2010 Pinot Paradise Technical Seminar (Yeasts) and Grand Tasting

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PINOT PARADISE 2010 (TECHNICAL SEMINAR ON YEAST INFLUENCES, AND GRAND TASTING) – Villa Ragusa, Campbell, California (3/28/2010)

This was my third year in a row to attend the morning technical seminar and afternoon Grand Tasting of Pinot Paradise, an annual showcase for Pinot Noir grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The technical seminars, attended largely by winemakers and vineyard owners, have been very informative the last couple years, and this one, on yeast influences, and winemaking with native versus inoculated yeasts, was possibly the most enlightening seminar yet. The Grand Tasting featured 38 producers, and I made it to all but one of them (I missed Sonnet, whose reps finished pouring and left about an hour and a half before the tasting ended). I tasted a total of 79 Pinots at the Grand Tasting, and an additional 14 wines, mainly barrel samples showing the influences of different yeasts, during the morning seminar.

What I learned about yeast influences on Pinot Noir, and the relative merits of using native versus inoculated yeast for fermentation, from excellent presentations during the four-part, three-hour seminar (which I then carried through in the grand tasting, and my questions to winemakers there), can be summarized as follows:

• The yeast that does the bulk of the job of converting grapes to wine is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Unlike other yeasts, Saccharomyces c. is resistant to high alcohol levels and the sulfites used to kill or suppress other yeasts and microbes during winemaking.
• Several extensive studies have found no or virtually no Saccharomyces cerevisiae either in the field, or on grapes when they are harvested.
• Lots of other yeast types and microbes are present on grapes in the field – species that do bad things to potential wine, such as Kloeckera apiculata (the most prevalent yeast on grapes), Candida, Pichia and Schizosaccharomyces – but these things are suppressed by the effective use of sulfites prior to fermentation and sufficient heat during the fermentation.
• Kloeckera, in particular (which accounts for 50-90% of the yeast on grapes when they are picked) will, if not suppressed, begin the fermentation process and take it to about 3 to 4% alcohol before dying off due to the alcohol. In the process, Kloeckera produces quantities of ethyl acetate (smells like nail polish remover), amyl acetate (banana peel odor) and acetic acid, as well as other unwanted products, meanwhile stripping the juice of the nutrients, especially vitamins, that Saccharomyces c. needs to grow and take over a fermentation.
• Although Saccharomyces c. doesn’t live in the vineyard, it does live and thrive in a winemaking facility, and strains established there will persist despite extreme attempts at sterilizing the environment to remove all yeasts. Thus, if wine has been made at any time in a facility, that facility will be thoroughly colonized by Saccharomyces c., which will enter the grapes as soon as they are crushed there.
• In a brand new winemaking facility, if no cultured yeast is added and no used containers (e.g., barrels previously used for fermenting wine) are brought in, the first fermentations will either spoil, become stuck, or the few Saccharomyces on the grapes will eventually grow enough to take over. From that time on, grape juice not inoculated with cultured yeasts will pick up the resident Saccharomyces in the winemaking environment.
• It is therefore misleading to refer to fermentation that does not rely on inoculating with cultured yeasts as “wild yeast” or “natural yeast” fermentation, as virtually all yeast is “natural,” and fermentation is not the result of yeast found in the wild, or on the grapes in the vineyard, but due to the Saccharomyces that have taken up residence in the particular facility where the wine is being made. It is more accurate then to refer to such fermentations as “spontaneous” or “uninoculated,” and to the yeasts involved as “ambient” rather than “wild.”
• Fermentations in established winemaking facilities that rely on ambient yeast generally do not result in stuck fermentations (Big Basin’s Bradley Brown reported only one stuck fermentation out of 200 fermentations to date, and Paul Draper at Ridge and Bill Dyer at Sterling have relied on ambient yeasts for many years without stuck fermentations). If SO2 is not employed at the beginning of fermentation, however, there will be a certain amount of Kloeckera-induced fermentation that will yield some unwanted products, such as higher VA levels, than fermentations in which such activity has been blocked by SO2.
• Cultured yeasts, especially used in combination with SO2 at the beginning of fermentation, have a more predictable outcome, and individual strains of Saccharomyces c. (such as Assmannshausen, RC212, Montrachet and Fermirouge), will contribute particular attributes to the finished wine, such as greater color extraction, more structure, blue fruit flavors and/or more complex and appealing aromas. (We sampled several Pinots fermented with different types of yeasts, but that otherwise had most other elements–e.g., vintage, vineyard, soil, oak treatment–in common, and there were noticeable differences in keeping with the predicted influence of that particular yeast on Pinot.)
• Wine can be successfully made either by relying on ambient yeast or adding a single type of cultured yeast. More complex flavors and attributes can be achieved in a given Pinot, however, by separately vinifying batches with a particular cultured yeast, and then combining the results in a thoughtful blend.

