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.