Cima Collina 2009 Pinot Noir

Chula Viña Vineyard, Monterey County, CA; 14.3% ABV
$8 at the Oakland, CA, store on 5 Nov.  Also at Richmond.

CimaCollina_2009_ChulaVinaPNThis looked like a pretty interesting Pinot Noir, but I waited until the start of the sale today to get a bottle.  In the sale post, Darrell commented today, “The Cima caught my eye because it was grown in the Gabilans, an area not mentioned too often when Monterey County is mentioned. These mountains are on the eastern side of the Salinas Valley and gets the evening sun whereas the Santa Lucias get the morning sun and the shade later in the evening. The texture is on the lighter side, delicate like some Burgundies. Might be up BW’s alley.”  For the first hour this wine was open, after poured into a decanter, I thought, “Up my alley?!?  OMG, this thunderingly stampedes down my alley!”

The wine showed lovely, dense but also delicate, complex flavors of slightly tart to ripe or even gently dried tangy cherries, earth maybe a little rusty, dried orange peel, with good Pinot funk.  The fruit was ripe, but not in a cough-syrup cherry kind of way, still nicely balanced by zingy raspberry acid.  It was amazing.

However, after about an hour in the decanter, the wine simplified and acidified, showing a slight tang of getting too old.  So I’d say that if you’re going to drink it soon, especially sharing it with others so it gets finished quickly, this is great stuff.  However, I’d guess it will keep going downhill fairly quickly, so drink up any you get.

33 thoughts on “Cima Collina 2009 Pinot Noir

  1. EHL

    Finally got to taste this highly-regarded wine from the couple of bottles I picked up during the sale for $6.40 a piece.

    Hmmm…when first opened, I noticed right away that my bottle appeared to be slightly cloudy, not brilliant in clarity, and ruby-brick in color with a medium-body. Not sure whether this was because the PN was advertised as unfined/unfiltered, although I didn’t see significant sediment in the rest of the bottle. Whenever I have experienced hazy red wine before, bad things usually follow.

    The nose, however, allayed my initial suspicions, weaving an enticing perfume of dark cherry, raspberry and rose petals, tied together with a light-handed pinot funk. The flavors deliciously mirrored the bouquet, delivering a very tasty, elegant and restrained, well-balanced wine over the three days that I enjoyed it!

    This boutique winery, producing only 26 estate barrels of this PN vintage, truly deserves its moniker as artisan. I rate the ’09 Cima Collina right up there with a sound bottle of the Russian Hill ’06 Estate PN and the Sanctuary Bien Nacido PN — elite wines.

    A remarkable bottle and bargain for $6 and change…and the very reason why we continue the hunt at GO…

    1. JoelA

      Finally decided to open my bottle. I agree with the comments that find it fairly spicy and/or acidic, somewhat light in body, brick red in color and should be drunk yesterday.

      1. Darrell

        “There are no great old wines, only great bottles.” While this saying doesn’t quite apply to GO wines, I think bottle variation is rearing its head here. I have said before that I trust most of our tasting abilities on this forum and most of the differences in opinion I think are due to bottle variation. If you read SB’s notes on this wine, which he really enjoys, they aren’t consistent and I don’t think due to SB’s tongue and nose and definitely not due to aging within the time frame we taste wine here. At some opportune time I will relate an aging experience I just had that was in the extreme.

        1. seedboy

          I do agree there is bottle variation on this. How much of that is due to the wine itself and how much is due to other factors I can only guess. A few years ago I attended a dinner where we all brought a bottle and all were served blind. Two of the same wine were poured and they tasted very different.

            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Hi Joel. I believe Darrell means this recent post in GC. You can search that page with control-f to search within the page, although now that I started using page breaks, you might have to go through a few pages to find what you’re looking for. If you went to GC and used control-f to search for Darrell, this is what turns up first.

            2. JoelA

              OK. I see it. Well, my experience isn’t that dramatic, except for the wine.

