2012 Bohème “Stuller Vineyard” Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast AVA; 14.1% ABV
Purchased March 24th at Palo Alto; $14.99

IMG_0151I was really excited to see these come in. This winery is a project started by the former Belle Glos vineyard manager who also happens to be part of the Wagner family (Caymus and many others). The website has a ton of great technical data on this particular vineyard (link here) with high points being that it sits at 1200 feet of elevation about 6 miles inland form the Pacific Ocean and is farmed in two blocks, one hillside the other hilltop. This particular wine spent 21 months in neutral French oak. If you like the brooding, almost cocktail-like style of Pinot Noir, I think you’ll like this one.

The wine poured a dark ruby garnet and was all blackberries and cream on the nose. I would have guessed zinfandel confidently had this been a blind tasting. On the palate, it’s a full-bodied wine with an almost viscous mouthfeel. I got black cherry, cinnamon, orange peel with some underbrush or cooking herbs as well with a long 8-10 second finish. Structure doesn’t really emerge until about an hour in the glass, and even at that it’s a softly built wine but surprisingly held up well over 3 days of consumption. A nice bottle that tastes expensive but just doesn’t have what I look for in a pinot.  Definitely drinkable and enjoyable, but at it’s higher price point there are likely better options out there.

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19 thoughts on “2012 Bohème “Stuller Vineyard” Pinot Noir

  1. the connasewer

    A pinot noir from California should not be a “full bodied wine”. I don’t know what people call these big fruit/alcohol wines. But in my view give me French burgundy as the standard. Yes i know they are expensive but look for a village bottle. It should be graceful, feminine, light in color, almost rose’. Delicate vs. a gorilla. Get the point? Trouble is most California wine drinkers are used to extracted fruit and actually think something is wrong with a well balanced French or otherwise wine. Forgive them for they know not what they drink.

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      I´ve had plenty of big Burgundies in that style too. Generally from top vineyards in Gevrey Chambertin, Nuits St Georges, Pommard, and the both Clos de Vougeout and Richebourg Grand Crus.

      I agree that great Pinot Noirs can be light and feminine, but they don´t by any means have to be.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        Doug, I absolutely concur and won’t be straightjacketed into any one style of red Burgundy/PN just as I wouldn’t a big, great year Bordeaux vs a classic vintage Bordeaux. I am afraid the Europeanophile drinker poo poos New World wines for being over extracted and alcoholic. Emile Peynaud would always bitch about our CA CS. It’s funny when one of our Cabs commands more money than Petrus and Le Pin and it’s not even a Moueix concern. Our Sonoma coast Pinots are doing just fine and I won’t refuse a glass of heavy, older Swan or Chalone PN. Some of these older CA PN still live and are enjoyable. If Burgundians could have the weather we have year in and year out, they would and not have resort to chaptalization.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          OK I cannot resist getting into this. Some fine full-bodied pinot noir comes from Burgundy, and from California. Darrell’s mention of Joseph Swan brings to mind his brilliant 1975 and 1977, and the successor winemaker Rod Berglund’s brilliant 1990. However those were balanced wines with good acidity and a friend at the dinner table. My beef with the Boheme wine I tasted was not full body, but that the fruit was over ripe and there was not enough acidity. Those wines fatigue my palate and are not good at table.

          Reply
        2. the connasewer

          I worked as a wine consultant for a number of years in Boston with a retail/wholesale company. Tasted a lot with people who helped me figure out what a wine consisted of. We used to break them down into the components which we needed to understand. Tasted a lot of great red and white burgundies that I could never afford now that I’m in retirement. I always ask people who drink a lot of wine and may have a world perspective this question: If you were on a desert island and had to choose two cases of wine, what would it be. This cuts through all the bullshit.
          For me the answer is simple: French white and red burgundy. From the best communes possible.

          So…I’m asking any people on this forum the same question….fire away!

          Reply
          1. JoelA

            I’m also retired and can’t afford the wines I like best. Not delighted by chardonnay (except Chablis) so my choice would be red Burgundy (Comte de Vogue Musigny, please, if I have a choice) and either German or Alsatian riesling (Egon Muller Scharzhofberger kabinett or spatlese or any good basic Alsatian). I do like more simple red Burgundies also, however; recently had a very nice 2009 Cotes-de-Nuits villages.

