Pinot envy

Summer sausage was on the menu in more ways than one last weekend when the boys gathered on the deck for Pinot Night. Amidst sharp ripostes about driver’s licenses’ listed weights and whether the wine or someone’s nose was corked, we dived into a whole lotta pinot noir.

The “apertifs” almost stole the show. We’re talkin’ delicious chardonnays from Kistler (Hyde Vineyard ’08) and Wind Gap (James Berry ’10), a juicy, sexy albariño (Lagar de Fornalas “Lagar de Cervera”) and, appropiately for the occasion, the mouth-watering Novy Willamette Valley Blanc de Pinot Noir.

The coolest thing about the “main course” was the expansive array of styles. Sean Thackery’s massive Devil’s Gulch Marin County “Andromeda” ’03 was almost too hot to handle, and was joined at the “big boys’ table” by Martinelli Blue Slide Ridge ’01 and the humongo Aubert UV Vineyard ’07. Providing a welcome counterbalance was the almost lean Eyrie Reserve ’03.

We had some nice face-offs from the 2008 vintage: Ken Wright Guadalupe vs. Ken Wright Savoya (a draw), and Sea Smoke Southing vs. Ten (the less expensive Southing had more body and depth to this palate).

And while the Williams Selyem Precious Mountain ’06 was simply stellar, I still am finding that winery’s single-vineyard offerings less interesting that the appellation wines (in this case, a simply gorgeous, multilayered Sonoma Coast ’05)

But my favorite comparison/contrast included one of Oregon’s perennially best bottlings and the lone red Burg of the night. I am loath to call any American wine “Burgundian”; the soil and climate and practices are just different. And while the Bergström Cumberland Reserve from the spectacular 2008 vintage had all the stuffing and most of the elegance of a classic Burgundy, the fruit was darker and, for lack of a better word, bossier than in the Nicolas Rossignol Volnay ’05.

The Volnay was the wine of the night for me and many others. But I’d love to have, at the next Pinot Night, all Burgundies except for the Bergström. The guess here is that it would be a contendah.

Leave a Reply