Two Current Pinots Noirs

I opened these both tonight with pan-fried salmon, saving a half bottle of each (stoppered in 375ml bottles with very little air) for later.  I’ll update this post if the second halves change my opinions much, but I doubt that will happen as they both seemed quite stable.  (See update below.)

Weibel Family 2012 Pinot Noir
Potter Valley, Mendocino County, CA; 13.5% ABV
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 16 March

Weibel_2012_PinotNoirOf the two, I thought the color through the bottle looked more promising in this wine: more delicate and nuanced in the way I prefer.  It’s indeed pretty good Pinot for the money.

I thought both of these wines benefited from a couple hours of air in the bottle.  (That’s after I poured out the first halves.  I suspect this method results in longer airing times than my usual decanting, not that it matters that much for these wines.)  The Weibel showed lighter red cherry with a little strawberry, gentle sappy / earthy Pinot funk, with a lively, airy juiciness.  I would have thought this was pretty good CA Pinot for the money if I hadn’t opened it with…

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Pinnacalitos de Chalone 2009 Pinot Noir “La Belle Vue”
Chalone Appellation, Monterey County, CA; 14.8% ABV
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 16 March

Pinnacalitos_2009_LaBelleVuePNThis was pretty engaging from the first sip, but, again, I thought it was better after a couple hours of air.  Then, it showed earthy, almost rocky, very dark red cherry fruit, with smoky complexities (bacon? leather?), intense but with nice delineation.  Sorry I had so much fun drinking it I didn’t stop to take notes.  My impression is that while it’s great to drink now, it’s not heading over the hill immediately, and could keep well in good storage for a couple more years.  I think this is an outstanding value in CA Pinot Noir.

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Update next day: The second half of the Weibel Family Pinot Noir surprised me by airing to become dominated by flavors of red / purple table grape and a little raisin.  It’s still pleasant enough wine, just not what I expect from Pinot Noir.

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18 thoughts on “Two Current Pinots Noirs

  1. DavidLikesWine

    Opened another of the Pinnacalitos tonight. This wine continues to really impress me. Palo Alto still has a few cases and I’m contemplating grabbing a few more. There’s at least another 6 months – 1 year left in this with proper storage, likely more. Heck of a $6 pinot…

    Reply
  2. seedboy

    I enjoyed another bottle of the Pinnacalitos yesterday and continue to be impressed. If you think light color disqualifies a pinot this is not for you but I got past that a long time ago. Honest, tasty, well-balanced, and imagine my pleasure to find a different vintage — 2010 — at the Richmond store this morning. I think I will be enjoying some of this with dinner tonight.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      I picked up my 2009’s in Richmond and am surprised there is a 2010, but maybe, I shouldn’t be since there is the 2010 Syrah from Pinnacalitos out there. Can’t wait for the comparison since I liked the 2009. Had the 1012 Cottonwood Marina Piper and especially for the money , I preferred the Pinnacalitos.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        Man, SB…you’re way older than I thought! You had a 1012 Cottonwood Marina Piper. No wonder you preferred the Pinnacalitos. That’s pre-Magna Carta! Can we assume you’re talkin’ 2012? : ~)

        Reply
          1. lim13

            I realize now it wasn’t you having the “senior moment”, SB. It was me and Darrell. Reading again, I see it was Darrell who said that he “had the 1012 Cottonwood Marina Piper”…not you. Jeez! But then you were willing to take the fall for him. The three of us need more rest…or more wine? Hope I got it all straight this time.

            Reply
            1. seedboy

              I’ve now tasted that 2010 Pinnacalitos. I think it is a little less acidic and has a slightly darker fruit profile, compared with the 2009, but you can tell they are from the same place. I like this wine.

            2. seedboy

              Pleasant Hill now has the 2010. A friend who knows red Burgundy and New World Pinot described it as elegant and cellar-worthy.

