2012 Van Ruiten Pinot Noir Steamboat Vineyard $7.99

Van Ruiten Family Vineyards
14.5 % ABV
Purchased @ Salem, OR 10-9-2014

VanRuiten_PinotNoirI wanted to start this review with “we liked this wine”.  I thought I’d mention that first because secondly I’d like to point out that it’s absolutely nothing like what I’d consider a standard Pinot Noir.  Please look at the description because if you love traditional Pinot Noir, you may not find this as pleasing as we did.  As a side, we too love traditional Pinot Noir…among other things, but I do want to emphasize this wine is nothing like what I’d call “traditional or standard”.

Upon opening, we were really overwhelmed (in a good way) with the fragrance of fresh raspberries. It offered a very inviting bouquet. JoelA reviewed it in Guest contributions previously and mentioned it’s “musty nose & velvety texture”. While we didn’t get the “musty nose” we certainly noticed the very glycerin-like body of this wine, giving it what I’d call a medium-body, quite unlike the normal lighter bodied Pinot Noir that I’m more used to.

If I’d tasted this in a blind test, I’d have guessed it was a blend of Syrah and Merlot. Syrah because of the spiciness (cinnamon and a hint of clove was evident in the taste) and Merlot for the medium mouthfeel and silky richness.

It was quite fruit forward (think raspberry and cherry cola) bordering on lightly sweet. Yet, it was incredibly tasty.  JoelA did mention that the alcohol heat was evident and I completely agree.  It was a lot warmer than I expected for a Pinot Noir.

I’m giving it a thumbs up simply for the taste (and I will be buying more if it is still available).  It was quite an enjoyable wine, even if I wouldn’t have known it was a Pinot Noir.

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24 thoughts on “2012 Van Ruiten Pinot Noir Steamboat Vineyard $7.99

  1. lim13

    Bought a bottle of this today to give it a try. I find it slightly strange that it’s vineyard designated (Steamboat Vnyd), but also designated California rather than Lodi. Their website says the vineyard is in the San Joaquin Delta, which appears to include Lodi. But I would usually expect to see the designation be Lodi. Of course the label says that’s where the winery is located. Anyway…will report back when I get around to tasting it.

    Reply
    1. permiesworld Post author

      I ended up buying several of these. I still think it’s so odd for PN (and we have had a slight bottle vacation in the 4 bottles we’ve consumed) but we liked it enough to want some extra stock. I’ll be really interested your thoughts.

      Reply
    2. Don Bevins

      I bought a pinot at the winery a year or so ago. I am sure that the same vineyard was on the label. The vineyard is actually in the Clarksburg area if memory serves.
      Just a note to add, a Hogue 2009 Reserve Merlot is about the only new wine of note in the Sac/Roseville area.

      Reply
        1. JoelA

          A map of the Lodi AVA shows that its western border is Interstate 5, so that grapes grown in the Sacramento River Delta (which includes Clarksburg) are not in the Lodi AVA. But the winery is.

          Reply
    3. lim13

      Opened my one bottle of this PN tonight…and my notes: Brilliant pale ruby color; nose (as with color) is definitely Pinot, showing seriously candied cherry fruit, like the hard coating on a candied apple. In the mouth, it’s sweet…like residual sugar sweet, not sweet oak. And it’s a cloying sweetness that I’m not really enjoying. The varietal black cherry flavors aren’t bad but the sweetness is annoying. Almost comes across as a light dessert wine. I’m guessing that this was a very ripe Pinot. No more for me, thank you.

      Reply
      1. permiesworld Post author

        Wow, in reading that, I would have never tried this Pinot Noir at all…I loathe cloyingly sweet wines. Didn’t get that at all with ours. So bizarre. The only variation we got was that one bottle with a bit of musty nose that blew off.

        Reply
      1. lim13

        I believe it too was $7.99, but don’t quote me on that! Thanks for the link. Sold out at the winery, I see. Because they sold most of it to GO? I may be “forced” to try a bottle…and a bottle of the Pinot. Think I’ll wait to hear what Seedboy has to say about the Pinot.

        Reply
  2. Pingback: Revisiting old friends | PermiesWorld

  3. lim13

    Now available at the Silverdale, WA GO, though Lodi Pinot does scare me a bit…so I’ll likely pass and wait for the next cooler climate PN from GO.

    Reply
  4. JoelA

    Actually the wine has an aroma (after the musty odor blows off), taste and texture reminiscent of better quality Bourgognes (Burgundies) or lighter-bodied wines from the Cotes de Beaune – except for the high alcohol, which is a bit jarring. To me the nose indicates 100% pinot noir. But I don’t know what the velvety taste is due to.

    Reply
    1. permiesworld Post author

      Interesting, JoelA. How do you think it compares with Oregon Pinot Noir (I’m much more familiar with them than Burgundy)? I find most of them to have a far more subdued nose and a much less fruity & more earthy (frequently with a lot of black, green or white pepper and grass, none of which I tasted in this) taste. Again, I like this wine very much.

      How did you find it on day two? You mentioned the jury was still out, did you ever settle on whether you actually liked it or not?

      Reply
      1. JoelA

        I found it fine on days 2 and 3, except for the alcohol burn, which, of course, doesn’t go away. I have had a few Oregon pinots, but far between each, so can’t compare properly Wines from Burgundy can be grassy or earthy but don’t usually tend to have a pepper component..

        Reply
        1. permiesworld Post author

          Thanks Joel. I was wondering. Ours didn’t actually make it to day two. After reading your Burgundy comments, you’ve made me want to explore that region further. We have such a wealth of nice Pinot Noir here in Oregon that it’s never really been an area that I’ve felt lacking.

          And Seedboy, I hope you do. To me, it’s an interesting wine because it’s out of character (in comparison to the ones I’ve had) and yet it’s successful. .

          Reply
    2. permiesworld Post author

      Joel, we had this tonight (3rd time) and it was the first time I noticed that musty smell that you noted. There is a slight bit of bottle variation with this one, IMO.

      Reply
  5. editgrl

    Interesting. Years ago, during a media jaunt to the Lodi wine region, when there were ony 40+ wineries instead of the gazillion there are now, I was quite taken with a Van Ruitten rose. I do not now remember the varietal, but much of the description of this wine reminds me of that, from the mouthfeel to the raspberries. I’ll have to check and see if it’s available down here.

    Reply
    1. permiesworld Post author

      Hello editgrl,
      Thanks for weighing in with your experience with the Van Ruitten Rose. If you do find it, be sure and post, I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this. I did some reading up on Van Ruitten, since it is so odd for Pinot Noir to be grown in Lodi. They say that they grow it in the cool delta in order to keep the Pinot Noir from getting too hot. I found that quite innovative. I like their approach even if the end result is quite different from what I expected.

      In any case, I hope you are able to locate it. 🙂

      Reply
  6. permiesworld Post author

    I was happy to find that the Salem, OR store still had this. They didn’t have a lot. A few end-base cases (3 I think) but still, I bought 4 more bottles. Just different enough to enjoy it in the rotation.

    Reply

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