Russian Hill 2006 Pinot Noir “Tara Vineyard”

Russian River Valley, CA; 14.5% ABV
$7 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 24 Feb

RussianHill_2006_Pinot_TaraVinThere’s been a bit of excitement on this blog for a while about the impending, now recent, arrival of a collection of Russian Hill wines.  This is my first bottle of the few I’ve bought so far, and I thought it was quite good for the price.

I first poured off a single-glass screw-capped bottle for another night, and then just let the rest air slowly in the original bottle since there was very little or no sediment.  Initially, the wine shows lighter red cherry fruit and earthy orange and root beer of nice, aged  and gently funky Pinot Noir, finishing with acid that was a bit sharp or rough.  Although not too bad at first, I thought it got better after about 1:15 minutes, reaching its peak around 1:45 after opening.  At that point, the fruit dominated and was darker, sweeter, and richer, tasting predominantly of dark red cherry, redder plum, and dark red raspberry, with the other complexities now well integrated.  Even though it needed a bit of air, I thought at times that its acid hinted at the wine’s becoming too old, so drink up!

Tonight, I opened the saved bottle, and the wine initially was quite tart, although not in a too-old kind of way.  After it was open for 40 minutes or so, the fruit darkened similarly to how it did last night, and was very nice.  It was still a little on the acid side, so this is likely a good food wine.  In comparison to other GO Pinots of late, this is definitely worth the extra dollar more than the Swami, but a good bottle of Cima Collina is probably worth the dollar more than this wine.

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33 thoughts on “Russian Hill 2006 Pinot Noir “Tara Vineyard”

  1. GOWineLover

    Thanks for the comments. Bought 4 ’06 Estate Pinots, 2 Tara and 2 Syrahs from Pleasant Hill. Fairly certain they are sold out. Had the Estate with dinner last night and enjoyed it. Can’t go wrong with any, I’m sure, for $5.

    Reply
          1. Darrell

            I couldn’t get a mess of the much sought after 2006 IO Upper Bench Syrah because I hadn’t been checking out Grossout then and by the time I heard of the run on it, I was too late, but if it’s any consolation, I may have the only case bought at a 20% discount. I am aging mine, too.

            Reply
  2. lim13

    I hafta’ admit, I’m gettin’ pretty bored reading all the comments about these wines that we’ll likely never see up here in WA state.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      Lim and PW, I hope to assuage any R.H. Syrah and Pinot envy by saying you aren’t missing a whole lot since GO has had similar QPR syrahs and pinot at GO. The reason for the many comments is that there was a limited quantity and the different bottlings. Many of the commenters and tasters want to clarify as quickly as possible for the blog readers what’s available, where and how much plus in SB’s case, the depletion rate, or not, of certain wines.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I was in the San Jose downtown store this morning, no sign of these. On the other hand, Oakland still has Cima Collina pinot.

        Reply
    1. EHL

      Tried a bottle of the RH ’01 Windsor Oaks Summit Syrah last night.

      Upon opening, the cork was black with a bouquet of ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit rimmed by vanilla oak and pepper notes. The wine itself was a very dark rich purple, full-bodied, and opulent in taste and mouthfeel…big and bold dark fruit balanced by firm tannins, with a long, lingering finish.

      The WE review of it 11 years ago summed it up well, as the tannins have calmed down and softened over the elapsed decade. (http://buyingguide.winemag.com/catalog/russian-hill-2001-windsor-oaks-summit-shiraz-syrah-syrah-sonoma-russian-river-valley)

      Touche’ SB…”amazing,” indeed…even on the second day!

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Okay! Okay! I finally gave into group pressure and went and got a bottle! Berkeley store is down to a few cases.

        Reply
        1. EHL

          BW…I’m surprised, why didn’t you get a bottle of the ’01 Windsor Syrah and ’06 Estate PN on your first trip down since you picked up four…could’ve saved some gas…

          Just kidding…

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Indeed. I had been trying to resist getting all the ones Seedboy had recommended, so I could have some space for other bottles that I’m sure will look interesting. However, I have now definitely failed. I even got one he didn’t recommend. Maybe I’ll eventually get to write about some other wines, but I expect I (at least) will enjoy the time until then. 🙂

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              If ” I even got one he didn’t recommend” is referring to the 2006 RH Leras, I wouldn’t worry too much. It wasn’t overly oaky and the PN nose came through as well as the flavors, but it is a nuanced PN with some complexity and one must deeply inhale to enjoy it. It is a lighter bodied wine, especially compared to the 2005 Leras.

        2. Darrell

          BW, I was hoping the Syrahs you first picked up included had the ’01 Windsor Oaks Summit. It’s different than the rest of the syrahs.

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Hi Darrell. That 2001 Windsor Oaks Summit Syrah has received so many recommendations at this point that it hardly matters if I drink any, right? However, I will still indulge myself with one bottle. How do you guys get to sample so many, so quickly?

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              BW, I don’t think you have to crack open a bottle. The one overriding characteristic that I am finding everybody mentioning and doesn’t appear in the other bottlings is the pepperiness which I describe as spiciness and toast. I think you know how I do the AB comparisons and I will mention these comparisons under the Tara PN blog despite the inclusion of the RH Syrah. I must admit doing these comparisons at one or two sittings is a mite easier than a cigar evaluation which I am getting into. Should Berkeley or Oakland run out of the 2001 RH Windsor Oaks Summit Syrah, SF has it at $5.99 a bottle for those of you willing to pursue it.

            2. Darrell

              BW, I forgot to mention that just go ahead with your evaluations of the bottles of RH wines and I will post under them.

  3. dluber

    I ran into Mr. Robert Seeds Monday night at the Berkeley store, and he kindly gave me the lowdown on the Russian Hill wines as I was surveying the stack. I got one of each except the Leras pinot and took a case of the 2001 Windsor Syrah on his recommendation. That was delicious, drinking very smoothly now with still-vivid fruit but some nice aged complexity. Enjoyed the 2006 Estate pinot tonite and would say it’s neither funky nor rough and more sweetly fruited than you describe for the Tara, but yes on the darker fruit side but with a nice waft of cinnamony 5-spice in the nose. No signs of being over the hill.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Greetings DL! By “funky,” I just meant there was a small amount of typical Pinot funk. In the Tara, I’d say there was also a slight spice component I couldn’t quite nail down. I hope you will post your thoughts on this wine when you open your bottle. And thank you for your seconding the recommendation of the 2001 Windsor Oaks Syrah. I still have not met Mr. Seeds in person.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I think the Estate pinot is a better wine than the Tara. I’ll note that at Oakland they have put some of this out on the store shelves, and there is still a lot of this left at Berkeley (although they are running low on the 2001 Syrah).

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          I guess the 2006 Tara isn’t doing too well if it’s ending up on the shelves. I am not that enthralled with the Estate Vd. because of the wood being stronger than in the 2006 Tara, 2006 Leras and 2005 Leras. The Tara, 2006 Estate, 2006 Leras were $4.99 and the 2005 Leras, $5.99. In buying these, I have to search my tasting memory banks for previous GO PN and assess the QPR of those to the Russian Hill selections. The non-estate PN was OK, but why spend the same $4.99 when the vineyard bottles can be had at the same price.

          Reply
    2. Darrell

      BW, I, too, have yet to bump into Mr. Seeds. I haven’t heard from you in regards to my communication to you. I might be ending up in your Spam.

      Reply
      1. JoelA

        I may have bumped into any of you without knowing it. The only ones I’ve met are BW and Eric, and that was so long ago I think I’ve forgotten what they look like.

        Reply

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