Terrane Pinot Noir 2011

Wiley Vineyard,  Anderson Valley, Mendocino, CA; 13.5% ABV
$6.99 @ Corvallis, OR, Sept. 23
Produced and bottled by Harrington Wines 

Terrane[1]This is an extremely unusual Pinot Noir, IMO.   Outside of my normal taste preferences.

At first pour the wine appears cloudy.  I was concerned it had gone bad.  It was an unusually dark plum color for Pinot and there were quite a bit of tiny, fizz-like bubbles apparent in the wine.  Having never experienced effervescence in pinot noir and subsequently learning that should never be the case, it warranted further research.  It’s possible the bubbles were why it materialized itself as cloudy.  This appears to be a sign of secondary fermentation (possible lack of proper filtering of the yeast and sugar before bottling).  This article refers to the “re-fermentation” process (which until this wine, I’d never experienced before) under the “Re-fermentation” or “Detecting Faults in Wine Tasting” headings:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_fault#Refermentation

In any case, it is worth noting that it’s possible that, in affected bottles, the cork will blow or in worse case scenario, the bottle can explode.  I only purchased one bottle so I have no idea if this is a single bottle issue, however, after reading more on the subject, I doubt it.

This is an unfortunate turn, because the wine appeared to have such promise.  The fragrance was a combination of rhubarb, cranberries, cinnamon and conifer resin.  So unique. It made me want to taste it (and I did).  The taste was very tart but not unpleasing.  It was fruit forward but not at all sweet.  In fact there was a bit of astringency that came with the tartness and after tasting it again on day two, I suspect this was another result of the fault. It was a little heavier bodied, possibly due to the effervescence, than the Pinot Noir I’m used to but I wouldn’t even call it a medium bodied wine. More like medium-light.  It tasted very much like its fragrance. And this is why I wondered, instead of being sure, whether the wine was flawed.  On first opening, it tasted fine,  tart verging on sour but oddly refreshing. However…we saved the rest of the bottle (vacu-vin) to see how it fared on day two.

On day two I was surprised to find that the wine was still cloudy.  Surprised that the bubbles were still present en force.  We didn’t drink it.  We tasted it and discovered it had definitely moved from tart to sour. I am given to understand that it’s possible for wines with this issue to taste fine at first but eventually they will taste bad.  We think that’s what happened here.

All in all, it was a promising wine that we liked at first taste however it unfortunately has to be given a thumbs down, because of its flawed nature and the possibility of injury due to the pressure on the cork or bottle, from the secondary fermentation.

[ed. note: This is the first post by our new contributor PermiesWorld, better known as frequent commenter PW.]

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19 thoughts on “Terrane Pinot Noir 2011

  1. Guest

    I purchased this wine on Sep 20 and it was “still” for one week before opening last night and serving at 55 degrees. It was exactly as described–cloudy and slightly “spritzy” with a rather odd taste. We poured it into one red wine balloon glass and another pinot noir (2011 Banshee) into a 2nd glass. Looking down from the top, the bottom of the 2nd glass could be seen through the wine but not the Harrington Terrane. Thus, waiting to settle did not clear the wine. Thank you for the education.

    Reply
    1. permiesworld Post author

      Hello and welcome 🙂

      Thank you for weighing in on this. And it’s good to know that it wasn’t just travel that caused it to act this way.

      I was wondering where you purchased your bottle? Many of us have questions as to whether this is an entire lot wide issue or just some of the bottles/dregs etc.

      Reply
      1. Guest

        Bottle was purchased at Portland’s Hollywood GO. Also purchased two 2012 pinot noirs from Harrington, one also from Anderson Valley. Have not tried them.

        Reply
        1. permiesworld Post author

          Hello again,
          Thanks for the response! It’s good to know it wasn’t just the Corvallis store shipment then.

          I just picked up the Harrington Wiley Vineyard/Anderson Valley 2012 PN. Probably try it in the next day or two. Check back and let us know what you think of yours, when you have it.

          Reply
  2. BargainWhine

    Seedboy said at 12:39pm on 26 Sept:
    This concerns the Terrane pinot noir. I’m unable to find a “reply” link on that post so I’ll put it here.
    I am pretty sure that the wine is cloudy because it was neither filtered nor fined. I don’t mind that but it does create a risk that something that might otherwise have been filtered out will cause spoilage. One way to combat that is to add sulfur. However, he does not add sulfur to these wines. http://harwine.wordpress.com/terrane-no-sulfite-wine/1229-2/ The result is what you see in this review.
    If I find a bottle of this I will buy it. The cloudiness does not bother me. I’d drink it pretty quickly after opening it.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine

      PermiesWorld replied 4 minutes later:

      Really interesting info Seedboy. I didn’t find any information regarding this wine not being filtered or fined. I did see the note that they don’t add sulfur. If you do try it, I’m interested in your thoughts. Honestly, this wine was such an anomaly. It’s been days of trying to figure out whether or not the bubbles were an actual fault or deliberate.

