Pinot Noir Cage Match ... The $350 Wine Came in Last ... ACK!!

The Shores Restaurant, La Jolla, California

Tasted October 22, 2009 by rstark with 563 views

Introduction

Single blind tasting of Mid to High-end domestic Pinots ($50 and up). The person that brought WOTN got their dinner paid for (and more important, bragging rights!). The Marcassin was thrown in to see if an expensive 99 RP wine would stand out. Well, I guess it did, but not the way we thought it would.

Flight 1 (8 notes)

Red
2007 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
94 points
Decanted 3 hours. Blackberry kirsch on nose. Big and bouncy, bordering on Pamela Anderson-style, but the balance is just so perfect. Very RussianRiverVallyesque. WOTN out of 8 mid-priced pinots in blind tasting.
Red
2005 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Jerusalem Hill USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
91 points
Decanted 3-hours. Black cherry nose, and dark fruits on attack. Very low acidity. Hot alcohol on finish. Tied for last place at blind tasting of 8 mid-priced pinots.
Red
2003 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
90 points
Decanted 3 hours. Dark red fruits on nose. Red cherry, light-to-medium finish. Very light acidity. Boring. I wonder if we would have liked it more if we knew what we were drinking. Came in last place in single-blind tasting of much cheaper pinots. Not a flawed bottle, but an unpleasant herbal quality appeared after an hour in the glass.
Red
2006 Aston Estate Pinot Noir Clone 777 USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
93 points
Cloudy and dark, with a little good-stink on nose. Sweet med-dark fruits, slight carmel on finish. Nice balance, no hotness or alcohol on finish. Beautifully made. #2 out of 8 mid-priced pinots in blind tasting.
Red
2006 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir The Upper Terrace USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Ribbon Ridge
90 points
Decanted 3 hours, but still closed on the nose. Light cherry finish followed by a hot biting finish. Alcohol not integrated at all. These BF wines seem always show poorly at pinot single blind tastings.
Red
1999 Arcadian Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
93 points
Burgundian nose with a little truffle and earth floor. Beautiful dusty rose on top of light plum fruit, reminiscent of a mid-range Vosne Romanee. Aging fast and after an hour Elvis had left the building. But for an hour, really beautiful. Too bad 1999 is considered old for most domestic pinots ... it takes Burgundies 30 years to become so ephemeral.
Red
2004 Dehlinger Pinot Noir Reserve USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
90 points
Perfumed, flowery nose. Brite acidity that pops, but the dark cherry fruit is too candied for my taste.
Red
2001 Kistler Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
91 points
Nose is pretty closed. Nice high-pedigree dark fruit, but low acidity makes it a wine that seems to be past it's prime. Flabby and losing the fruit after just an hour.

Closing

Lisa Redwine and her staff at The Shores did a fabulous job with the service. For anyone looking for a restaurants in SD ... this is a great place for wine dinners. Lisa is one test away from being the first female MS in San Diego, so you can be sure your wines will be handled correctly!

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