Seminar on Yeast Influences and Yeast Types for Pinot Noir – Part 1

Big Basin proprietor and winemaker Bradley Brown speaking on fermenting with native yeast
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The thrust of Bradley Brown’s portion of the seminar was that there have been a few studies that have shown the presence of a very tiny amount of Saccharomyces on grapes in the vineyard, and that Big Basin has been successfully making wine without inoculating with cultured yeast for some years now, with only one stuck fermentation (due to super ripe sugar levels in fruit from Paso Robles that led to such high alcohol levels that they killed the ambient yeast involved in the fermentation). He insisted that one needs really clean fruit to do native yeast fermentation, otherwise you get a lot of species of things that will affect the fermentation. It’s therefore not a workable practice for large commercial production, or for operations that don’t have the time or equipment needed to do careful picking and some sorting. He also admitted that, due to the fact they cold soak the fresh picked grapes for 3 or more days without SO2, and don’t use any SO2 until after the secondary fermentation is completed, the VA level on their wine is typically above ideal levels, but well below objectionable levels (i.e., the standard level in inoculated yeast fermentation is 40-50 parts per million; in Big Basin wines it averages about 70 parts per million; for most people, high VA doesn’t become readily detectable until it reaches about 100 ppm).

The two barrel samples of Big Basin Pinot we tasted were from different vineyards, but Bradley offered them to demonstrate that wines made with ambient yeast tend to have a full mouth feel and solid texture. He indicated that they generally do inoculate to induce the malolactic fermentation, if the must doesn’t begin malolactic on its own. He also opined that, while the term “wild yeast” may be appealing from a marketing standpoint, he feels the term “native” yeast is more accurate for what causes their uninoculated fermentations.

  • 2009 Big Basin Vineyards Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyards – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Barrel sample – Dark cherry red color; reticent plum, earthy black cherry nose with a hint of eucalyptus; tart plum, berry, eucalyptus palate with good balance and full mouth feel; medium-plus finish 90-93 pts. (recently completed malo, a year or more away from bottling; Dijon 667 & 115) (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Big Basin Vineyards Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyards – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Barrel sample – opaque dark cherry red color; berry, cherry nose; tart cherry, tart red fruit palate with good acidity; medium finish 89-91 pts. (recently completed malo, a year or more away from bottling; Dijon 667 & 115, with some whole cluster) (89 pts.)

Seminar on Yeast Influences and Yeast Types for Pinot Noir – Part 2

In the 2nd portion of the seminar, John Schumacher, proprietor and “wine shepherd” for Hallcrest Vineyards, tasted us through six samples of Hallcrest Pinot in which one each of three different cultured yeasts had been used on grapes from two different vineyards. I don’t think John ever did ultimately name the vineyards our samples were from, but there was a noticeable kinship between the yeast pairs that went a long way to making a case for the noticeable yeast influence on Pinot (e.g., my favorite samples both turned out to be produced with Assmannshausen yeast, which gave them both a floral quality to the nose, and an elegance on the palate, that made them stand out as against the other samples; the RC212 samples were also marked by the intensity of their fruit). My TNs on those samples are as follows:

Vineyard 1
#1A (Assmannshausen yeast) – very dark cherry red color; deep berry, cherry, floral nose; rich tart berry, cherry palate with balance and depth; medium finish 90-92 pts.
#1B (BM45) – very dark cherry red color; berry, earthy nose; tart berry, cherry rounded palate; medium finish 89-91 pts.
#1C (RC212) – very dark cherry red color; deep berry, berry syrup nose; deep, intense, tart berry, cherry palate; medium-plus finish 89-91 pts.

