Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir (Cork Dancer) by Hitching Post

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Cork Dancer) by Hitching Post , Santa Barbara Country, Califronia.

Today we take a look at an understated everyday Pinot for the everyday wine enthusiast. This wine presents great all around value. If your are looking for a great EDC (Every Day Consumption) wine, I recommend adding this to your cellar.

Deep ruby color. Crisp nose with notes of berry, subtle stone fruits and caramel stand out most. Body shows good balance with a mildly acidic attack followed by creamy tannins in the form of plums and dark cherries. Transition to finish is seamless, capped by mild, dry tannic grip and a hint of spice.

At 12.5% ABV it is a very mellow laid back experience. You can open a bottle by yourself and work your way through it over the course of your evening with minimal fuss. All this conspires to make this a very approachable and enjoyable wine. This is most definitely a pleaser. Nicely done guys!

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2016 Pinot Noir (Drum Canyon) by Dierberg * StarLane

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Drum Canyon) by Dierberg * StarLane

Deep ruby red color. Nose is restrained, well mannered, slightly warm, with notes of oak, berries, hint of sweet cherry all conspiring to create a very subtle red vines licorice. Terroir is also represented in the form of wet dusty leather. It maintains a classy posture overall. Interesting.

Body is representative. A very mild restrained acidic attack that is quickly accompanied by buttery smooth tannins. Very subtle oak and blackberry emerge towards the back to create a full mouth feel. A very faint black currant lends good structure and balance as it transitions to a brief finish capped by a hint of spice.

I reviewed the Dierberg Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir a while back and was absolutely enamored with it. One of my top California Pinot Noirs. Looking back at my notes I can some similarities and some differences. First this one is more medium bodied, slightly dryer more structured body. Where they resemble is the result of the winemakers attention to detail, commitment to excellence and adherence to core principles. The result is a world class California Pinot. I highly recommend this Pinot, particularly for the advanced palate, especially side-by-side with the Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir for a good perspective on this winemaker and his craft. Well done folks!

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Wine Review: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon by Prolific Vines

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon by Prolific Vines Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.

Rich inky color. Dark berries fill the air as soon as you uncork it. Closer inspection reveals a slightly warm nose with more plum and caramel and a hint of red vines licorice. A quick swirl unlocks a smoky, sandy, loam, earthy leather undertone.

Body is extremely composed, especially for a Cabernet Sauvignon of this age. The cooler climate shines here. Attack is mildly acidic but quickly accompanied by big, beautiful, buttery tannins, giving it a full mouth feel. Plum, blueberries and dark cherries dominate the fruit notes, bringing a great overall harmony. Transition to finish is seamless, adding subtle black currant and culminating in a dry tannic grip along with a healthy dose of lingering spice.

This wine is a fine example of a big, bold, layered California Cab. It does one better however. At 13.6% ABV it is very approachable. It does not come with the drama and baggage of most California Cabs today which hover upwards of 14.5-15% ABV. This is an honest, quality, artisan, wine. You won’t find wine like this anywhere else but off the beaten path. It is as I like to call it, Art in a Bottle. Only 109 cases produced. This is the kind of wine I treasure the most.

This is California Wine!

Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir (Babcock Vineyard) by Pali Wine Co

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Babcock Vineyard) by Pali Wine Co), Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast.

Intense ruby color. Bright nose with plenty of cherry, hint of sweet cherry and smooth almost butterscotch caramel. Swirl vigorously to unlock even more caramel. A slight wet sand mineral undertone lingers in the back.

This is a classic central coast Pinot Noir. A fine example at that. Body is very restrained. Medium to light with good mild acid on the attack, moderate buttery tannins create a clean, rounded mouth feel. Good separation keeps your attention without straying too far off balance. A tart blackberry slowly take over the transition to a slightly dry and spicy finish.

This is a one-time limited production using grapes from a coveted Vineyard. Exactly the kind of wine I love exploring. What I like about this winemaker most is their wines are true and representative of their origins. No two are the same. They present a great opportunity to explore varied regions and styles of Pinot. I look forward to exploring more of their wines. Well done Aaron and all of the lively crew at Pali Wine Co! 🍷😁👌🏽

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2016 Nebbiolo Reserve by Barboursville Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Nebbiolo Reserve by Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia, USA.

Restrained nose with clear hints of cherry and caramel. I don’t expect an overly complex experience from Nebbiolo. This one is no exception. It is a little shy on the nose. Aromas are clean, crisp and delineated. A fine leather undertone emerges once opened up.

This is interesting. Body is equally restrained, light, dry, void of any fruit. A very subtle herbal leather undertone carries through. It is very balanced. A hint of black currant quickly counters a mildly acidic attack. It is approachable out of the bottle. Once decanted (at least 20 minutes), a dry tannic grip emerges to dominate most of the body through a slightly tart plum finish capped with a little spice. A relentless dry tannic grip leaves the lips (and palate) parched and sealed shut. Further decanting reveals caramel notes throughout the body and finish. I suspect this is from the oxidation of tannins and the lack of any residual sugars which allows such subtlety to play out on the palate.

This wine has more of the posture of a Barbaresco which tend to be on the lighter more nuanced side (for a Nebbiolo) as opposed to a Barolo which are typically dark, heavy and leathery or a Langhe Nebbiolo which are typically dark, massive, mineral, tannic beasts.

While still clearly young, I suspect this wine will not change much over the next decade and beyond. The attention to detail shows here. Nebbiolo in this part of the world is a labor of love and a passion project. There is an adherence to core traditional winemaking principles here. It is a well made wine. The more I progress with this tasting the more I appreciate it. I am very curious to see what it is like after it’s had 10+ years to relax and further develop.