      Reply
    2. BargainWhine

      G. L. Pease replied at 1:34:

      It’s a bold move to use NO sulfite in wine production. There are all manner of nasties that can outcompete the microflora we WANT in the wine, and minimal sulfite treatment is a good strategy to keep them at bay. CO2 during cold soaking and inoculating with hardy yeast strains and ML bacteria are other techniques that can help. The wine, though, should be quite clear before bottling. Either it sits long enough in barrels for particulates to settle out, or it’s fined to help the process along. If it’s cloudy when bottled, all manner of things can happen. If the cloudiness is due to viable yeast cells, and there’s sufficient residual sugar present, the yeasts can do their thing with a secondary fermentation in the bottle, resulting in fizz. Over time, this should settle out, as well. Most PNs will go through malo-lactic fermentation at the winery to soften the acids and give a more velvety mouth-feel. If it’s not completed, and the bacteria are still viable at bottling, it can happen in the bottle. Not a good thing. If the fizz and cloudiness is a result of MLF in the bottle, the result shouldn’t be tartness, but it’s also not likely going to be very appealing.

      All in all, I’ll be looking for this one, just to give it a try. With bottles like this, sometimes letting them sit for a couple days before opening will settle things out. The shaking from transportation can do nasty things.

      Reply
      1. permiesworld Post author

        Hey G.L. Pease, that’s very interesting info. If you do pick up a bottle, please post your thoughts. Again, this is something I’ve not come across until this bottle so it’s been, across the board, a new experience for me.

        Fwiw, it only sat for about 8 hours before opening. I purchased it in the morning and then we had it with dinner. On the other hand though, the following day, it looked every bit the same. That was approx. 32 hrs after transport. Normally when I order wines online, I leave them for 2 weeks before trying. Just to let them get over travel shock, but the distance from the store to my house wasn’t far so I never considered doing that.

        Reply
      2. lim13

        Very deftly explained, G.L. As Seedboy mentioned, he doesn’t mind cloudy…and to some extent neither do I. But cloudy and fizzy concerns me. I had a number of situations where we would report in the morning to the wine and liquor shops where I worked and find broken glass and wine everywhere of the shelves…secondary fermentation in the bottles. A wine drinking buddy of mine also had this experience, but in his wine cellar. I also had an old friend who owned a winery here in WA, who never used sulfites in production. Many times his wines were “dirty” and would fizz in the bottle…sparkling wine good…Cabernet, bad! He also had a penchant for not thoroughly cleaning his barrels, which resulted in similar circumstances…sparkly, foul-tasting wines. So if you do indeed find a buy a bottle of this Pinot, please share your experience.

        And PW…welcome to the blog as an “official” contributor! We’re so happy to have you. Hope it’s fun for you.

        Reply
        1. permiesworld Post author

          Thank you, Lim.

          And thank you for the further information on this subject. I actually wish you could see this wine IRL and render an opinion. I suspect it’s exactly as you say but I’d still like to know what you think first hand. OOC, do you believe this will be a constant between the other bottles available? Or perhaps just with the bottle I had? Or with the lot at our store? (I’m just curious…)

          Reply
          1. lim13

            If it ever makes its way north, PW…I’ll grab a bottle for the experience. In terms of whether it’s one bottle affected or many…I believe at some point you heard that there were only 25 cases produced. That would be about one barrel of wine. If the barrel was unclean or secondary fermentation was still in progress, then the entire production could be fouled. If just the last of the bottles had yeast drawn into them from the dregs, then the problem may be far less of a problem. We need more reports to determine the extent. I wrote to the folks at Harrington wines about the issue, but have heard nothing back so far.

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              I’ve talked with this winemaker a few times. That is why I said unfiltered and unfined. I wonder why we’ve not seen this wine in California, he makes it in San Francisco, and the most logical conclusion is he sold it off because it was flawed.

        2. G.L. Pease

          Ack! Not cleaning barrels should be a sin against all that is holy in wine making. They tend to harbor brett, and other nasties. Steaming, cleaning thoroughly, sulfur candling, all important cleanliness steps towards cleanliness. When you spend serious money on good grapes, taking silly risks is, um, silly.

          We’re just approaching the end of this year’s crush, I’m up to my eyebrows in sanitation. I can tell you, it’s a pain in the arse, but the downside of not being vigilant can be vicious. No sulfite AND dirty barrels is a recipe for disaster.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            As to your last sentence, G.L……absolutely! But some folks, in the name or organics and doing as little as possible to “interfere” with the “natural” process, do not protect their product.

            I also have to add, Seedboy…the last thing I’d want to do is sell off a flawed product. Doing so can totally turn off a whole lot of perspective long term customers. I’ve seen it happen. It can be a huge financial bite…especially for a tiny vintner. But it’s just about a lose/lose situation anyway.

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              I’ve seen it at GO before, someone selling off a flawed vintage: the 2000 Kasmer and Blaise pinot noir, the Sky zinfandel. These small operators need to convert wine into money and just take the risk that GO purchasers have a small overlap with their normal market.

          2. permiesworld Post author

            Interesting Seedboy, I wish they had more info on their website, but thanks for the further info.

            G.L…completely agreed. OOC (and forgive me if you’ve mentioned it before) what vineyard/winery do you represent? I’ve really found your information useful and now you have me wondering what wines you are working on.

            Lim, I agree, I think it would be a bad business move to sell off flawed wine. Just because I wouldn’t be likely to try another vintage if I knew that was the case.

            Reply

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