Greetings, Dear Readers:
I’m on hiatus this week spending some much-needed time with visiting family.
In the interim, my heart goes out my intrepid friends and colleagues in Napa and Sonoma enduring the wildfires. You will prevail. No doubt. #WineCountryStrong.
I leave you with a few images from two top-tier Reserve tastings I tippled through this past week, both showcasing stellar New World pinot noir and chardonnay.
The first, a 20th Vintage Vertical Tasting of Central Otago’s Felton Road at San Francisco’s Farallon Restaurant featured winemaker Blair Walter, who teed up four different flights before lunch, then continued the barrage of brilliance throughout a gorgeous four-course luncheon. In full disclosure, I arrived in time to taste through the final two flights of pinot noirs, (I missed the new releases and chardonnays) and had to depart after the second course. That said, genius attracts notice, however fleeting the encounter.
Generally speaking, the 2011-2015 pinot noirs from Cornish Point and Calvert vineyards sported clarion ruby robes, lean bodies, pristine fruited aromas, animated acids, keen minerality, and a lingering finish.
The final flight, however – 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 pinot noirs – proved heart-stopping in their grace, elegance, and finesse. Bouquets varied from stewed red fruits in Block 2003, to barnyard notes in Block 3 2005, leather notes in Block 3 2007, savory hints in Block 5 2009, and sous bois in Block 5 2010. Burgundy-inspired indeed.
Noble of tannins, seamless in structure, haunting in finish, these Felton Road reserve pinot noirs merit inclusion among the pantheon of finest Burgundians in their quality, complexity, and age-worthiness.
More to follow about specific tasting notes, variations in soils, microclimates, farming, and production techniques of Felton Road.
Link to my two-part series in Palate Press on Central Otago wineries here:
The second Reserve tasting, Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s annual Pinot Paradise at Pasatiempo Golf Club’s Hollins House, offered pours from local legends like Big Basin, Mt. Eden, King’s Estate, Mindego Ridge, and Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards.
A post-tasting Technical Session also featured Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, Equinox & Barolo Winery, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Thomas Fogarty Winery, and Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards.
You’ll be hearing more about these local wineries in future posts, but the undisputed stand-out of the event was Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association show of support for Napa and Sonoma through #CAWineStrong.
I’d love to hear your thoughts – please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also follow me on social media – links above. Cheers!
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