Watching the sunset in my backyard in California, I am exploring a Nebbiolo from Virginia and it is a serious wine. Less than two weeks ago I had no idea grapes grew in Virginia. This is an amazing time for a WineSnob to be alive. Well done Barboursville!

Tech Sheet

2016 Barboursville Nebbiolo Reserve

Fermentation: 7-9 days on the skins in stainless steel
Maceration:  10-15 days
Composition: 100% Nebbiolo
Aging: 12 months, French oak barriques, new 30%, used 70%
Analysis: Alcohol, 13.5%
Residual Sugar:
0.0%
Total Acidity: 0.62%

 

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Reserve: 2016 Carmenere by Lapostolle

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Carmenere (Cuvée Alexandre) by Lapostolle

Deep, dark, opaque color. Warm, thick heavy nose out of the bottle. Lots of black berries, hint of raisin, and an unmistakable black licorice reminiscent of Absinthe. Some good earthy leather underlies it all.

Wow! Just from the color and nose, I was prepared for a massive body. I am however taken back by how restrained the body is from start to finish. Greeted immediately by a good melange of mild acid and moderate tannins, both forming a well orchestrated chassis which guides you to all the way through the finish. Fine grained tannins reveal themselves towards the back. The fruit and licorice carries through from the nose albeit with a healthy dose of restraint. The body is more dry than not. A little minerality emerges. I suspect this may be contributing to the fine grained texture on the palate. Transition to a quick finish is almost seamless, dominated by this chewy, fine grain texture, dry tannic grip and a touch of spice which diminishes as the wine opens up.

This is more of a medium bodied wine posing as a heavy big bodied wine. It carries the hallmarks of a unique special wine. It is unconventional and makes no pretenses. It is clearly young and I can imagine how beautiful and nuanced it would be 5-10yrs from now. This is my first wine ever from the Colchagua Valley in Chile and I must say I am impressed and intrigued. I am reminded that somewhere in that corner of the world, someone is toiling away creating something remarkable.

I will be adding this wine to my cellar and very much look forward to how it develops over the next several years.

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Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir by Roger Roessler

 

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Lennox) by Roger Roessler Wines .

Clear, bright ruby red color. Bright nose with lots of cherry, leather undertone which upon closer inspection is definitely more silt like mix of dirt, sediment and sandstone. Definitely reminiscent of that signature Sonoma dirt.
Bright balanced body carries most of the characteristics in the nose forward. In addition a hint plum and black currant on the back provide good structure, composition and contrast to the cherry notes. Once opened up, subtle tannins turn creamy as they transition to a smooth clean finish capped with a hint of spice.

This wine is still young and should only get more nuanced over the next four or more years. As with most Pinot by this vintner, it will be a real gem around the 10 year mark. I just realized I have a case of this particular vintage in my cellar so it definitely didn’t hurt to explore it. My vertical goes back to its inception a few years before. His Pinot Noirs have forever changed the palates of many over the years.

Cheers Roger. Thank you for sharing your passion with us all. 🍷☺️🙏🏽

Wine Review: 2016 Cabernet Franc by Medeiros Family Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Cabernet Franc (Santa Clara Valley) by Medeiros Family Vineyards.

Late last year as we wrapped our year long rediscovery of the Fair Play and greater Foothills and South El Dorado Hills region we stumbled upon this humble winemaker as he was just moving into his new humble estate in Fair Play. After sharing some wine with him and hearing his story, I couldn’t be happier to welcome another talented winemaker to the region.

Nose is thick and full of berry, plum and an intense sweet cherry. Atypical for a Cabernet Franc. A subtle hint of leathery terroir lingers in the back. The body is fruit forward however not as much as the nose would suggest. The plum carries over into the body. This is a Cab Franc and I don’t expect more than two or three dimensions in the body. This one is no exception. However like a well built Cab Franc, what is does, it does really well. Excellent chassis provides good structure. Massive crisp tannic grip begins to dominate the affair before it’s over. Other than its ever tightening tannic grip the finish is dry, clean, and smooth. Great contrast. No spice. This is a classic California Cabernet Franc.

I look forward to following his work closely. 😁🍷🍷🍷

Wine Review: 2016 Pinot Noir by Bailarin Cellars

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Black Knight Vineyard, Sonoma Coast) by Bailarin Cellars.

Beautiful floral aromas accompanied by sweet cherry, a hint of oak and mineral terroir on the back (clay comes to mind). Once opened up, there is an unmistakable cigar-like tobacco on the nose. A well balanced body characterized by slightly tart plum. The fruit forward nose does not translate into a fruit forward body however. I like that. A hint of leather lingers in the background. Once opened up, a subtle black currant emerges. Creamy transition leads into a smooth finish capped with gentle spice. This is a high quality, well built wine. It is a classy medium bodied Pinot Noir. It is very interesting now and should be even more so given a few more years to rest.

Their tasting room is in the heat of downtown Sacramento. A refreshing option for the discerning palate looking for something a bit more refined. I will be posting more on them soon. Well done Bailarin! 🍷😁👌🏽

Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir by Sanford

Tonight’s occasion is a 2016 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills (Gravity Flow) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Sanford and Benedict Vineyard.

You know, it wasn’t until I visited this vineyard on my first visit to Santa Barbara wine country that I realized there is more than the popular “Big California Pinot”. If you aren’t familiar with it, this is the vineyard that showed California and the wine world at large that growing and making a delicate and exquisite Burgundian style Pinot in this region is possible. This one is no exception. The notes are so subtle, you probably should taste it before eating or drinking anything as they can easily be overwhelmed by anything else on your palate. I highly recommend their wines. They serve as a great benchmark for this region and California at large. What’s your occasion tonight?

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