2017 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Amrita Cellars

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Amrita Cellars, Santa Rosa, CA

Nose is very shy. Every note is little more than a whisper. Crisp raspberry, bright red berries overlay a subtle wet woody grassy turf. Red vines licorice eventually emerge as it breathes.

Body is balanced from front to back. Greeting with a very soft, silky mouth feel. Berries carry over albeit very restrained. Subtle citrus and cola like linger. Faint shadows of structure precipitate as the body fades into clouds and whiffs of the different notes. This show continues, slowly diminishing until there’s very little left on the palate but faint dusty grit and candle flames worth of warmth on winter night.

This is an very nice take on the classic Burgundian style of Pinot. It is very subtle. The average palate would likely find this too abstract and nuanced. However for the intermediate to advanced palate, it should prompt focus and quiet appreciation. I can also see this showing well as a chillable red. I think it’s impressive that such a small artisan wine can show such nuance and subtlety. Nicely done Sunny!

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WineSnob Discount

Sunny, owner/winemaker would like to invite you to taste his small batch production artisan wines. I think you should too, especially if you enjoy California Pinot Noir. You can order yours via their website Amrita Cellars (amritacellars.com) and use Promo/Discount Code WS2022 to get 10% off your order. A great opportunity to support a small artisan winemaker and explore another hidden gem off the beaten path. Be sure you share your thoughts and tasting notes with me.

2018 Pinot Noir (Twin Hills) by Reichwage Winery, Sonoma Coast

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir (Twin Hills) by Reichwage Winery, Sebastopol CA.

Clear ruby color. Slightly shy nose greets with a flutter of red cherries, raspberries and subtle cola. As it breathes a damp, driftwood emerges in the background. Swirling intensifies the nose ever so slightly. Cherries turn slightly sweet with the emergence of caramel notes. Ahhhhh that quintessential Sonoma Dirt makes an appearance along with a touch of red vines licorice.

Body is light, bright. In line with the nose, greets with a slightly crisp attack which quickly hands off to a slightly viscous body of crisp caramel, damp wood leather and bitter cola. Great soft mouth feel. Thin but firm tannins provides crisp structure from front to back. Body is bone dry. Fruit carries forward in mere suggestions of raspberry. Hints of mushroom linger in the back, so faint you’d likely miss it. After a long expression, body quickly vanishes, leaving a dry palate with cola, mushroom leather, crisp lingering tannic grip an mild spice warmth.

Everything is a mere suggestion. This wine is very subtle and nuanced in its expression. It was made in the vineyard and obsessed over in the cellar. Pinot Noir doesn’t lie. It is unforgiving. In a sense a rite of passage for a winemaker. This one is squarely for the advanced palate. More traditional Burgundian style while preserving its sense of place. It reads like an exercise in core principles. What a great, well made wine! Just beautiful…

Explore more of Max Reichwage’s wines here.

2014 Pinot Noir (3BBL) by Roger Roessler Wines

Tonight’s Occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir (3BBL) byΒ Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma CA.

Clear ruby color. Gentle, plush, aromatic nose. Earthy notes take center stage with wet wood, damp forest floor, a touch of that all too familiar Sonoma Dirt and Mushroom. As it breathes, slightly ripened cherries creep forward. Swirling vigorously intensifies, fruit and floral notes. A sweet cola makes an appearance. Beautiful!

Body is nicely balanced, greeting with a gentle touch of acidity which is quickly replaced with a smooth, silky, slightly viscous body. Paper thin layers of crisp tannin are laid down beneath layers of thin wisps of cherry cola, faint crisp caramel and viscous leathery essence. Transition to finish is characterized by the emergence of a gentle but firm spice towards the back. Body vanishes, leaving behind slightly bitter cola as crisp, clean tannins assert themselves amidst a gentle warmth.

This 3BBL is a blend of this vintner’s top Pinot from that vintage. Each vintage unique in its own expression. This vintage is a beautiful representation of the greater Sonoma region. It preserves this identity very well in an all around classy expression. If you haven’t explored Roger Roessler wines, I highly recommend them. They make for a great study, a compendium of Pinot Noir from up and down the Pacific Coast. I have been following their wines for well over a decade now.

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2016 Pinot Noir by Reichwage Winery, Sonoma Coast

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir by Reichwage Winery, Sebastopol CA.

Big bold intense color for a Pinot. Nose is shy out of the bottle. You can definitely pick up hints of that all too familiar Sonoma dirt. Nose develops a little more weight, berries and ripe cherries as it opens up. Damp woody dirt and red vines licorice move forward. Nose is very subtle and gentle.

