This morning we toast one of my favorite red wines in the world, great Pinot Noir from wineries in California and Oregon. Though both states grow clones of the finicky variety, there are noticeable differences in the wines coming from regions through Willamette Valley in Oregon, and those grown in parts of California like Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast, Russian River and more. In honor of the day we toasted some of the best on KXAS/NBC DFW this morning. A link to the segment is here. A bit more about some of the wines below. Cheers!
Though there are general similarities between the Pinot Noir wines of Oregon and California, there are some key differences (kind of like the differences you may find in Pinot Noir from Burgundy vs. Loire.) And then the differences you will find within each state, as wines from the Dundee Hills are different than those from Chehalem and Yamhill-Carlton, or those from Anderson Valley, California and those from Santa Barbara. Coastal breezes from the Oregon Coast, or San Francisco Bay, or winds sweeping off of the Russian River affect the way a fruit ripens, and the acidity and freshness of the grape, as does the elevation of the vineyard, the sunshine a vineyard received during the day, the slope of the land, etc. This is the overall terroir for each region, and each vineyard within the region, that makes each wine so unique, special and delicious.
Just last week I posted on some Noteworthy Northwest Pinot for D Magazine/SideDish, linked here, including the wines of Domaine Drouhin, Siduri, Adelsheim, EIEIO, Stoller and Gran Moraine, to name a few. I am thrilled that Gran Moraine has also recently added a dry Rose to their portfolio of wines from their Yamhill-Carlton vineyard, layered with white peach, nectarine and berry. ($28)
From Sokol Blosser, the winery perhaps best known for their Evolution White Blend, and now sister Evolution Red approachable, everyday Pinot Noir, comes a mineral intense, dense Pinot Noir that drinks like a Cab. Hearty, rich and delicious. ($38) If you like a super fruity Rose, Sokol Blosser also crafts a super fresh and juicy Rose with lots of red berry, watermelon and tangerine. ($22)
From one of the most notable father’s of the region, Eyrie Vineyards where founder, David Lett, began producing earthy, forest floor and red berry filled Pinot Noir over 50 years ago. Perhaps one of the best representations of classic Oregon Pinot Noir, Eyrie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is filled with red berry, cherry, earthy mushroom and spice. ($37.50)
From California, one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma is Ram’s Gate. The Howard Backen designed estate in Carneros is one of the most beautiful in wine country, add in their elegant, refined single vineyard wines and I am a hooked. Ram’s Gate was our partner a few years ago for our Dallas Uncorked anniversary event, and the wines continue to prove to be special, and delicious. From Russian River, Bush Crispo Vineyard layers blackberry, blueberry and cola with spice and truffle. ($70)
From Domaine Carneros, best known for their stunning traditional method sparkling wine, a sustainably farmed Pinot Noir celebrating their long history of growing complex, balanced, elegant fruit in their Famous Gate Pinot Noir. A blend of several clones from their Carneros estate to craft a harmonious, beautiful wine. ($80)
Anderson Valley, in Northern Mendocino County, is rustic and rugged, crafting dense, robust, layered wines with incredible character. I love the wines from Anderson Valley, like those of Goldeneye, FEL, Wind Racer, MacRostie and Maggy Hawk. Maggy Hawk Rose tames that hearty, robust character for a wine with ruby red grapefruit, tangerine and watermelon.
From Siduri, and our friends, Texans Adam and Dianna Novy Lee, Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir from vineyards in Santa Barbara County with heavy influence from the Pacific creating concentrated fruit with small berries, for a bold, hearty wine. ($35) Their Russian River Pinot Noir ($35) with warm days, and cool nights, creates a luscious wine with red fruit and sweet baking spice notes.
Also in Santa Barbara County, in Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile has become one of my go to wines for both their stellar Pinot Noir as well as their fresh, vibrant white wines, like their barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc. With diversity as the focus, the 200 acre estate is planted in dozens of individual blocks to highlight the diversity of the vineyard and micoclimates within the property. The resulting Estate Pinot Noir is layered with wild rose, baking spice, red cherry and dried fig. ($60)