Vineyard 2
2A (Assmannshausen) – very dark cherry red color; berry, cherry, floral nose; big, tart berry, tart cherry, elegant palate; medium-plus finish 90-92 pts.
2B (BM45) – nearly opaque dark violet color; earthy, berry nose; more restrained, tart berry palate with high acidity; medium finish 88-91 pts.
2C (RC212) – very dark cherry red color; earthy, charcoal, tart cherry nose; rich, intense, tart cherry palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 89-91 pts.

    Seminar on Yeast Influences and Yeast Types for Pinot Noir – Part 3

    Lisa Van de Water, Yeast Expert
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    This was the most informative and persuasive presentation of the seminar, since Ms. Van de Water, who founded the Wine Lab in 1975 in Napa, and who is currently working with Vinotec Napa, has spent 36 years studying yeast strains and the mechanisms of fermentation, as well as the phenomena that take fermentations off track (hence her nickname, “The Bad Wine Lady”). The bulk of the bullet points summarized above were derived from Ms. Van der Water’s presentation. Her great PowerPoint presentation included actual microscope photos of the different kinds of yeasts, and she had lots of practical pointers for winemakers on avoiding the impact of potentially damaging yeasts, and how to get fermentations back on track when they start to go wrong. She joked that the title she wanted to use for her presentation was “Yeasts Gone Wild.” She also gave a great historical perspective on the use of cultured yeasts, going back to when Montrachet and Pasteur Champagne were the only two yeasts available.

    Ms. Van de Water explained that there are currently over 200 commercial strains of yeast. Of those, one of the ones most commonly used these days for its beneficial influence on Pinot is Assmannshausen, which has an enzyme that stabilizes color. She advised against mixing commercial strains in the same fermentation, as their combined impact can be highly unpredictable. She explained how to get nitrogen levels up to the point that they provide the needed nourishment for Saccharomyces, using a complex supplement and not just DAP. She advised against ever adding yeast in dry form, or at temperatures that are too cold, and would therefore kill it. She also urged winemakers to add enough yeast, minimum 15 grams per hectoliter, and preferably 20-25, and not to just expect it to work properly in small amounts. What one should see when fermentation starts, she explained, is an active fermentation, with clean, yeasty aroma, and regularity to the drop in brix, such that it can be plotted on a graph. If you smell ethyl acetate, sulfides or bananas, there’s a problem, she advised.

    One of Ms. Van de Water’s funniest slides advised, “Never trust a microbe.” She explained that Pinot Noir is more susceptible to brett than red varietals with higher tannin, because a low tannin environment allows brett to grow more rapidly, and because Pinot is higher in micro-nutrients than other red varietals.

    In sum, Lisa Van de Water gave us a clear understanding of the process of fermentation, and the various agents involved in promoting it as well as those that can complicate it and take it off track.

      Seminar on Yeast Influences and Yeast Types for Pinot Noir – Part 4

      La Rochelle Individual Yeast Bottlings
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      The Santa Cruz Mountain Winemakers Association reached out to a non-member, La Rochelle Winery in Livermore, for the fourth and final segment of the seminar, allowing us to sample single yeast bottlings of finished wines that helped give us a clear experiential sense of the influence of particular yeasts on the same batch of Pinot. Tasting through the six samples, which were not identified until the end, also clinched the argument in favor of using a blend of grapes fermented in individual batches with particular yeasts as the way to create a final product with more complexity and depth than any of the single-yeast bottlings alone.