            Reply
            1. the connasewer

              We all have our wine stars which took us by surprise. Big fan of Alsatian and Austrian whites. Once has a 10 year old Alsatian Riesling Reserve with no one to share it with. Without question I would put it up against a good white burgundy. It was incredible. Bad news is I only had one bottle in my inventory. But any Alsatian white knocks me out. Came across some late harvest Austrian stuff one time. Big fan of German Riesling from Kabinet to Berenauslese. These wines can hold up for many years if properly stored. Used to sip Premier Cru chablis at home with potato chips watching the Celtics! It’s what you do with the store 50% discount. When the owner left after 10 pm we would crack open classified bordeaux. If you sell the wine you have to know what it tastes like. True story..the store owner would dig through the trash receptacles looking for empty bottles. Then we brought them home after tasting! Mission accomplished.

          2. Darrell

            I apologize to all who might think I am tooting my horn about what I drink and eat since I try to be subdued as possible on this blog. I think Connasewer is very lucky to have gained a wine tasting education for very little cost and he is lucky to have had access to so many of those wines to separate the good stuff from the bad. Most of us here wish we could taste a —-load of wine to do this winnowing for relatively little cost and that is why we are here at Grossout. I think I can cut through the BS of wine. First, why should we be limited to two cases and second, why two wines, a dry white and a dry red?
            I cut my eye drinking tooth in a time where most of the wine importers and sellers had Burgundies, Classified Bordeaux,Rhone, German and Alsatian for sale. There weren’t other state wines to be had, no Oregon, Washington or other states. There weren’t Sierra foothill wines, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and very little Monterey county wines and never mind the multitude of AVA’s we have now. No Southern Hemisphere wines, Austrian, Communist bloc countries and Italian wine came dressed in fiaschi. Luckily I had California wines to buy and I think Connasewer didn’t have the experience I and others here have had in California wines. Were I to pick just one Burgundy/PN, it would be CA. I drink DRC wines on special occasions and Henri Jayer, Armand Rousseau, Le Moine among others, but I have never found one that came close to the 1946 Beaumont. It’s bold, complex, not delicate and had a stamp of BV aging with plenty of PN nose and flavor. SB, I am afraid it’s better than Swan’s ’75, ’77 and ’78. Napa’s CS are nothing to sneeze at either and do age. While they don’t have the aromatics of better Bordeaux, they are still quite complex. At my wife’s retirement dinner in Yountville, mentioned some time ago here, we opened a 1940 Reserve CS from a winery just up the road in Rutherford and the staff greatly appreciated the eye opening taste of the ageability of Napa wine. In addition, Napa wines aren’t the only ones that age, and in fact, I would put some of these up against old Bordeaux. Old Hallcrest CS have more of the pyrazine character I enjoy. Old Martin Ray CS I prefer to Napa’s. Going to have to drink up the ’40s, the few ’50s so I can drink up the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s (Gosh, I’ve always wanted to say that). Thanks to you on this blog, you have made my outlook on wine a lot less skewed and tunnel visioned and never mind the education brought to bear to keep up with the comments.

            Of late, I have been lucky to have access to rarer quadruped protein and have let the stops go on drinking the more expensive bottles, usually Bordeaux and old CA CS and not so much Burgundy/PN. Concomitant with this rarer protein, wild mushrooms get picked to accompany the dish and have also broken down in buying Tuber melanosporum, the Périgord Black Truffle, to go with said protein. These truffles aren’t as expensive as I thought with judicious usage and can be had year round due to the S. Hemisphere season. I have just ordered some wasabi rhizomes online to go with more expensive beef and sushi and fresh wasabi, not being inexpensive along with the other ingredients, will bring out the better bottles.

            I wouldn’t presume to determine anyone’s taste since I have such a diverse predilection for wine and food. I hope this background helps in explaining why this arbitrary limitation of selecting two cases for a desert island would definitely not fit me and would drive me bonkers/nucking futs.