              I came to the Bay Area in 1975. At that time the highly touted cabernet vintage was the 1970 one. I bought some Louis Martini of that vintage, which I enjoyed. Then came the even greater vintage of 1974. That was the year that Joe Heitz shocked the world by raising the price of the Martha’s Vineyard cabernet to the unheard-of level of $ 25. I had tasted it but didn’t care for the very minty flavor. So I bought a bottle of the cabernet that I liked best, which as I recall, cost perhaps $ 10 or so.

              I put that bottle away for a special occasion. I have done that a number of times, usually not finding a special enough occasion and then not opening the wine, fearing that it was too old.
              So this bottle sat downstairs as the years passed.

              A short while ago we had a group of good friends (who also appreciate wine) for dinner. We plan to be moving sometime in the near future and I have curtailed my wine tasting and buying in order to drink up our wine rather than having to move it. I asked our friends if we could still be friends if I served a wine that likely was not only way over the hill but probably also way over the next hill. They said we could still be friends.

              The wine, 1974 Conn Creek Napa Valley cabernet, was still fantastic! Excellent fruit and oak still on balance with a nose that you could almost smell across the room and a great finish to boot. Best Napa cab I have had in a long long while.

            3. Darrell

              Your friends are lucky. If the Conn Creek was about $10, that wasn’t cheap. The 1974 Caymus was $5 a bottle then. East Bay passive cellaring shouldn’t be underestimated. I guess Conn Creek used decent corks.

            4. lim13

              I still have two bottles of the 1970 Louis Martini Cab, Joel. That vintage was released later than usual as a tribute to Louis after he died. We were limiting it to two bottles per customer in the Spring of 1975 when it was released in our stores. Employees had to wait until all customers got their allocated share on the first day of release. The price tags are still on my bottles…$2.95.

              By the way, I had our five couple wine group over for a tasting last weekend…theme was “Sideways”, so I served six Pinots and six Merlots from my cellar. Three of the Pinots were old Oregon wines…a 1985 Eyrie Reserve, a 1988 Lost Mountain (made by a WA winery) and a 1987 Knudsen Erath Reserve. The 1988 showed unexpectedly quite well. The other two were well past their prime and less than spectacular. No one liked them. My credo remains, “If you like how they taste NOW…drink them NOW!

            5. seedboy

              Lim, love the old Martini cabs. The 1973 from magnum was delicious a year ago. Sadly though I’ve had no luck with the 1970 regular bottling, although I do have fond memories of the 1970 Special Selection.

  2. seedboy

    I opened another of these last night. This was the first one I’ve opened that seemed off. Fruit was very shy. It still tasted ok though.

  3. editgrl

    I bought a bottle of this during the sale and just got around to opening it last night. I was surprised at how robust it was but loved the dark cherry notes. It was certainly not as fruity as I had anticipated, but thought it was nicely balanced. We drank it over the course of a couple hours, and I didn’t notice any decline, but judging from other comments here, would probably not open this if I thought it wouldn’t be finished in one evening. I will be going back for more.

  4. G.L. Pease

    I picked up a bottle of this today, and will be going back to get more tomorrow. I found it rather tight upon opening, showing a very slight hint of Brett, but it evolved into something very charming and delightul by supper. I’m just tasting again, from about a half bottle left with the cork in slightly for three or four hours, and it is brilliant. Yes, the acidity is more pronounced, but in a good, fresh way. The brooding dark fruit, which I actually found just approaching overbearing in the beginning, has turned into something more complex and the nose is all pinotlicious, now, with that special funkiness that’s so appealing. The ripe dark cherry has stepped aside, and become more of a tart, dried version. This wine actually surprises me for coming from Monterrey. I expected something a little less robust. Not fining or filtering this was definitely the right winemaking decision. It’s got character and charm. Now, I just have to find room for another damn case of Pinot…

    1. GOWineLover

      I agree with all assessments here. I saw the oldest notes regarding this wine (can’t remember from whom) and really loved that early, pinot funk. It’s a beautiful brick red color, too, that I don’t see in the fruitier pinots. It’s a nice contrast to the Hill Carneros.

