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Entries in Pinot Noir (78)

Saturday
May262012

Terra Ignota: Told You So!…NZ Pinot Noir Gets Deserved Recognition

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member

Stunning View Over Rippon Estate to Lake Wanaka and Beyond

It was with mixed feelings that I turned to page 61 of this month’s Wine Spectator. I was looking for the article splashed on the front cover “New Zealand Pinot Noir Comes of Age.” In general I am not a fan of the 100 point system or large publications having such a rampant impact on the success or failure of wines, wineries, regions, even countries. However, when one of these industry “Super Powers” puts its considerable weight behind a wine by bestowing it with a 90+ point rating, or as in this case, many 90+ ratings, behind a whole category, New Zealand Pinot Noir, one can’t help but feel excited and somewhat gratified. For many years I have been preaching how great these wines are, telling customers and colleagues alike, that NZ has truly world class potential for many grapes beyond Sauvignon Blanc. Sure some listened and have been enjoying the rewards ever since. Others still believe that NZ makes “pretty good Sauvignon Blanc”, yet refuse to believe that any NZ wine above $15 is worth considering, yet at the same time spend $100’s of dollars on Pinot with less balance, finesse and complexity from other regions. So perhaps now the “powers that be” have spoken declaring the “coming of age” for NZ Pinot Noir, more people will listen and grab some before the prices skyrocket! Being consistently ahead of the game at K&L we are already in possession of many of these top rated wines and indeed many others that may not feature in this months WS article but are nonetheless worthy of your consideration.

Mt. Difficulty Templars Hill Vineyard

Before discussing the individual wines I would also like to point out the regional diversity within New Zealand. Pinot Noir from Marlborough, Nelson, Martinborough, Central Otago, Waipara etc, etc, will have very different flavor profiles. To stereotype hugely, for me Marlborough often shows a very crunchy, red berry acidity and some orange peel notes. Nelson (specifically the Moutere Hills,) has clay soil that gives a lifted brightness to then fruit, silky texture and often shows a dusty element on the finish. Martinborough, red fruited with gamey hints, more detail and layers to the wines seem to take more air / time to show their true qualities. Central Otago Pinot is generally the power house Pinot region of New Zealand, offering darker fruits with more weight and richness. Waipara / Canterbury, with lots of coastal influence and huge site diversity generally shows an elegant and often earthy, herbal style of wine. These are generalizations, and the beauty is that many sub-regional variations exist adding further intrigue to the category. If you don’t want to take my word for it, please read the WS article and explore some of these stunning wines!

2010 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, Martinborough

94 Points Wine Spectator: "Exotic aromatics of mahogany and sandalwood follow through to supple red licorice, cranberry, cherry and raspberry flavors that are elegant, precise and balanced. Baking spice details of clove and nutmeg persist on the finish. Drink now through 2020.”

2008 Rippon “Mature Vines” Pinot Noir, Central Otago

93 Points Wine Spectator (94Pts Wines & Spirits): “Delivers lovely aromatics, with sandalwood, Asian spice, white pepper, crushed stone and dried floral notes. The details continue on, offering strawberry, cherry and a terrific balance between tannins and acidity, keeping the flavors fresh and lively. Drink now through 2020.”

2009 Seresin Estate “Leah” Pinot Noir, Marlborough

92 Points Wine Spectator: "Wild strawberry and raspberry flavors are delicate and pretty in this stunning red, which shows spicy nutmeg, dried ginger, fresh herb and floral details, with a terrific supple texture. Drink now through 2016.”

2010 Craggy Range “Te Muna Road Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Martinborough

91 Points Wine Spectator: “Elegant and highly detailed, with plush, ripe red raspberry and cherry flavors that are fresh and juicy, joined by black tea, clove, sassafras and sage notes. Smooth and tasty, gaining momentum on the finish. Drink now through 2019.”

2009 Staete Landt Pinot Noir, Marlborough

91 Points Wine Spectator: “Light and velvety, with lovely detailed red cherry and cranberry aromas and flavors, hinting at citrus peel and white pepper as the finish lingers effortlessly. Drink now through 2015.”

2009 Momo Pinot Noir (Seresin Estate), Marlborough

90 Points Wine Spectator: "A wonderfully smooth and classy expression of ripe red fruit flavors, warm baking spices, vanillin and mineral accents. Very harmonious, with a long finish. Drink now through 2016.”