            Reply
            1. the connasewer

              Very interesting comments. Yes, I have also tasted DRC and other trophy burgundies at trade tastings in New England. First job as in Harvard Square in the 80’s. Grew up on California zinfandel which still remains one of my favorite varietals. The Boston wine market at that time was more invested in European vs. California. The retailer I worked for was owned by an Italian family and imported some of the best from very small producers. Robert Chadderdon in particular. Amarone, Barbaresco, Barolo, Tuscan new world Chianti, Rhone and so many others. It was a great time to learn. Never made much money, bought a lot at discount. Still have a few Italian treasures like Gaja, Quintarelli, Dessilani, Monte Vertine, Antinori Tignanello. As much asIi love Rhones my palate was forever changed by Italian wines.
              My son in Albany has been making small lots of zinfandel out of his garage for the past 7 years. Getting better all the time with new French oak and some American. He is now mixing syrah with zinfandel. I told him to add some sangiovese for a touch of cherry. It works well with zinfandel.
              Anyway…I have to drink alone at home since wife is allergic to alcohol. (Chinese gene). And my close friends are ex-alcoholics. So I have a lot of wine to drink up or give to my son. What a burden.
              If you send me your address I’ll drop a 1982 tasting sheet from a Heublein auction in Boston. The age range of wines ran from 1812 to 1945. David Peppercorn and Serena Sutcliffe (how English is that?) orchestrated the event and I was able to taste a number of the 19 wines offered. Mind blowing experience. Biggest surprise? A 1881 Meursault that was still alive and kicking. Deep golden color, soft fruit but remarkable. The samples they poured were VERY small. But enough to get a sense of the wine and nose. Incredible time.
              Where do you live? I have been looking for a few people in the Marin area to taste with who might open treasures. No such luck. Many of my wines are old and unfortunately not showing well. Especially the good Rhones. Buy hey…it’s time to open them, taste, pour down the sink, more on to the next bottle. Interested?

            2. JoelA

              Howdy, all. Don’t really want to get into a pissing congest with anyone, especially since I never worked in the industry in any capacity. I started my wine drinking in NY (which is where I’m from) where there were no tasting rooms and no wineries within range except one Christian Brothers-type up the Hudson River a bit. Started drinking while eating at ethnic restaurants (Greek, Hungarian, German and the like) so I could only try one wine at a time. But then I started checking out wines at one or another store and wound up having a party with a batch of wines at two dollars and under. In those days that included Hungarian wines, Beaujolais, Chilean cabernets (Concha y Toro, e.g.) and I forget what else. No California wines that I can remember except Louis Martini. So my tastes started out and still prefer European wines.
              Came to the Bay Area and became immersed in trips to wineries and hanging out at stores with tasting rooms. Ability to taste expensive wines got me interested in Burgundy and some of the greats. A guy I worked with was friendly with a wine buyer for a major store, to the effect that one evening we three shared a bottle of a 1938 Dr. Barolet burgundy I don’t remember which one (it was that kind of night) but I do remember how great a nose and taste it had (even though I knew I couldn’t really taste it because my nose was stuffed up from all the previous wine that night).
              Perhaps some other time I’ll tell of the weirdest experience I had at a tasting but I think I’ve used up enough space fir now.

            3. Darrell

              Connasewer, I can only sympathize with your non-drinking/tasting predicament. The commenters once tried to organize a tasting group for presale purposes over in the East Bay, but nothing happened. It might a project up your alley. As to the Chinese gene, it is really an East Asian thang, lacking the ability to metabolize acetaldehyde that is derived from ethanol consumption. I really feel sorry for those individuals who get this flush reaction and alcoholics who can’t derive the pleasure of tasting the occasional nectar of the gods. There apparently is a nonagenarian, Cecilia Chang of The Mandarin fame, who can probably drink us under the table. This thought keeps me drinking.

    1. JoelA

      Forgot to mention that my overall favorite DRY whites are from the northern Rhone (Hermitage and Condrieu, which I can’t afford, and Crozes-Hermitage, St. Joseph which sometimes I can)

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Joel too bad you missed out on a GO sale in about 2007 or so. 1999 Guigal Hermitage Blanc for $15. I still have a couple of them.

        Reply
        1. the connasewer

          They age very well. I bought many high end Rhone years ago. Stored properly. Unfortunately the fruit is not holding and big disappointment. Should have dug a cellar in my backyard.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            Some of my Northern White Rhones have suffered from premox and these aren’t from GO. The Southern whites have been fine thus far.

            Reply
        2. JoelA

          Should be great. I have a bottle oF the 1998 which I bought at a close-out sale and plan to drink this summer.

          Reply
      2. the connasewer

        Yes….Rhone whites can be beautiful. Big fruit, wonderful nose when you have them close to room temp. Mouth filling. Unfortunately unless you come across a close out. Or unlikely find at Grocery Outlet. Speaking of which, the selection in most stores is boring generic. Or unrealistic expensive as with the recent barolos/barbarescos, classified reserve chianti.

        Reply

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