The Pinot Noir Wine Tasting

So it has been a while since my last post. Did The Chicago Wino sober up? Did he quit the life of tasting for good? Is anyone still reading this at all? Well for my one reader the answer is that my professional life got busy (what pays me to taste) and I have had little time to write. Even with the demands on my time I managed to squeeze in a little time to drink. In fact, I was part of a blind Pinot Noir wine tasting and was shocked with what I learned! I listed what I had in order below. Remember as you read I only knew I was drinking a Pinot Noir.
Name: Youngberg Hill
Year: 2004
State: Oregon
Area: Willamette Valley
Location: McMinnville
Variety: "Jordon Block"
Price: $27-$38
Thoughts: The color was a medium ruby and has a crisp texture with light cinnamon and spice undertones. I tasted blueberry, raspberry and plum notes with a hint of cherry pie. The flavors are deep and flow from beginning to end. It was aged for twelve months in neutral French oak barrels to let the fruits qualities shine. The Natasha Block was OK (fairly well balance). This will drink best from now through 2016.
Name: Panther Creek
Year: 2003
State: Oregon
Area: Willamette Valley
Location: McMinnville
Variety: "Shea Vineyard"
Price: $35
Thoughts: The color was deep ruby with a nose of rose petals and warm blackberries. I tasted sweet red and black fruits and orange peel. This was good but I was not in love with it. At this point I preferred Youngberg.

Name: Rodney Strong
Year: 2008
State: California (Northern)
Area: Sonoma County
Location: Russian River Valley
Variety: "Estate Vineyards"
Price: $20
Thoughts: The color was light ruby, supple in texture, with rose petal and strong smoky aromas. This medium bodied wine is aged entirely in small French oak barrels, which adds a subtle, toasty vanilla character and a hint of spice. This pinot noir will hold nicely over the next 2 to 3 years. The smokiness was a bit overwhelming for me and I still preferred Youngberg at this point.

Name: Walter Hansel
Year: 2007
State: California (Northern)
Area: Santa Rosa County
Location: Russian River Valley
Variety: "Cahill Lane Vineyard"
Price: $45
Thoughts: This was a plum color with aromas of cranberry and light smoke and some spice. The wine displays a nice, light smokiness, medium to full body, good acidity, and a long finish. This wine is on the richer side of the varietal, creamy, and has a long silky finish. This will drink best from now through 2016. This scored the best thus far but I felt Youngberg was just as good.

Name: Hitching Post (yes from the movie, Sideways)
Year: 2006
State: California (Southern)
Area: Santa Barbara County
Location: Santa Ynex Valley
Variety: "Highliner"
Price: $56
Thoughts: This was fragrant, delicate and clean, with spicy berry, and cedar. This will drink best from now through 2011. I apologize but my notes were not great with this one but this scored lower than the others.

Name: Hitching Post
Year: 2006
State: California (Southern)
Area: Santa Barbara County
Location: Santa Rita Hills - Various
Variety: "St Rita's Earth"
Price: $26
Thoughts: A rich purple color with aromas of ripe cherries. This had warm flavors of berry and spice that linger. This wine flatters the palate with its silky texture and burst of cherry, currant, cola, spice, orange tea, and smoke flavors. You can drink this now through 2012.

Overall Thoughts: The winner is Hitching Post, 2006 Pinot Noir “St Rita’s Earth”. What?!? Not one from Oregon? For years I have loved Oregon, maybe almost at a fault! What have I missed? How could this happen? Well it did. Now keep in mind I loved the $26 bottle over the $56 bottle. I learned a lot (mainly I have more to learn), had a blast blind tasting, and again realized you don’t have to spend a lot to get a great bottle of wine! Get yourself a bottle of Hitching Post’s 2006 Pinot Noir “St Rita’s Earth” and tell me what you think of it!



Anonymous said...

That sounds like it was a lot of fun! I am going to attempt something similar. Thanks again TCW, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

That was enjoyable to read & well written! Thank you!
I look forward to my next blind tasting so that I too will have more knowledge of how to appropriately & fairly judge every aspect of each individual wine.

Colleen S.

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