Mountain Shadow 2009 Pinot Noir

Clarksburg (on the Sacramento River, elevation 10 feet), Yolo County, CA; 13.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 22 Feb

MountainShadow_2009_PinotNoirWhen I saw this in the order guide (with very limited information about it), it struck me as an unusual Pinot Noir, which might or might not have been any good.  I ordered some hoping it would be good, and indeed it is!

When I first read the back label and found out it’s from the Sacramento River Delta area, that didn’t seem very promising.  But since I had ordered it, I thought I should try one.  I was immediately rewarded on first pour, when it was tasty but seemed likely to get better.  There was no magical “airing time” for this one, but it has developed nicely over three hours of air.  It tastes of sweetly ripe red and black cherries, earthy Pinot funk, root beer, dried orange peel, a slightly stemmy herbal quality, and mild supporting oak.  The texture is somewhat thicker for a Pinot Noir, but it still has the subtlety I like.  Unless you prefer Pinot Noir on the tart or structured side, this is very good for the price.  I’d guess that the next day, it would still be good to drink but not as rich and tasty, but I will update this if that’s not the case.

10 thoughts on “Mountain Shadow 2009 Pinot Noir

  1. Joel M

    The fact of the matter here is that Clarksburg is just too damn hot to grow proper PN…yes, you can grow it, and get 4-5 tons per…but it ain’t the quality we’re used to…comments posted verify my fears.

  2. glpease

    I was curious about it, too, after catching BW in the checkout queue with a bottle in his basket, so I picked one up. It’s outside of my style for a PN, it’s lack of structure and acidity likely a result of precocious over-ripening of the berries in the hot sun before they really had much chance to reach flavor maturity, but I’m otherwise pretty much in agreement with what he’s written on this one, adding that by this afternoon (I opened it last night), the nose showed signs of being quite oxidized and the taste had become rather unpleasant, with dominant bitterness, and evidence that the fruit had gone walkabout in the night. It’s nearing, if not at the end of its life. Buy it. Open it. Drink it.

  3. seedboy

    I saw this in Oakland yesterday and given its source I was skeptical, however, Clarksburg has some track record of producing fine Chenin Blanc, so I should have given it a try.

  4. Darrell

    BW, glad to hear you can order for the Richmond store and congrats. Seeing the origins of this PN, I sure as heck wouldn’t try this bottle. Who’da thunk? “The texture is somewhat thicker for a Pinot Noir, but it still has the subtlety I like” sounds good and something I might want to try.

  5. Vinogeek

    Thanks for the review. This wine’s label/bottle was so nondescript I didn’t think to buy, even though 2009 is a stellar year for Cali Pinot. Will be trying out this wine now.

    1. glpease

      Vinogeek, 2009 WAS a stellar year for PN in the regions that are best suited to it, but I just can’t see Sacramento as being one of those. I opened a dusty cellar bottle from Carneros (Talisman – 2009 Adastra Vineyards) the other night that was exceptional.

      1. Vinogeek

        No doubt when thinking of Pinot Noir, Clarksburg is definitely not Carneros, lol. When I see 2009 and Pinot Noir on the same bottle, it’s kind of like Pavlov’s dog for me, I start salivating, especially if the label also says Bourgogne.

        1. glpease

          I fully grok the salivation factor. For a while, I’d pick up any Pinot that looked at all promising if the price was right. Some really nice wines ended up being added to the ‘cellar,’ but quite a few more found their way to the water treatment facility downstream. I think my own pavlovian response has been slightly tempered now. Maybe. I hope. Pinot Noir is a sometimes cruel mistress. It can be so hard to resist her charms and ignore the chains.

          1. seedboy

            After seeing this thread I still walked past this wine yesterday without reaching out to grab one. Available in Oakland.


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