Body is not as big as the color suggests but very much in line with the nose. Subtle, gentle, smooth expression. Ripe cherries greet the palate with a hint of acidity more in the form of a sweet citrus that is quickly smothered by a full, plush, soft mouth feel. Transition to finish is seamless leaving the palate slightly dry under an enduring spice warmth.

This Pinot is showing nicely right now. It is clean, well executed. It feels like a classic Pinot Noir, subtle, nuanced, smooth and balanced. It channels the terroir very subtly, gracefully retaining it’s sense of place. Now I’m curious to see how the 2018 vintage is showing now. That should be an interesting vintage right about now. Stay tuned!

Nicely done Max Reichwage πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

You can read more from my exploring of Max Reichwage’s wines here.

2018 Gamay Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Reichwage

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Gamay Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Reichwage Winery, Sebastopol CA.

Semi opaque color. Supple aromatic nose with notes of cherries, strawberries, wet soil, subtle oak and hints of butterscotch. Swirling vigorously adds hints of eucalyptus, herbs and mushrooms in the back. It is very reminiscent of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Very interesting. I love this region and how the terroir is expressed in this wine.

Body greets with a slight bright (read acidic) attack. This is quickly matched and superseded by a full, plush, creamy, integrated, medium bodied mouth feel. Prominent notes are mushroom, wet wood, dark cherries, and hints of sweet citrus (think Meyer Lemon). Fascinating that I pick up earth notes at the front like this. The only Gamay I have explored were from France (Loire Valley I believe) and I do recall them being highly terroir driven. This one falls very much in line albeit not as heavy, slightly more expressive fruit but more subtle overall – think more of a big California Pinot. Tannins are very restrained, almost unnoticeable, providing good seamless and integrated structure. After a long and wide body, transition to finish is seamless and swift, leaving the palate under a subtle dusty, buttery, fine grained grip and modest spice tingle.

I like this wine. It is rich. I can taste the dirt. This is a Gamay and a terroir driven one at that. This wine absolutely pairs well with itself but if you must, mild artisan cheeses should do just fine. A hidden gem for sure. I am impressed with Max’s work and I look forward to following him.

Nicely done Max! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Explore more of Max Reichwage’s wines here.

2011 Pinot Noir (Red Birds) by Roger Roessler Wines

Tonight’s occasion: 2011 Pinot Noir (Red Birds – Sonoma Coast) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma, California

Out of the bottle notes of damp forest floor and ripe cherries. As it opens up, the leather and earth notes only intensify. Dark cherry turns plummy. Swirling unlocks subtle bursts of sweet cherry cola. A very faint black licorice emerges in the distance. You’d almost miss it. I absolutely love the way terroir is expressed here. That signature Sonoma dirt really shines through and I cannot get enough of it!

Body has really come of age. It has had time to beautifully integrate. A soft balanced attack quickly ushers a smooth silky body. Light dark plum and berry essence carries over. Leather notes are equally represented. Crisp, restrained tannins provide great structure without dominating the palate. Body and finish are one with a linear fade. As it tapers off, notes of cola re-emerge as tannins reach out, gently clasping the palate rendering it slightly parched. But the real victor here is a gentle spice which grows with a subtle intensity after the finish.

I have been following Roger Roessler’s wine for well over a decade. Their all small batch production offering reads like a compendium of Pinot Noir from all up and down the pacific coast and makes for a great study for the curios and enlightened palate. There are many reasons we picked Roger Roessler Wines as our 2020 Winemaker of the year. This wine is one of them.

To the entire crew at Roger Roessler Wines, thank you for the great wines all these years!

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2018 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Martin Ray

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Martin Ray.

Bright rich ruby color. Beautiful nose out of the bottle characterized by wet sandy loamy leather. This quickly pulls to the back and gives way to berries and sweet cherries. There are faint tertiary herbal notes as well as a touch of sweet cola and the faintest hint of warm cedarwood. Swirl vigorously to revisit the whole affair. Nice!!!

Body shows good balance up front with a slightly milder acidity. Oak quickly moves to the front, as tannins introduce good structure. The oak is just enough to tease out a velvety, buttery, mouth feel. Berries and sweet cherries play secondary notes. It is fairly dry but this is initially masked by the oak play and fruit notes. A graceful transition to finish culminates in slightly dry tannic grip and a noticeable dose of spice.

This is a well made wine. My favorite part is the nose. I absolutely love that Sonoma dirt, and it shines through in this Pinot. I’m not the least surprised coming from this winemaker. At this price point (currently listed for $19.99 on wine.com) it punches above its weight and presents good value. It is a pleasant (and slightly playful) wine to sip and should appeal to a broad spectrum of palates. For the advanced palate, the nose and finish should tickle your fancy. Buy 6, buy a case. You can’t go wrong having a solid every day Pinot on hand. Nicely done Martin Ray.! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

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2016 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Bailarin Cellars, California

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! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½