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TIM ZAINER'S
NEWLY-RELEASED
PINOT NOIR TASTING
November 14, 2001

The Vino Fino Tasters took a look at some West Coast Pinot Noirs of recent vintage.  A number of 2000 vintage wines are hitting the market, while some wineries are just now releasing their 1999s.
We selected a range of wines in the "everyday" to "moderately affordable" price categories.

The wines finished with three wines ahead of the pack and two wines at the bottom of the heap.  Three wines were numerically tied in the middle!




Here's what we tasted:

The Wines Gerald's Ranking GROUP VERDICT Total Points 1sts/2nds/
Lasts

ACACIA

2000 Carneros
$19.99

3 2 33 2/5/0
ARCHERY SUMMIT
1999 Oregon
$34.99
Premiere Cuvee
6 8 62 1/0/1
DAVID BRUCE
2000 Central Coast
$17.99
4 3 34 3/2/0
FETZER
Five Rivers Ranch
2000 Santa Maria
$10.89
8 4 58 1/1/3
NALLE
1999 Russian River Valley
$35
5 6 58 0/0/2
OLIVET LANE
1999 Russian River Valley
$19.99
2 7 61 0/2/2
SAINTSBURY
2000 Carneros
$21.49
7 5 58 1/0/3
TESTAROSSA
2000 Monterey
$31.99
Palazzio
1 1 32 3/1/0

8th Place:  ARCHERY SUMMIT 1999 Oregon "Premiere Cuve"
Evaluated in alphabetical order, this wine benefited from the contrasting fragrances between it and its neighbor, the David Bruce.  Examined in that context, the Archery Summit wine displayed a floral and almost blackberry-like fruit with plenty of sweet oak.  On the palate there are elements reminiscent of anise or black licorice, along with the blackberry fruit.  Three to five years of cellaring should enhance and soften this wine. Half to one star rating (3 star scale, zero being "standard quality" or average).

7th Place:  OLIVET LANE 1999 Russian River Valley
I had this noted as being especially typical of good Pinot Noir, showing hints of forest-floor aromas, root-like notes and some sweet oak.  The same features are replayed on the palate, with lots of berry and cherry notes and mild tannins.  Three to six years of cellaring are warranted here.  One star+.

6th Place:  NALLE 1999 Russian River Valley
Some woodsy notes are the primary fragrances, followed by a hint of a vegetal, herbal streak.  The wine is complete on the palate, displaying the same herb and woodsy notes with a little bit of tannin.  Nice fruit, framed neatly by a touch of wood.  One-half to one star.

5th Place:  SAINTSBURY 2000 Carneros
Lots of fruit notes here, this is a punch-bowl of ripe, sweet cherry fruit with a bit of candied orange.  The flavors are similar with mild tannins and plenty of fruit.  A touch of oak adds a nice note.  Good.  One-half star.

4th Place:  FETZER "FIVE RIVERS RANCH" 2000 Santa Maria
Here's a good example of someone attempting to grow Pinot Noir for a budget-priced bottling.  The wine has a simple cherry fruit note and oak is not a major part of the theme here.  I felt the wine was watery and thin, the vines having been pushed for production at the expense of quality.

3rd Place:  DAVID BRUCE 2000 Central Coast
Ripe, sweet red fruits with a moderate vanillin note and plenty of oak on the nose.  This is probably the best "Central Coast" bottling issued by this winery.  This is their "entry level" bottling of Pinot Noir.  The flavors are woodsy and nicely oaked...I wondered if the wood is American?  One star.

2nd Place:  ACACIA 2000 Carneros
Lots of berry and cherry fragrances with an appropriate amount of sweet oak on the nose.  There's a smoky element, as well.  The same notes are featured on the palate, making for a very nice wine.  One-and-a-half stars.  



1st Place:  TESTAROSSA 2000 Monterey "Palazzio"
Light cherry fruit aromas combine with a slightly "root-like" element and sweet French oak to create a very complex nose.  There are some smoky notes on the palate with a touch of anise and cherry fruit.  This is thoroughly delicious now and ought to remain in good condition for several years. Two stars+.

Mr. Zainer shared a post-tasting bottle:
1975 J.W. Morris Port Works' "Port"

 

VINO FINO TASTING ARCHIVE

2007 RUSSIAN RIVER PINOT NOIRS  February 2010

A RANGE OF FRENCH CHABLIS WINES  January 2010

HOLIDAY DINNER & WINE MARATHON  December 2009

ROSÉ SPARKLING WINES  November 2009

ARGENTINEAN MALBECS  October 2009

WEST COAST CHARDONNAYS  September 2009

GREEK RED WINES  August 2009

2005 BUDGET BORDEAUX  July 2009

CAMPANIAN WHITE WINES  June 2009

MIXED BAG OF CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIRS  April 2009

