Domestic Pinot 2 Part Question

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Alex G
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Domestic Pinot 2 Part Question

#1 Post by Alex G » November 30th, 2016, 6:40 am

We are long time California Cabernet /blend drinkers, and have been enjoying exploring domestic Pinot Noirs over the last year or so.

We're finding ourselves enjoying Rivers-Marie and Rhys very much.

Question 1: What other domestic producers are in this genre, or near it, that we should know and taste?

Question 2: With our annual trip to Napa / Sonoma in January, I'd like to set up several tastings with Pinot producers. Where should we go for Pinot?

Thank you!

Alex
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Domestic Pinot 2 Part Question

#2 Post by Fred Bower » November 30th, 2016, 7:17 am

I think Santa Cruz Mountains is out of the question for a Napa/Sonoma trip, so I'd say focus on Russian River Valley addresses. I have no idea who is open to appointments and who isn't. Williams-Selyem, Dehlinger, Rochioli, and Hanzell all come to mind as possibly interesting to you. I don't drink many cab blends so can't cast my palate preferences to your approach angle on the Pinot Noir, but I applaud the direction of your taste drift.

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#3 Post by Alex G » November 30th, 2016, 7:29 am

Thank you. I know Sojourn has a tasting room in Sonoma so we're going to taste there... What others in the area?
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#4 Post by dave kammerer » November 30th, 2016, 7:32 am

Dehlinger and Scherrer are a must try and good to visit if you can get an appointment. Peay is also fantastic.

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#5 Post by Chris Tuttle » November 30th, 2016, 7:45 am

I think you might like Holdredge. I might try to arrange something with Eric at Ladd Cellars, also.

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#6 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » November 30th, 2016, 8:03 am

Alex - the 2 you mentioned, Rhys and Rivers Marie are among a very small group of pinot producers that I buy from every year. Some others I really enjoy and suggest you try are Kutch, Scherrer and Ceritas.

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#7 Post by Fred Bower » November 30th, 2016, 8:04 am

Other names coming to mind as I think more on it are Littorai and Hirsch.

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#8 Post by Richard T r i m p i » November 30th, 2016, 8:30 am

While in Napa, a visit to Failla might work out. The Pinots are well made if a touch more "purple" than the 2 you mentioned.

A plug for Porter Creek in RRV. Alex and his wife are great people. He did some training in Burgundy and is a very experienced Pinot-maker. The family has been winemaking there for almost 35 years. The Pinots combine appropriate ripeness for the AVA with charm and restraint.

Also, Joseph Swan is right down the road and worth a stop...Rod Berglund being another extremely experienced hand.

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#9 Post by R M Kriete » November 30th, 2016, 3:48 pm

Siduri in Santa Rosa. Adam only has 20+ Pinots to choose from.

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#10 Post by Mike S. » November 30th, 2016, 4:00 pm

Soliste and Kutch. They will host a tasting if you call well in advance for an appointment. My two favorite pinot producers. The Prince of Pinot has given these two wine makers his highest praise and scores. Both make a lighter more Burgundian style wine.
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#11 Post by Tim Thomas » November 30th, 2016, 4:05 pm

Arcadian.

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#12 Post by Steven Brown » November 30th, 2016, 6:40 pm

If you’re going to visit Sojourn you might as well stumble across the square when you’re done and visit Walt. They say they make pinot noir for people who like cabernet. Indeed, they’re luscious!

If you’re in the Russian River Valley you should visit Hartford.

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#13 Post by Mark Gerdelmann » November 30th, 2016, 7:03 pm

Ancillary is a Pinot project between Mike Smith and Mark Carter. I think you would enjoy it. I have been buying River Marie for years. Coming from a cab perspective I think you would like Kosta Brown, but it is difficult to get.

Go to Envy Wines in Calisoga, you can try Mike's wines which are phenomenal cabs and Ancillary Pinot's.

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#14 Post by Alan C h a n » November 30th, 2016, 7:09 pm

Copain is of the controlled ripeness school and in my top tier for CA pinot, and the winery is in Healdsburg even though most of the grapes are from Anderson Valley. Essential visit in my book if you're going to be in Sonoma.
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#15 Post by Mike S. » November 30th, 2016, 9:15 pm

Arcadian is a great pinot. Joe makes a list of world class wines. Some with age are available for purchase from the winery. BUT not in Napa.
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#16 Post by Scott E. » December 1st, 2016, 9:14 am

I also enjoy Rhys pinots. Another one you may want to check out in the Russian River area is Arista. They also make some tasty white wines.
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#17 Post by Anton D » December 1st, 2016, 9:29 am

I agree with the above and would forcefully recommend Lynmar.

Reserve one of their special tasting experiences and be prepared to be wowed.

Rochioli typically only offers tastes of one current pinot or chardonnay, so it would be a quick stop.

If you can get in at Williams Selyem, their tastings are amazing.

Depending on how your trip lines up with the schedule at Chasseur, you could be in for a real treat. Their pinots are classic! Honestly fabulous.

I do not know if they do visits, but I buy their wine: Peter Michael might blow you away for chard, pinot, and cab based wines!

Lastly, Merry Edwards makes nice pinots (and wine, in general) and you can schedule a pretty nice tasting experience.

I strongly recommend appointments and would be willing to generalize and say that "buying up" for the better select experiences is well worth it.

Let us know what you do!

(Once more, the Lynmar experience is the bomb...upgrade to any level they will do!)
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#18 Post by James Cross » December 1st, 2016, 9:34 am

A hearty second and third on Lynmar. Very impressive place with huge doors that they open when the weather is nice; just like tasting outside. Great glass ware, big pours, and they usually have something hidden under the counter. Just pay for the best tasting. Some of their single vineyard wines are probably not worth the tariff, but the entry level wines are good values. I met their former winemaker (name escapes me now; Bibiana??) in Vegas when she was with Adam Lee and one of the Pisoni boys, who I think she married.

