Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2007 Californian Pinot Noir

The phenomenon of the cult wine started in California. The recipe seemed simple: The wine had to be low volume. As volume increases, distribute it over many different wines with terroir being the theme. Produce a 'Parker' wine i. e. highly concentrated, ripe and alcoholic.Sell only through the mailing list and a few restaurants, create a waitlist. Charge a high price.

Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa was the wine this was first done with, and with some justification, as these wines compared well to Bordeaux wines in blind tastings.In the last ten years, people have started to try this with Pinot Noir as well. How good are these difficult to get wines?

Over the last few days I tasted two difficult to get Pinot Noirs from the much heralded 2007 vintage from Sonoma, the heart of Californian Pinot Noir.

The first wine is the 2007 A.P. Vin Kanzler Vineyard Pinot Noir. This wine has some of the traits described above, and in a negative way. It is overly ripe, sugary and plump. Yes, there are concentrated cherry flavours, but they are not very varietal. The ethereal characteristic, found in exciting Pinot Noirs, is totally absent and the finish is not long.

Score: 89/--  (I could have scored this less, but my personal view is in the second measure)

The second wine is the 2007 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This is a blended wine from Sonoma vineyards. There is a lot of hype about this wine at present, as the 2009 vintage just won the prestigeous 'Wine of the Year' against all comers by the Wine Spectator Magazine. - This is the better wine of the two. It displays dark cherry flavours, there is silkiness on the palate and some length in the finish. However, the emphasis is all on fruit, rather than savoury characteristics. This wine is pretty, but lacks the complexity and underlying secondary flavours of top Pinot Noirs.

Score: 92/+

I will drink more American Pinot Noir this year, and yes, I have a bottle of the 2009 Kosta Browne winner. I am interested to see if I come across a wine as good as some Australian ones. - This seems an outrageous statement, but it just shows the power of good marketing.

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