      La Rochelle winemaker Tom Stutzt walked us through the six samples, and described what he views as the influence on Pinot of each of the cultured yeasts he employs.
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      • 2007 La Rochelle Pinot Noir L2056 Yeast San Vicente Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
        Dark cherry red color; rich berry, blackberry, blueberry nose; rich, berry, blackberry, oak palate; medium-plus finish (this is a yeast recommended for Zin, that brings out blue fruit expression in Pinot, along with color stability and viscosity; tasted this at yeast technical seminar at Pinot Paradise, and I understand it’s also been available at the winery for tasting; one of 5 yeasts used in final blend of ’07 San Vicente Vineyard Pinot Noir) (91 pts.)
      • 2007 La Rochelle Pinot Noir T306 Yeast San Vicente Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
        Medium dark cherry red color; odd, oak, earthy hose; tart cherry, rhubarb, oak, brett palate; medium finish (this is a yeast first isolated from Pinot Noir fermentations in Australia, and thought to highlight exotic fruit notes; tasted this at yeast technical seminar at Pinot Paradise, and I understand it’s also been available at the winery for tasting; one of 5 yeasts used in final blend of ’07 San Vicente Vineyard Pinot Noir, but its use was discontinued after 2007) (87 pts.)
      • 2007 La Rochelle Pinot Noir RC212 Yeast San Vicente Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
        Medium dark cherry red color; big berry, oak, cherry nose; tart cherry, tangy palate; medium finish (very popular, much used yeast for Pinot, seen as promoting structure and an elegant nose; tasted this at yeast technical seminar at Pinot Paradise, and it’s currently available as a bottling on the winery’s website; one of 5 yeasts used in final blend of ’07 San Vicente Vineyard Pinot Noir) (89 pts.)
      • 2007 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Fermirouge Yeast San Vicente Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
        Dark cherry red color; berry, oak nose; rich, tart cherry, floral palate; medium finish (yeast favored for bringing complexity and density to wine, as well as its ability to create a complete wine, with elegance, intensity and structure; a very demanding yeast though, that always needs feeding, i.e., with nitrogen and other nutrients; tasted this at yeast technical seminar at Pinot Paradise, and it’s currently available as a bottling on the winery’s website; one of 5 yeasts used in final blend of ’07 San Vicente Vineyard Pinot Noir) (90 pts.)
      • 2007 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Montrachet Yeast San Vicente Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
        Medium dark cherry red color; berry, oak, charcoal nose; one-dimensional, ripe cherry, tart cherry palate with structure; medium finish (this is an older yeast that has been used a long time for Pinot, typically employed for tannic structure, fruit intensity, tighter fruit expression, and the ability to reinforce dried cherry flavors; tasted this bottling at yeast technical seminar at Pinot Paradise, and I understand it’s been available for tasting at the winery; one of 5 yeasts used in final blend of ’07 San Vicente Vineyard Pinot Noir) (89 pts.)
      • 2007 La Rochelle Pinot Noir 5 Yeast Blend San Vicente Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
        Dark cherry red color; complex, tart cherry, tart berry, vanilla nose; tasty, most complex palate of the San Vicente yeast trial Pinots, showing tart berry, cherry, a touch of blue fruit, with balance and depth; medium-plus finish (blend of 20% each of five different yeast trials vinified separately: L2056, T306, RC212, Fermirouge and Montrachet) (92 pts.)

      Grand Tasting Wines

      The stars of this year’s Grand Tasting were, for me, the “usual suspects” amongst Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot producers: longtime favorites Mount Eden and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, whose wines have an established track record for being long aging, as well as Windy Oaks, Muns and Woodside. Other producers whose wines showed particularly well this year included Beauregard, Big Basin, Pelican Ranch, and two impressive ’08 barrel samples from Nicholson. All in all, it was another convincing demonstration that the relatively cool climate and high altitude Pinot vineyard locations in the Santa Cruz Mountains make it a formidable source for characterful and ageable California Pinot.

      Prior to the start of the public Grand Tasting at 2 pm, I participated in the VIP guided tasting from 1 to 2 pm, that continued the theme of the influence of yeasts on Pinot Noir, by trying barrel samples and finished wines with different yeasts from Big Basin, Burrell School, Hallcrest, Windy Oaks and Alfaro.

        Ahlgren

        Alfaro Family

        • 2006 Martin Alfaro Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Light medium red color with clear meniscus; cherry, rhubarb nose; juicy tart cherry, rhubarb palate; medium finish (fermentation by spontaneous, indigenous yeast only) (89 pts.)
        • 2007 Martin Alfaro Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium cherry red color; floral, raspberry nose; raspberry, cherry, menthol palate; medium finish (fermentation with RB2 yeast) (89 pts.)
        • 2007 Alfaro Family Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyards – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium dark cherry red color; reticent berry, black berry nose; berry, blackberry, spice palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
        • 2007 Alfaro Family Pinot Noir Lindsay Paige – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Dark cherry red color; berry, black cherry nose; tasty, wild berry, berry, spice palate; medium-plus finish 90+ pts. (20 mos. in barrel) (90 pts.)

