07 April, 2010

Pinot Summit! Results are in!

With the 8th Annual Summit behind us, I am already looking forward to next year!  Organized beautifully by the Amazing Barbara Drady, this event was not only super fun, but is dedicated to my favorite: Pinot Noir.  This year, we got to taste through 40 Pinots that showcased the mutability of this grape variety as well as the artistry of expression of the wine makers. 
In addition to the fun classes, the highlight of the day is walking into a big room with broad expanses of Pinot Noirs wrapped to completely hide the bottles and labeled only with color names so that we could try them all and vote for our top 3.  These 40 wines were culled from several previous tasting groups so that these finalists represented all that is good in the world.  Yum!  Of course, I had to spit and even then ended up with pinot-colored wine goggles by the end of it.  But I got to experience a wide gamut of Pinot personalities.  If you are curious about the entire result lists it can be found here:
As for my favorites:

Number 1 was Eric Ross Saralee Vineyard 2007.  It was an amazing clear, salmon pink color.  I expected it to taste flinty and restrained.  Wrong!  Whiffs of strawberries, rhurbarb and apricot.  Flavors of fresh strawberries, cedar and toast.  The mouthfeel was almost creamy.  Delish!  We got to meet the winemaker and see some of his excellent photography, too

The Pinot I gave the second highest score to was Heart o The Mountain 2007 Santa Cruz Mtns.  100% Pommard clone, the garnet hued wine had in additon to a nice pinot palette, black tea, banana and jasmine in its aromas.  Flavors shone with cherry, cedar and something slightly smoky in the midpalate.  Lovely almost chocolatey finish. 

For the third highest, I picked, 2007 Nicholson Ranch Sonoma Coast pinot. I loved the coppery undertones in the medium garnet hues of the wine.  Aromas of cedar and cherry.  Bright cranberry splash in the flavors. 

It was fun to also talk to people about their top three colors.  I spoke to a lot of people who rated the Tan high, but I had rated it very median.  Hmmm.  During the reception that preceded the Awards, I ran to the table where Tan was being poured.  Was I ever glad I did!  My inital notes read "sweet, raspberry soda, no finish"  Tasting the 2007 Claibirne and Churchill Edna Valley by itself, I found the wine to be ripe with cherries and red fruit and a nice touch of spice.  I revised my opinion just in time to hear the results where this was the Pinot Noir showed up in almost all of the four top 3 lists. 

All in all a great day!
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