Russian Hill 2006 Pinot Noir “Leras Vineyard”

Russian River Valley, CA; 14.3% ABV
$7 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 25 Feb

RussianHill_2006_Pinot_LerasVinAs I recall, this was Seedboy’s least favorite of the Russian Hill Pinot Noirs that showed up recently at many Northern California GOs.  (Only N. CA?)  At this point, I agree that I like it less than I liked the 2006 Tara Vineyard Pinot, but with the caveat that this might just need more age to become a more elegant Pinot than the Tara.

On the first night, I poured out a single-glass screw-capped bottle for another night.  For a good while, I did not like this wine very much at all.  It tasted a bit thin and acid, with an overall nature of artificial, tart candy.  However, as it slowly aired, the candy nature receded and the wine developed much more elegance and depth.  I think it reached its peak after around 3 hours in a decanter, when it showed dark red cherry, black raspberry, red plum, orange, cola, and still some lighter red raspberry.  This was all in a lighter body, elegantly delineated, and never quite becoming fully accessible.  I was hopeful the saved bottle would be so.

The next evening, that saved bottle still needed a good bit of air before showing lighter red flavors of classic Russian River Pinot Noir — earthy, darker red cherry, some lighter tart cherry, the same orange and earthy cola, supporting oak — still all very elegant and delineated.  I’m still not sure how much substance there is to this wine, but if you like the lighter and elegant style of Pinot Noir, I suspect this could amply reward a couple more years of cellaring.  So… a cautious Thumbs Up.


7 thoughts on “Russian Hill 2006 Pinot Noir “Leras Vineyard”

  1. RW

    I tasted three bottles of Russian Hill 2006 PN, purchased from Palo Alto store.

    Leras: Beautiful. It is definitely Pinot, but not too much Pinot. Well balanced, with complexity. I really enjoyed it.

    Tara: Good. Comparing to Leras, even less like Pinot. And, less complexity than Leras. A bit too heavy for a Pinot.

    Estate: Bad. It’s a bit over oxidized – it showed in the color, the smell, and the taste, though still drinkable. Maybe it’s just the bottle variation.

    1. Darrell

      RW, my bottle of Estate seemed better than yours, but your evaluation of Leras and Tara I agree with completely. I failed to mention the complexity of the Leras because of the difficulty of digging that out with vigorous swirling and sniffing of that wine.

    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi RW! Thanks for your summary of these wines. Like Darrell, I also hope your bottle of the Estate Pinot was an outlier, for two reasons. I still haven’t opened my bottle but, because everyone here seemed to like it best, I recommended it to someone at the Berkeley store yesterday. I hope he likes it! 🙂

  2. Darrell

    BW, I figured you might like this wine because it is as you say, ” still all very elegant and delineated” and, for me, more Burgundian-like, not that that description is an endorsement. There is so much red Burgundy that perform less well than many of the GO PN and especially at the prices one has to pay for Burgundy, including the occasional GO red Burgundy. If on the occasional purchase of a red Burgundy outside of GO, I know I am paying for the label. I had to deeply inhale to get full benefit of the PN in this 2006 Leras. IMO, I preferred the 2005 Leras which was a more hit-you-over-head PN with more intense flavor and A&B plus more body. Had the ’05 and ’06 side by side and the only dislike of the ’05 was a veggie, green wood character in smell and taste.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Darrell. The 2006 could have been a bit fuller and riper for my taste, too. I may well have also preferred the 2005, but I never saw it at the Berkeley store. What is A&B?


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