        Armitage

        • 2008 Armitage Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Oak, big black cherry nose; supple, black cherry, cherry palate; medium-plus finish (pre-release; producer is winemaker for Roudon-Smith Winery, Brandon Armitage) (89 pts.)

        Bargetto

        • 2007 Bargetto Pinot Noir Devery Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium dark cherry red color; oak, menthol nose; menthol, eucalyptus oil palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
        • 2007 Bargetto Pinot Noir Reserve Regan Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz County
          Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; cherry, baked cherry nose; ripe black cherry, berry palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

        Beauregard

        Big Basin

        Black Ridge

        • 2006 Black Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Very light red color; cherry, oak, raspberry nose; simple, cherry, oak, vanilla palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
        • 2007 Black Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Deep berry, sweet oak nose; deep berry, sweet oak, black cherry palate; medium finish 88+ pts. (88 pts.)
        • 2008 Black Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample – floral, raspberry nose; interesting floral, cherry, sandalwood palate; medium finish 88-90 pts. (expected to bottle in Nov. 2010) (88 pts.)

        Burrell School

        Byington

        Clos LaChance

        Clos Tita

        • 2007 Clos Tita Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Dark cherry red color; red fruit, cinnamon nose; big cinnamon, red fruit, cherry palate; short-medium finish (84 pts.)
        • 2007 Clos Tita Pinot Noir Cuvée – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Dark cherry red color; cherry, oak nose; ripe and baked cherry palate; medium finish 86+ pts. (86 pts.)

        Domenico

        • 2006 Domenico Wines Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Tart cherry, oak nose; tart cherry, oak palate; short-medium finish (85 pts.)
        • 2008 Domenico Wines Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample – cherry, blue fruit nose; simple baked cherry palate; medium finish 86-87 pts. (86 pts.)
        • 2009 Domenico Wines Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample – primary, cherry nose; cherry palate, better than the ’08 barrel sample; medium finish 87+ pts. (87 pts.)

        Hallcrest

        • 2008 Hallcrest Vineyards Pinot Noir Vista Del Mare Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample 1 (Assmannshausen yeast) – black fruit, floral, berry nose; tight, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 88-91 pts.
          Barrel sample 2 (BM45 yeast) – mountain blackberry, berry nose; big, tart berry, wild berry palate; medium finish 89-91 pts. (BM45 is a yeast used a lot with Zinfandel and Merlot)
          Barrel sample 3 (RC212 yeast) – floral, roses, tart cherry nose; tasty, tart cherry, tart raspberry palate with depth; medium finish 90-92 pts. (89 pts.)
        • 2006 Hallcrest Vineyards Pinot Noir Vista Del Mare Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium red color with pale meniscus; red fruit, floral, oak nose; tasty, deep, berry, wild berry palate; medium-plus finish 90+ pts. (blend of 3 different yeasts, separately fermented: Assmannshausen, BM45 and RC212) (90 pts.)
        • 2005 Hallcrest Vineyards Pinot Noir Upper Block Terra Serena Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Rich cherry, berry, blackberry nose; blackberry, berry palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

        Heart O’ the Mountain

        Hunter Hill

        • 2008 Hunter Hill Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Dark cherry red color; berry pie, boysenberry syrup nose; boysenberry syrup, berry pie, black cherry palate; medium-plus finish (88 pts.)

        Kings Mountain

        Loma Prieta

        Mount Eden

        • 2006 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Very light red color; strawberry, red fruit, cinnamon nose; tight, tart red fruit, cinnamon palate; medium-plus finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
        • 2007 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium red color with pale meniscus; baked cherry, eucalyptus, forest floor nose; tasty baked cherry, eucalyptus, forest floor palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)

        Muccigrosso

        • 2006 Muccigrosso Vineyard Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium dark red color; earthy, tart red fruit nose; simple red fruit palate; medium finish (served very cool – to hide faults, or did it result in hiding complexity?) (88 pts.)
        • 2007 Muccigrosso Vineyard Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium dark cherry red color; oak, herbal nose; tight, eucalyptus, tart cherry palate; medium finish (served very cool – to hide faults, or did it result in hiding complexity?) (88 pts.)