RIOJA WINES, MOSTLY FROM THE 2004 VINTAGE  March 2009

NORTH COAST PETITE SIRAHS  February 2009

SYRAH & PETITE SIRAH COMPARISON  January 2009

A VINO FINO CHRISTMAS  December 2008

MOSTLY 2005s: NAPA CABERNETS  November 2008

SONOMA COUNTY PINOT NOIRS  October 2008

SANTA RITA HILLS -2006 VINTAGE- PINOT NOIRS  SEPTEMBER 2008

NEWLY RELEASED ZINFANDELS  August 2008

WHITE RHÔNE VALLEY WINES  JULY 2008

LOIRE VALLEY SAUVIGNONS  JUNE 2008

FRENCH CHABLIS 2005-2006  MAY 2008

NORTHERN RHÔNE SYRAHS  APRIL 2008

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS PINOT NOIRS  January 2008

ANNUAL HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS DINNER  December 2007

WEST COAST CHARDONNAYS  November 2007

AUSTRALIAN SHIRAZ  October 2007

SPANISH TEMPRANILLO WINES  September 2007

SONOMA'S 2005 VINTAGE ZINFANDELS  August 2007

CURRENT RELEASE (2004-2005) ZINFANDELS  July 2007

ROS WINES FROM ALL OVER  June 2007

ITALIAN LAGREIN WINES  May 2007

ARGENTINEAN MALBECS  April 2007

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE PINOT NOIRS  March 2007

MOSTLY 2004 CABERNETS   February 2007

CRU BEAUJOLAIS  January 2007

A VINO FINO CHRISTMAS  December 2006

CALIFORNIA ZINFANDELS  November 2006

PINOT NOIRS of VALUE-PRICING  October 2006

WORLD OF SYRAHS TASTING September 2006

AUSSIE CABERNET-SHIRAZ BLENDS  August 2006

ALEXANDER VALLEY (California)  and MARGARET RIVER (Australia) CABERNETS  July 2006 

CALIFORNIA PETITE SIRAHS  June 2006

2004 NORTH COAST PINOTS and a FRENCH INTRUDER  May 2006

AGLIANICO : BASILICATA & CAMPANIA'S MAJOR RED WINE  April 2006

NERO D'AVOLA - A TASTE OF SICILIA  March 2006

UNDER THE VINO FINO RADAR ZINFANDELS  January 2006

HOLIDAY WINE TASTING & DINNER  December 2005

BUBBLIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD  November 2005

NORTH COAST PINOT NOIRS  October 2005

STATE OF CONFUSION CABERNETS  September 2005

TIM ZAINER'S SIDEWAYS LOOK AT MERLOTS  August 2005

LOIRE VALLEY CABERNET FRANCS  June 2005 

CALIFORNIA SYRAHS  March 2005

2002 CALIFORNIA CABERNETS  February 2005

VINO FINO HOLIDAY WINE MARATHON  December 2004

CHARDONNAYS OF MODEST PRICE November 2004

SPANISH TEMPRANILLO  October 2004

2002 CENTRAL COAST PINOT NOIRS  September 2004

AUSSIE SHIRAZ-CABERNET BLENDS  August 2004

GEWRZTRAMINERS FROM ALSACE July 2004

2001 SOUTHERN RHNES (7 Chteauneufs & a Vacqueyras)  June 2004

AGLIANICO WINES FROM CAMPANIA & BASILICATA  May 2004

MONTEPULCIANO WINES FROM THE ABRUZZO & MARCHE REGIONS  April 2004

SONOMA ZINFANDELS  February 2004

1997 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO  January 2004

VINO FINO HOLIDAY BACCHANALIA 2003

2001 CTES du RHNES  September 17, 2003

2000 OREGON PINOT NOIRS  August 20, 2003

WEST COAST SYRAHS  July 16, 2003

2000 Bordeaux  June 18, 2003

2000 CALIFORNIA CABERNETS May 21, 2003

OFF THE BEATEN PATH SYRAHS APRIL 16, 2003

2002 NEW ZEALAND SAUVIGNON BLANCS  March 19, 2003

1999 California CABERNETS  February 19, 2003

VINO FINO HOLIDAY BACCHANALIA December 4, 2002

AUSTRALIAN SHIRAZ  August 21, 2002

CHAMPAGNES & SPARKLERS July 17, 2002

Interesting Paired CHARDONNAYS
May 15, 2002

2001 Southern Hemisphere SAUVIGNON BLANCS   Feb. 20, 2002

1999 ZINFANDELS January 16, 2002

HOLIDAY SEASON BACCHANALIA
December 5, 2001

1999-2000 New PINOT NOIRS November 14, 2001

1999 CALIFORNIA ZINFANDELS October 17, 2001

1998 CALIFORNIA CABERNETS September 19, 2001

1999 LANGUEDOC REDS August 15, 2001

1997 SAUTERNES July 18, 2001

Mostly 1998 NEBBIOLO June 20, 2001

1999 PINOT NOIRS May 16, 2001

1996 SAINT-MILION Tasting April 18, 2001

CARNEROS CHARDONNAYS March 21, 2001

1984-1985 NAPA CABERNETS/John Vignau Memorial Tasting  October 20, 2000

1997 CALIFORNIA CABERNETS   September 20, 2000

1998 CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS   August 16, 2000

WINES FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE: CLARETS  June 21, 2000

WINES FROM UNDER THE TUSCAN (and Umbrian) SUN   Aprile 19, 2000

1997 BORDEAUX: MEDOC May 17, 2000

 

 

 

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