Tuesday's blog about 2005 California Pinots generated quite a response. Thanks to all of you for sharing your opinions. I'd like to reiterate one point that I made and clarify a second one.
Every vintage has its pros and cons. For me, the weak seam in 2005 is that plenty of the wines I’ve tasted are herbal and underripe. That hardly means the vintage is a disaster—2005 is far from that, and I've found many exciting '05s to recommend. It’s simply quite different than its predecessors, namely 2004 and 2003. If you like the style of the '03s and '04s, you’ll find that the '05s are leaner, lower in alcohol, higher in acidity, and in many cases, less ripe. Nothing wrong with that—especially if the wines have flavor, depth and complexity.
It seems like many Pinot lovers are looking for Burgundy from California, and that’s a tall order. Lately, many good California Pinots are a result of winemakers letting their vineyards dictate the style. In doing so, they've found that a riper, more opulent style is their forte. There will always be vintners who pursue a Burgundian model, and it’s hard to find a better goal, elusive as it may be.
I did not quote Adam Lee of Siduri to hang him out to dry on the vintage or single-vineyard bottlings. His candor is admirable. The debate about the vintage, its strengths and its weaknesses, is healthy and instructive for winemakers and consumers alike.
Many of the winemakers producing California Pinot Noir, and many of the Pinot vineyards, are relatively new to the game. It's prudent to question the styles and viability of single-vineyard wines—or any wine for that matter. These winemakers and vineyards will have plenty of time to prove what they can or can’t deliver.
It's just part of the game for winemakers such as Lee or Brian Loring or Merry Edwards to critique themselves, and critics have the right to do the same. There are no right or wrong answers—it's a matter of personal preference. Thank goodness we don’t all like the same styles of wines …Can you imagine how boring the world would be?
It takes time for some wines to blossom, and as Loring notes in his reply on Tuesday, some of the '05s may need more time in the bottle to reach their full potential. Yet another perspective that merits consideration.
Adam Lee — Santa Rosa, CA — May 18, 2007 11:54am ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — May 18, 2007 12:12pm ET
Shelby Nussbaum — Connecticut — May 29, 2007 12:27pm ET
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