        Muns

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        • 2006 Muns Vineyard Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Light medium red color; floral, hibiscus nose; tasty light-medium bodied, floral, hibiscus, orange spice palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
        • 2005 Muns Vineyard Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium red color with pale meniscus; floral, hibiscus nose; light-medium bodied, floral, hibiscus, orange spice palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)

        Nicholson

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        • 2008 Nicholson Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Reserve – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample – dried cherry nose; dried cherry, red fruit, subtle oak palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 91-92 pts. (91 pts.)
        • 2008 Nicholson Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample – very light red color with clear meniscus; smoky, dried cherry nose; refined cherry, dried cherry palate; medium-plus finish 92-93 pts. (92 pts.)

        Pelican Ranch

        • 2007 Pelican Ranch Pinot Noir Deer Park Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium red color with pale meniscus; baked cherry, incense nose; tasty, baked cherry, orange, red fruit palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish (needs 2-3 years) (91 pts.)
        • 2007 Pelican Ranch Pinot Noir Remde Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium cherry red color; floral, orange, hibiscus, oak nose; deep baked berry, black cherry, orange, spice, anise palate; medium-plus finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)

        Pleasant Valley

        Regale

        • 2007 Regale Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium dark cherry red color; unusual mint, eucalyptus, blue fruit nose; eucalyptus, mint, tart blue fruit palate; medium finish (89 pts.)
        • 2008 Regale Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Barrel sample – medium dark cherry red color; deep berry, baked berry nose; deep berry, baked berry palate; medium finish (for late Spring release) (89 pts.)

        Roudon Smith

        • 2007 Roudon Smith Pinot Noir Private Reserve – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium dark cherry red color; baked cherry, black cherry, vanilla nose; baked cherry, black cherry, berry, vanilla palate; medium finish (86 pts.)

        Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards

        Sarah’s Vineyard

        • 2007 Sarah’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Clara Valley
          Dark cherry red color; nice ripe cherry, spice nose; silky textured, oak, tart cherry, spice palate; medium finish (88 pts.)

        Silver Mountain

        Soquel

        Storrs

        • 2007 Storrs Pinot Noir Christie Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Baked cherry, floral nose; baked cherry, brown sugar palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
        • 2006 Storrs Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Raspberry, chocolate nose; cherry, raspberry, chocolate palate; medium finish (88 pts.)

        The Mountain Winery

        Thomas Fogarty

        Trout Gulch

        • 2007 Trout Gulch Vineyards Pinot Noir La Source – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Berry, baked cherry nose; berry, baked cherry palate; medium finish (87 pts.)
        • 1999 Trout Gulch Vineyards Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Mature, earthy, cherry, iodine nose; mature, earthy, cherry, iodine palate; medium finish (86 pts.)
        • 1990 Trout Gulch Vineyards Pinot Noir – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Light bricked red color with clear meniscus; mature, mushroom nose; mature, mushroom, iodine palate; medium finish (87 pts.)

        Vine Hill

        Vino Tabi

        Windy Oaks

        • 2007 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir Wild Yeast – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Light medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; nice baked cherry, dried cherry, expressive, baking spice, oak nose; tasty, lovely cherry, tart cherry palate with largely integrated vanilla oak; medium-plus finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)
        • 2007 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          From 375 ml – very light red color; sandalwood, baked cherry, bright red fruit nose; tart cherry, strawberry, oak palate; medium-plus finish (largely RC212 yeast with some Assmannshausen yeast fermented barrels) (91 pts.)
        • 2007 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir 100% Whole Cluster – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Light medium red color with clear meniscus; nice strawberry, incense nose; rich, Burgundian, strawberry, incense palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
        • 2007 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir Henry’s Block Schultze Family Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Very light red color with clear meniscus; tart strawberry, sous bois, menthol nose; tart cherry, mineral, red fruit, forest floor palate; medium-plus finish (100% Wadenswil 2A clone) (92 pts.)

        Woodside

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        • 2006 Woodside Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
          Medium red color with pale meniscus; ripe cherry, red fruit nose; tart red fruit, tart cherry, mineral, forest floor palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
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