2008 Mountford "Estate" Pinot Noir, Waipara

92 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pale ruby colored, the 2008 Pinot Noir gives pronounced notes of warm strawberries and cranberries going earthy/gamey with supporting aromas of underbrush, smoked duck, truffles and wet stones. Medium to full bodied, there is a lot of poise on the palate with a good backbone of high acid and a medium level of very fine, silt-like tannins. There's plenty of berry and earth flavors layering the long finish. It's good now and should continue to develop and drink to 2016.”

2009 Neudorf "Moutere" Pinot Noir Nelson

91 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: “Ruby colored, the 2009 Moutere Pinot Noir offers a good intensity of warm cranberry, pomegranate and red currant aromas with hints of violets, damp earth and Ceylon tea. Medium bodied, the concentration of red berry and earth flavors is well balanced with a medium level of finely grained tannins, and refreshing acidity. It finishes long and savory. Drinking nicely now, it should cellar to 2015+.”

Cheers!

-Ryan Woodhouse K&L Aussie / NZ Specialist

 

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Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!


Friday
May042012

CA vs. OR Pinot Noir Blind Tasting Challenge: The Results Are In! 

CALIFORNIA BEATS OREGON BY A LANDSLIDE WITH A TIE FOR FIRST PLACE!
 

It was a packed house last Saturday, as 50+ K&L customers put their palates to the test in the Redwood City tasting bar. The annual CA vs OR Pinot Noir Blind Tasting Challenge is one of our most fun and popular customer tastings, drawing an enthusiast crowd of eager and open-minded Pinot aficionados.

In the end, California won by a landslide. Three wines were head and shoulders above the rest in terms of customer's votes. There was a tie for first place, each wine with 12 votes. Those wines were the 2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($19.99) and the 2009 Calera "Mills Vineyard" Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir ($44.99) with the 2008 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($32.99) coming in second with 11 votes.

Out of the Oregon entries, the 2009 Soléna "Grand Cuvée" Oregon Pinot Noir ($22.99) was the most popular, with 5 votes.

The Winners  (both with 12 votes):

 

Known as one of the “god-fathers” of Central Coast Pinot Noir Jim Clendenen began Au Bon Climat in 1982. Since then he has made some of the best wines in the area. This Santa Barbara County bottling in Jim’s Words is, “Just easy to drink…There is nothing pretentious here, just well balanced, nicely textured, brightly fruity wine that seems to go with everything.” We couldn't agree more, but the wine speaks for itself.

 

 

In 1975, Josh planted his first 24 acres of Pinot Noir in three separate parcels. Since then Calera has been widely recognized as one of the leading producers of Pinot Noir in the United States. The Mills Vineyard was originally planted in 1984 at an average elevation of 2,200 feet on pure limestone soils. The wine saw 16 months of 30% new French Oak. 1,599 cases were made from certified organically grown grapes as are all the grapes that are grown at Calera. 

 

K&L's Domestic Wine Buyer Bryan Brick assembled a lineup of 10 Pinot Noirs, 5 from Oregon and 5 from California, in the $19.99 to $49.99 price range and from vintages ranging from 2008 - 2010. The wines were brown-bagged and noted with a number. Tasting patrons received a blank piece of paper, with the numbers 1-10. The point of the challenge was not to guess all the wines correctly, but rather to thoughtfully evaluate the wines based on merit without letting preconceived notions obscure judgment and - most importantly - pick a personal favorite!

Tasters' "best-of" votes were submitted at the end of the tasting and tallied. The results reveal that the majority of tasting attendees showed a clear preference for fruit-forward and lush Pinots over lighter, brighter styles at this tasting.

What didn't seem to tip the scale much was price, with one of the least expensive wines ($19.99) tying with one of the most expensive  ($49.99) for first place.

Looks like CA Pinot producers don't have to worry about losing their loyal K&L Redwood City customers anytime soon! 

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The Complete Lineup: CA vs. OR Pinot Noir Blind Tasting Challenge 4/28/12

For more information about the Pinot Noirs featured in the tasting, click on the links below:

Wine #1: 2010 Patricia Green Cellars “K&L Cuvée” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($27.99)  We work with Patty Green directly to bring in this exclusive bottling for K&L. The fruit in this bottling comes mostly from her Estate vineyard. Aged in less than 20% new oak we think this is a fantastic value.

