07 July, 2009

2005 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs - It was a very strange year

Eventhough Pinot Days ended long ago, my passion for Pinot Noir endures. That is why I jumped at the chance to participate in a blind tasting of a private collection of 2005 Sonoma Coast Pinots. Indeed, the 2005 vintage was reportedly filled with unusual weather patterns as it was one of the coolest in recent California history. The cool summer weather with all that coastal fog and lack of heat spikes gave long hang times,and supposedly produced wines with high acidity and higher than usual alcohol levels.

The wines were tasted blind and a highly-regarded Burgundy was thrown in as a ringer.

These wines were released in 2007 but reportedly lacked depth and richness. So how are they now after 2 years of being in the bottle? Here are the wines, the rankings, and my abbreviated tasting notes:

A. 2005 AP Vin "Kanzler Vineyard" Sonoma Coast (14.3%) med. ruby, whiff of cabbage, stewed cherries, cinnamon, bitter citrus on the finish, balanced, decent acidity
Group rank: #4 My rank: #2

B. 2005 Aubin "Verve" Sonoma Coast (14.5%) first came barnyardy aromas, white pepper, red cherry, cranberry, anise, smooth and balanced on the palate
Group rank:#2 My rank:#1

C. 2005 Simon Bize "Aux Guettes - Premier Cru", Savigny-Les_Beaune (12.5%)very light-bodied as in thin and watery, tangy cranberry finish, bitter citrus peel notes on nose and palate, lavandar, pepper on the nose
Group rank:#3 My rank: #4

D. 2005 Zepaltas, Sonoma Coast (14.5%) made by Ryan Zepaltas, assistant winemaker for Siduri. kerosene, skunk, cherry jello on the nose and palate. too simple, little bitterness,not enough acidity...
Group rank: #5 My rank: #6

E. 2005 Rhys "Alesia - Falstaff Road Vineyard" (14.1%) Vegetal nose, green pepper, floral,black fruit notes, graphite on the finish, good structure and balance
Group rank: 6 My rank: 3

F. 2005 Siduri "Sonatera Vineyard" Sonoma Coast, (14.5%) too much residual sugar, not enough acidity, tangy green pepper on the finish, cola nose, strong fennel sausage notes (making me hungry.) Just too big for my palate...
Group rank: #1 My rank: #5

Brixchick Analysis:
My palate prefers Pinots that are velvety yet acidic, elegant and balanced. In general there was something "off" about most of these wines. From the aromas of cabbage and skunk to the bitterness on the palate that I don't usually find in Pinot Noirs. Some of them were lacking decent acidity, which I thought was strange considering the long hang-time of these grapes. I think all of these wines could stand a few more years in the cellar.

Oh well, 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir tasting is coming up. Wonder if these wines will be much different. I will let you know.
**Many thanks to Ross Bott for sharing his amazing wine collection.**


Anonymous said...

Thanks for tasting our Sonatera Pinot Noir. FWIW, the wine is dry (there isn't the residual sugar that you mention). The alcohol is fairly high, however, so perhaps that is what is causing you to taste sugar. The TA (titratable acid) is pretty high at .79 but the pH is also high at 3.72.

In any case, the Sonoma Coast was somewhat different than much of CA in 2005 in that the yields were exceptionally low, actually too low, causing sugars to rise faster than flavors. Thus I think many of the wines from the coast in 05 are bigger than their Russian River counterparts.

Adam Lee/Siduri Wines

Xandria said...

Thank you, Adam. I really appreciate your input and clarifications. I prefer your RRV and SLH Pinots but I have yet to taste any of your other Sonoma Coast Pinots. Hope to do that some day soon. Anyways, the Sonatera was the winning wine at our tasting, so thank you!