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james laube's wine flights

A Flashy New Pinot Noir from De Loach

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Sep 27, 2007 12:15pm ET

When a winery turns itself around, and gets back into a groove with its new wines, it’s one of those happy win-win situations.

The 2006 De Loach Russian River Pinot Noir ($20, 17,000 cases) reflects this winery’s renewed focus on higher quality wines. The winery, once one of Sonoma’s top producers of Chardonnay and Zinfandel, fell on hard times a few years ago. A victim of its own growth, it eventually ended up in a bankruptcy sale and was acquired by the Boisset family, one of France’s largest vintners.

The new owners hired Greg LaFollette as winemaker. He has a handsome résumé of wines and wineries, including his own successful label, Tandem, and shows what can be done with proper fruit selection and refined winemaking. This wine, which showed up in one of my blind tastings this week, is bright, ripe and juicy, with complex wild berry, blackberry and raspberry fruit that’s vibrant, with a clean, persistent finish.

The wine stands on its own merits. But the price and availability make it an exciting choice and makes me hopeful that future De Loach wines will show similar improvements.

Donald C Young
des moines,ia —  September 27, 2007 5:23pm ET
Back in the mid-80s, this was the first chardonnay that my wife and I fell in love with and remained our go-to wine for several years. It's good to see them back.
Gregory Diaz
Ponce Puerto Rico —  September 28, 2007 10:39am ET
This is completely true, I Believe the wines have gained a renowned character, and with Greg Lafollette(which I have had the honor of being with in multiple pinots tasting) at the helm of the winemaking, things can only get better for De Loach from here, and if you have tasted his pinots from Tandem you will know what I mean!!!!!
Alan Vinci
springfield, n.j. —  September 28, 2007 1:02pm ET
I can remember drinking some wonderful zins from De Loach back in the mid 90's. It's good to see them have a promising future with Lafollette. James have you given a score to the pinot you have tried? just curious... I have never tried his tandem pinots. Are they widely available?
James Laube
Napa, CA —  September 28, 2007 1:08pm ET
Alan, our policy is to not run scores on new release wines before they're published, but for me to endorse it should be a hint. Tandum's wines are smaller production; not sure how widely distributed they are.
William Keene
North Carolina —  September 28, 2007 3:03pm ET
What a tease!

Just kidding James. I appreciate the tip. A solid Cali pinot for $20? Gotta love that. I will certainly pick some up. Thanks again.
De Loach Vineyards
Santa Rosa, California —  September 29, 2007 11:01am ET
Thank you for all the kind words about the 2006 Russian River Pinot noir, and the recognition for all the hard work that has gone into bringing DeLoach Vineyards back to the quality level it's been known for.Brian Maloney,Associate Winemaker
Hugh L Sutherland Jr-m
miramar beach, fl —  September 29, 2007 12:33pm ET
Will miracles never cease!!! A $20 Sonoma Pinot that is recommended. I can't wait until we can get it. Nice to see DeLoach back. I hope that their Zins also improve.
Steve Barber
Clayton, CA. —  October 1, 2007 4:27pm ET
To: Brian MaloneyJust picked up two bottles of DeLoach 2006 Russian River Pinot. I'll let some neighbors know about it as well. Congratulations, on the nice endorsement from Laube.
De Loach Vineyards
Santa Rosa, California —  October 2, 2007 9:19am ET
Thanks for putting out the good word Steve, anytime you're up in the RRV, come by. We have a great selection of Pinots from Sonoma Coast and RRV.Regards,Brian
Holger Berndt
SF —  October 9, 2007 10:46pm ET
I picked some up today at Costco for $15 and am really looking forward to trying it. We have some friends in Sonoma that used to be big De Loach fans and brought us there a number of years ago for a tasting at release time. I'm hoping this vintage rekindles those fond memories...
Tom Ferrando
Redwood City, CA —  November 10, 2008 6:22pm ET
Was at my local Costco today but all the '06 was gone and there were just a few bottles of the '07 so I bought 2 at $16 each. I will be interested to see how it stacks up against the '06. I will comment after I have an oppotunity to sample one. Has anyone else tried the '07 vintage?

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