russian River Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
93 points
Nice nose of ripe red fruits. Rich, sweet (in a good way), and delicious. A really harmonious wine.
2006 Aubert Pinot Noir Reuling Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
91 points
Big sweet long, but sweet with a not too pleasant bite on the finish. Group WOTN, but I didn't like it as much as the others.
1 person found this helpful Comment


Before the wines were revealed, we each voted for our 3 favorites. The Top Ten were:

WOTN Voting

1. 2006 Aubert, Reuling Vyd, Sonoma Coast
2. 2002 DuMOL, Russian River Valley
3. 1997 Anderson's Conn Valley Vyds, Valhalla Vyd, Napa Valley
4. 2005 Hanzell, Sonoma Valley
5. 2001 Williams Selyem, Vista Verde Vyd, San Benito County
6. 2004 Etude, Carneros
7. 1990 Wild Horse, Cheval Sauvage, Paso Robles
8. 2007 Kutch Vineyards, McDougall Ranch, Sonoma Coast
9. 2007 Siduri Vineyards, Hirsch Vyd, Sonoma Coast
10. 2003 Mahoney Vyds, “Barriques de Carneros”, Carneros

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