Wine #2: 2008 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($32.99)  John Holdredge produces less than 700 cases of this Russian River Pinot Noir. Using numerous vineyards throughout the appellation brings added complexity and depth. John is a “hands-off” guy letting the wine make itself, he likes to intervene as little as possible to let his raw materials shine through.

Wine #3: 2008 Easton “Durate-Georgetown Vineyard” Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir ($21.99) Bill Easton has been making wonderful wines under the Easton and Terre Rouge labels for years from his high elevation estate located in the Shenandoah Valley. This Pinot Noir was grown at 2,500 feet elevation and planted in 2007. 50% of the fruit was whole cluster fermented. The wine spent 11 months in 25% new French Oak.

Wine #4: 2009 Londer Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($24.99) Shirley and Larry Londer began looking for a vineyard site in 1997 and settled in Anderson Valley a few years later. Focusing on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer mainly from the valley they have created some beautiful wines over the last decade. This Pinot comes from four vineyards including their Estate Vineyard and Ferrington Vineyard and is aged in 30% new French oak. 1532 cases were produced.

Wine #5: 2010 St. Innocent “Villages Cuvée” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($21.99) St. Innocent Winery was founded in 1988 by Mark Vlossak who continues to be the winemaker and President. Originally produced in 2002 the Villages Cuvee was an outlet for fruit from newly planted vineyards. Currently the vineyard blend is 65% Vitae Springs Vineyard, 15% Momtazi Vineyard, 17% Zenith Vineyard and  3% Freedom Hill Vineyard. The wine spent 12 months in 23% new French Oak before bottling.

Wine #6: Cristom “Mt. Jefferson Cuvée” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($25.99) Cristom may be the K&L staff’s favorite winery in Oregon currently. Steve Doerner has been the winemaker since the wineries inception in 1992, previous to that he made over 15 vintages at Calera Vineyards. Coming from both estate (38%) and purchased fruit this Pinot comes from 12 different vineyards throughout Willamette Valley. 37% of the wine was fermented Whole Clusters and wild yeast was exclusively used. Just short of 6000 cases were produced.

Wine #7: Arterberry Maresh “Maresh Vineyard” Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($49.99) Jim Maresh maybe the most talented young winemaker in the Willamette Valley right now. Maybe that comes from his intensive knowledge of the Dundee Hills where he has lived his entire life and where 100% of his fruit originates from. It also doesn’t hurt that his family planted what is now the 3rd oldest Pinot Noir Vineyard in Willamette Valley and the oldest in the Dundee Hills sub-appellation. Jim’s wines are all about finesse and grace which we think this wine personifies.

Wine #8: 2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($19.99) Known as one of the “god-fathers” of Central Coast Pinot Noir Jim Clendenen began Au Bon Climat in 1982. Since then he has made some of the best wines in the area. This Santa Barbara County bottling in Jim’s Words is, “Just easy to drink…There is nothing pretentious here, just well balanced, nicely textured, brightly fruity wine that seems to go with everything.” We couldn’t agree more.

Wine #9: 2009 Soléna “Grand Cuvée” Oregon Pinot Noir ($22.99) Laurent Montalieu (Mumm, Willakenzie) and Danielle Andrus Montalieu (Archery Summit) purchased an 80-acre estate to commemorate their marriage. In May 2002, they launched Soléna by releasing their first bottling and, shortly thereafter, opening a tasting room in Carlton. This 3,500 case cuvee comes from 5 vineyards located throughout Willamette Valley and is aged for 10months in 25% new French Oak.

Wine #10: 2009 Calera “Mills Vineyard” Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir ($49.99) In 1975, Josh planted his first 24 acres of pinot noir in three separate parcels. Since then Calera has been widely recognized as one of the leading producers of Pinot Noir in the United States. The Mills Vineyard was originally planted in 1984 at an average elevation of 2,200 feet on pure limestone soils. The wine saw 16 months of 30% new French Oak. 1,599 cases were made from certified organically grown grapes as are all the grapes that are grown at Calera.

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Shop our wide selection of Pinot Noir and stage your own Pinot Noir Blind Tasting Challenge with friends at home!

Wednesday
Apr182012

Keith's Burgundy Hotline: 2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon!

By: Keith Wollenberg | K&L Burgundy Buyer

Hello Burgundy Lovers,

The 2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon wines have arrived.  We have very limited quantities of any single wine (by which I mean bottles not cases), and THEY ARE ON THE WEB, so they will go quickly.  You can go to www.klwines.com. Or call 800-247-5987 to place an order.

