A Grand Tasting

On April 5th we organized a group and hosted a competitive Pinot Noir tasting, to test our palates, judge our wines, and enjoy good food, wine, and company. We had two flights, double-blind -- one with all 2006 Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs and one with all 2006 Russian River/Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. At the end, we took a vote on everyone's top three favorites in the flight. Here is what we found:

1) Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs - all pleasant, fragrant, nice wines. A lot of similarities between the wines - enough so that we all had a very difficult time picking our favorites.
- 2006 Londer Vineyards Paraboll
- 2006 Copain Kiser En Bas
- 2006 Papapietro Perry Charles Vineyard
- 2006 Breggo Cellars Ferrington Vineyard
- 2006 Charles Vineyard home wine (the ringer)
- 2006 Brogan Cellars Morning Dew Ranch
- 2006 Foursight Wines Charles Vineyard

The results? Brogan Cellars was the clear winner of the group, with concentrated fruit in the nose and mouth and comments ranging from strawberry, cherry and chocolate to simply "yum." This was followed by Londer, Copain, Breggo, Foursight, Papapietro Perry, and the home wine. I was very proud to say that I picked out both the Papapietro Perry (from our vineyard) and the Foursight Pinot as my favorites. I just knew, when I tasted that hard-candy strawberry and cherry and the purity of the fruit (and no overbearing oak) in both bottlings that they came from our vineyard.

We also took a look at the price per bottle. All of these wines were well over $50 a bottle, with the exception of the Papapietro Perry at $49 and the Foursight at $46 (as it's our first vintage, we priced ourselves deliberately lower than virtually any other single-vineyard bottling from Anderson Valley). Regardless of the quality of the wine, you have to build your reputation first. Oh, and the home wine was priced very fairly at free.

2) Russian River and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - overall, a lot more alcohol and oak than on the Anderson Valley flight. In fact, "hot" was the number one descriptor for this flight of wines, even though we had some list-only heavy-hitters in the group.
- 2006 Joseph Swan Cuvee de Trois
- 2006 Kosta Browne Russian River
- 2005 Charles Vineyard home wine (a ringer)
- 2006 Kastania Vineyard Reserve
- 2006 Loring Wine Co. Graham Family Vineyard
- 2006 August West Graham Family Vineyard
- 2006 AP Vin Kanzler Vineyard

The winner was the AP Vin, followed by the Loring Wine Co. The fruit was well balanced, no overbearing oak as compared to many in this flight, nice mouthfeel and lingering finish. Overall, nicely made wines. These were followed by the Kosta Browne and the Charles Vineyard home wine, then the Kastania and a tie for the Swan and August West.


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