  3. BargainWhine Post author

    Tonight I opened one of the bottles of the Pinnacalitos I got during the sale. It immediately shows darker and more tangy fruit than the bottle I described in the review; it really didn’t need air at all. This makes me think that folks with this wine should drink it up soon.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Since this bottle was a repurchase for me, I didn’t bother going through the saving-in-a-small-screwcap-bottle thing, and just put the cork back in the original bottle. To me relief and surprise, the rest of the wine in the bottle tonight was very good. Still nicely Pinot and indulgently juicy.

      Reply
  4. Darrell

    If one is trying to pick up the Pinnacalitos PN on the sale, there were 7+ cases at the SF store. Three cases were on the sales floor, but the cases are unlabeled, just a plain cardboard wine box. Saw 4 more cases in the hallway without identifying label, but going by the BW#, saw the matching # on the sales floor boxes. Oakland ran out in two days of the sale. SF also has the Red Blend.

    Reply
  5. TonyS

    I looked in the Downtown San Jose store for the 2009 Antle La Belle Vue and did not find it. Instead I found the 2010 La Belle Vue Red Blend in the store at McKee Rd/Capital Ave and bought some. I’m not sure what it is, but seems darker and fuller-bodied than a Pinot. Probably has some Petite Sirah and maybe Syrah and/or Zinfandel. $6.99 less 20% and bottle says Chalone Appellation, Monterey County, Cellared and bottled by Paraiso Vineyards, Soledad.
    I also bought a case of 2013 Monterey County Clos La Chance Chardonnay for $3.99. The current vintage is $15 at the winery. My final recommendation is 2012 A-Z Oregon Pinot Noir for $3.99 for a 375 ml bottle. I was able to fit it in my jacket pocket and my wife and I enjoyed it with our lunch at over 9,000′ elevation while skiing at Heavenly.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      I think the Pinnacalitos Red Blend has on its front label a Monterey County Appellation, if I’m not mistaken. I definitely know that this is the case for the PN. I don’t understand why Antle wines doesn’t use the Chalone AVA on the front label as Michaud does. Maybe they can’t.

      Reply
  6. Darrell

    I tried the Pinnacalitos de Chalone 2009 Pinot Noir “La Belle Vue” before the sale and liked it. I rebottled half the bottle under diflouroethane (Dust Off) which works quite well in preserving a half bottle, but this wine changed just a bit for the worse. I thought it could have been my technique that caused the change, but I bought some on the sale and just opened a bottle for lunch and had the remainder for dinner. I also use the Dust Off to drive off the oxygen in the bottle when saving the rest for dinner. Well, the wine also changed and had lost the characteristics I like. So one might want to drink this wine up at one sitting for best enjoyment. I guess I’m not an air guy with this wine.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Darrell. I was also surprised by how the second half (stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air) of this wine had changed. As I recall, the flavors had become darker (black cherry / plum) and the wine was less structured. I couldn’t say it was bad wine, so I didn’t say anything, just not the same as I had enjoyed in the first half. I still got another bottle, though. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Darrell

    Not sure why Antle Wines isn’t using the Chalone AVA though the website says their vines are from that AVA. The Antle name is prominent in the Salinas Valley as a big shipper-grower for the produce from the Salinas Valley as is the partner, Tanimura. They seem to have limited distribution as I recognize their outlets.

    Reply
  8. seedboy

    I meant to add that there is another interesting pinot available at Oakland. Lost Coast, from Humboldt County. Reminds me of the Chalone wine, similar body and balance and red fruit.

    Reply
  9. seedboy

    I like the Monterey County wine quite a bit. On the second day it showed almost a cherry liquor quality that was balanced nicely by the acidity and tannin. The Weibel I am now curious to try because it is from Potter Valley. Maybe 15 years ago the Oakland store had a bunch of Potter Valley pinots from a long-gone winery called Souzao; the 1991 and 1994 reminded me of the Joseph Swan estate pinot for their body and structure and ageability, and ever since I’ve been wondering who is using that vineyard now.

    Reply

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