The Reds:

2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Monthelie 1er Cru "Les Duresses" $54.99

89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Monthelie Les Duresses is, as expected, juicier and riper than the cooler 2008, yet every bit as compelling. Radiant fruit caresses the palate through to the finish. This is a great introduction to the wines of Dominique Lafon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019." (5/2011)Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A ripe, fresh and attractively spiced nose of violets, plum and red berry fruit aromas leads to rich and relatively full-bodied flavors that possess fine volume and good if not special length. This could easily be drunk now." (5/2011) 


2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay $73.99 Limit of 4 per customer

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Volnay is made from young vines in Santenots. It shows terrific energy and vibrancy in a totally seductive expression of Volnay. The fruit builds beautifully through to the creamy, generous texture. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021." (5/2011)89 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "Oustanding. This is also quite fresh and notably ripe with notes of blue and black berry, violets and warm earth hints that transfer over to the detailed and lightly mineral-suffused medium-weight flavors that possess good dry extract and a vibrant, focused, balanced and lingering finish. A lovely villages.... Read More » 


2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru "Santenots du Milieu"  $129.95  Limit of 4 per customer

91-93 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "This possesses the ripest nose of the group with cassis and pinot liqueur aromas dissolving into rich, mouth coating and relatively muscular flavors that possess an abundance of dry extract with lovely detail on the impressively complex and persistent finish. This should reward up to a decade of cellar time." (5/2011)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(aged in 35% new oak): Good deep red-ruby. Black plum, black cherry and chocolate on the nose. Superrich and sweet; a real fruit bomb of dark cherry and raspberry, but a firm spine of acids and tannins keeps it lively on the palate. Compl... Read More » 


The Whites:

 2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault   : $99.95  Limit of 2 per customer

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Medium straw-yellow. Complex nose melds stone fruits, flowers, honey and hazelnut. Lush and sweet in the mouth, with a perfumed orange blossom quality giving the wine a light touch. Finishes suave, harmonious and persistent. Lovely village wine." (10/2011)Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A ripe and fresh mildly exotic nose speaks of pear, apricot and lemon nuances that lead to rich and naturally sweet medium-bodied flavors that display fine detail on the reasonably persistent finish." (2/2011)Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Meursault is a classy, understated wine laced with white peaches, pears and flowers.... Read More » 


2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault "Clos de la Barre"  $124.99  Limit of 3 per customer

91-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "From a tank sample taken just prior to the fining: Bright, pale yellow-green. Grapefruit and lemon ice on the nose, plus a whiff of white truffle. Edgy lemony acidity gives shape to the palate and carries the finish. A second sample, taken after the fining: Bright pale yellow. Subtly perfumed nose hints at lemon ice. Juicy and pure but a bit sharper than the first sample, showing excellent precision to the lemon zest flavors. A very site-driven sample that finishes with a salty nuance and noteworthy cut and length. I like what the fining has ac... Read More » 


2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru "Goutte d'Or"   $195.00  Limit of 1 per customer

90-92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "An overtly ripe nose speaks of hazelnut, white peach, pear and soft spice notes that merge seamlessly into rich, full-bodied and broad-scaled flavors that brim with an abundance of extract that confers a textured mouth feel onto the intense, powerful and muscular finish." (2/2011)91-92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Sample taken before fining: Pale straw-yellow. Deeply pitched aromas of ripe peach and honey. Chewy and sweet but restrained on the palate, with excellent density and energy to the zippy stone fruit flavors. Finishes dry and classic, with palate-coating persistence. The same... Read More » 


2009 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru "Charmes"   $195.00  Limit of 1 per customer 

92-94 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "Aromatically, this is almost a hypothetical blend of the Genevrières and the Goutte d'Or but here there is even more intensity to the mineral-inflected medium-bodied flavors that evidence really lovely purity of expression on the explosive and driving finish. This is clearly a Charmes from the upper part of the vineyard as there is none of the borderline excessive generosity of the lower portion." (2/2011)94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(bottled ten days before my visit): Very closed, slightly reduced nose offers citrus fruits, vanilla, hazelnut and white truffle. Rich, sweet, pliant ... Read More » 


A santé,

-Keith

 

Mr. Keith WOLLENBERG

Directeur Commercial Bourgogne

K&L Wine Merchants

http://www.klwines.com

+1-650-556-2724 Direct Line

Keithw@klwines.com