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#19 Post by Karen Troisi » December 1st, 2016, 12:41 pm

I recently tasted through Fulcrum's line-up and was very impressed. Nice (new) tasting room on Sonoma square.
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#20 Post by Curtis Chen » December 1st, 2016, 1:04 pm

+1 for Arcadian.

As for Pinots in Napa, I wouldn't bother. Anyone care to disagree?
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#21 Post by Peter Simpson » December 1st, 2016, 1:22 pm

Hendry make a very decent Napa Pinot. They are just West of the city of Napa and are in one of the coolest spots in County. Cool air falling down the slopes of Mount Veeder pools in their Pinot vineyard, and most days they get morning fog.
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#22 Post by David_S » December 1st, 2016, 1:55 pm

C Chen wrote:+1 for Arcadian.

As for Pinots in Napa, I wouldn't bother. Anyone care to disagree?
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#23 Post by Corey N. » December 1st, 2016, 2:06 pm

I think Rivers-Marie and Rhys are fairly different with R-M being the bigger of the two wines, often with a good deal of orange peel. I find Rhys wines are a bit more elegant.

At any rate, I think Briceland wines are a great deal. I've gotten that orange peel in some of their wines (notably the 14 Humboldt County) but stylistically, they're not quite as big as the R-M, shading more toward Rhys (Briceland ABVs seem to have fallen a bit over the years). My favorite is the Ronda's Vineyard, which has to be one of the great SVD bargains in California. They will participate in BerserkerDay, highly recommended.

But don't just take my word for it, check out this thread.

Arcadian is another interesting winery in that their wines are built for the long haul. Littorai is another very good shout.

Disclaimer: I consider Andrew (the winemaker) a friend. He's also a Berserker.
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#24 Post by Joe S. » December 1st, 2016, 5:43 pm

I would make appointments at Rhy and Big Basin one day in Santa Cruz, then head to Littorai, Copain, and Williams Selyem the next day. That would be a good trip for me. :-) (Add in Ridge in SC if you are also so inclined.) [cheers.gif]
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#25 Post by David H. » December 1st, 2016, 5:53 pm

Joseph Swan
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Copain
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#26 Post by Howard Cooper » December 1st, 2016, 7:53 pm

Littorai
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#27 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » December 1st, 2016, 10:32 pm

Arcadian


... but only if you want the most age-worthy and elegantly powerful Pinots being made in America. IMO, Rhys is the only winery that is even in the same qualitative zip code as Arcadian, but they've yet to really prove themselves (I am sold on Rhys, btw). Joe's wines are simply genius, and I fear his efforts won't be adequately recognized until many many years down the road.
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#28 Post by Corey N. » December 2nd, 2016, 6:10 am

^ Todd confirmed Arcadian were "in" for BerserkerDay.

Speaking of, BerserkerDay is a great time to pick up some 3 or 6-packs of Pinots from across California at great prices. Highly recommended to help narrow down your preferences and the pricing is downright excellent in many cases.
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#29 Post by Jason Hagen » December 2nd, 2016, 12:45 pm

All good recos. Although I haven't tasted the last few vintages, I would add Mt Eden.

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#30 Post by Alex G » January 10th, 2017, 11:41 am

Following up and closing the loop here. Our trip is this weekend.

Based on your feedback in this thread, we have booked tastings with:

Lynmar Estate
Littorai
Scherrer
Kutch

On the more typical Cabernet front we will be visiting with:

Roy Piper
Mike Smith
Schoolhouse Winery (which also makes a nice Pinot I'm told)

Will probably add another 2-3 off-the-cuff visits, based on recommendations from the folks we'll be tasting with.

I'll report back when we're back.

How nice to go on our Napa-Sonoma buying spree in the middle of list offerings season! Sigh...
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#31 Post by T. Altmayer » January 10th, 2017, 12:06 pm

If you like Rhys, Windy Oaks is another Santa Cruz Mountains pinot producer. To me, they are among the most balanced and enjoyable pinots in California.
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#32 Post by dsimmons » January 10th, 2017, 12:36 pm

[quote="Alex G"]Following up and closing the loop here. Our trip is this weekend.



If you are going this weekend you might want to pack hipwaders!
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#33 Post by Wes Barton » January 10th, 2017, 5:34 pm

Lots of good suggestions. Also, good advice to check the Berserker Day offerings, as there will be many good sampler packs to choose from, that make for good intros.

If you have time in SF, consider appointments at August West and/or Cellars 33. (Both friends and fellow Berserkers.)
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#34 Post by Anton D » January 10th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Oh, man, a tasting at Roy Piper!

Way cool.
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#35 Post by T&om c&lement » January 10th, 2017, 6:56 pm

If you going tomSojourn for a tasting, I'd definitely swing by Sunflower Cafe for lunch. It's right on the square and one of the better tomato soups I've had.

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#36 Post by Brandon J. » January 10th, 2017, 7:18 pm

Post your results!

You got pretty solid recommendations (he says with only 7 days of experience in California).

Failla was absolutely worth visiting in Napa. Not only do they make great wine, their tasting room is so not Napa. It's tucked away on a side hill in a hunting cabin and the tastings are intimate and really fun. I would personally shy away from Merry Edwards, the wine is fine but it's like a hotel lobby/time share pitch feel. Just really forced and not enjoyable.

Porter creek gets my vote also, dinky little tasting room and some very cool wines. I'd add Benovia and Innman to your list.

Have fun!
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#37 Post by CWun » January 10th, 2017, 7:58 pm

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