      1. Franguccio

        Bought as many as i could find (only 3 bottles ) after tasting the first..Hit all the right notes for my palate….and better then Meomi in my opinion…I have one bottle left. Will it hold up if I lay it down for a few years?

        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi Franguccio and welcome. I’m glad to hear you also liked this Pinot a lot. However, I doubt it will hold up for much longer.

          1. Seedboy

            I agree with BargainWhine. I tasted this wine yesterday, it is holding up well but I am planning to drink it all up within a year.

    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi GL. Thanks for your enthusiastic comments, including the suggestion to put the cork back in the bottle between pours. I had saved a single-glass screw-cap bottle of this wine (very little air) and opened it tonight. It was a little simpler and more acid than it was on the first hour last night. However, it was still quite good, and since I had no trouble consuming it in under an hour, I may have to get another bottle or two since it survives this well stored for a day.

      1. G.L. Pease

        One thing to keep in mind that a significant amount of oxygen finds its way into the wine through the transfer, assuming you’re just pouring it in the split. Of course, there’s plenty of air getting to the wine in the original bottle from pouring and sitting, but it’s less than it sees being splashed and funneled. I tasted again tonight after the bottle had been sitting for 24 hours. The wine has certainly suffered a bit, but not as much as I’d expected based on tasting it this morning. Acids are more pronounced, and the fruit seems to be packing up for holiday, but it was still drinkable, and not as oxidised as expected. I do think this is one to open and drink, though.

        1. Darrell

          Hmmm, GL, are you British or Commonwealth? I ask due to your spelling of “oxidised” which just now came up on spellcheck. Anyway, now for a tutorial on rebottling of half bottles. I don’t like any oxygenation of my rebottled wines, usually reds, and I have been doing this for decades. I used to be very careful when decanting by tube into a half bottle, no splashing, end of tube in the wine so there is no air beaten into the wine and no air headspace when driving in the cork. Still there would an oxidation of the wine, some wines more sensitive than others but still a change. After all these years it finally dawned on me to behave like a winery and use inert air for rebottling. I have mentioned the use of inert gas to BW, but he doesn’t mind the change in the wine since he is evaluating the change with oxygen. I happen to use Dust Off, an electronics duster, to blow out the air in the empty half bottle and then decant by tube like I always had and then cork the bottle even with gas above the wine, and I think one can splash the wine all one wants and not worry about oxygen being beaten into the wine. The bittering agent to discourage inhaling doesn’t affect the wine that I can tell. On some nights I become lazy and don’t want to decant or my wife and I will drink more than a half bottle and so there is less than a half bottle of wine in the original bottle. Just blow out the air with the inert gas and cork the bottle loosely and you will find the wine changes very little for the next day. This has been a boon for my drinking rebottled halves; I don’t worry about having to drink them up so soon.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi PW. That sounds like a good suggestion: don’t decant. What happened was… I bought this bottle this morning and, when I got it home, I set it in a case box tilted at around 45 degrees. Just by this evening, there was a decent amount of fine sediment collected in the bottom corner of the bottle, so I decanted it off that sediment. Nonetheless, not decanting and just leaving the sediment in the bottom of the bottle — my understanding is that Pinot sediment does not taste bad — is probably the way to go.

      1. Expat

        My first impression was that it was a really nice, nuanced PN, very indicative of the Central Coast PN profile. I did notice it change over time and I agree with BW – this wine is best out of the gate and then it’s nuances seem to fade over time. Regardless you can’t beat it for the price.
        I got what BW did in terms of flavor notes, especially the cherry, but I actually did get some cherry cough syrup notes from this along with the pleasant pinot funk. I was really high on this upon opening but its stock did seem to sink the more I got into it. Later in the evening I had a little left and tried it with my grilled prime NY steak, – not a good match. It was nice with the mushroom risotto and sauteed asparagus but make sure you pair this properly. I had the 2009 Powder Keg Petite Sirah with the steak and it was better but lacked tannins like so many modern, American wines and couldn’t stand up to the steak.


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