Today's conversation is about consistency in style, which is often overlooked or minimized in evaluating wineries and winemakers.
A winery that routinely makes wines that are similar in style and quality can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Wines that are consistently very good, earning 88- to 89-point ratings, for example, often get pushed to the back-burner in favor of wines that score, say, a 93.
But if you like a winery's style, and it's consistent, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks—you know you'll always enjoy wines from that winery. If a winery consistently makes a style that you don't enjoy, that's helpful, too—you automatically know to look elsewhere when purchasing wine.
We are now seeing that more wineries than ever are honing in on house styles and, in the case of Pinot Noir, you can see both the vineyard's footprint and the vintner's mark across a wide range of wines.
Take Merry Edwards. She's amazingly consistent with her Pinots, and she has a distinct style. Her Pinots are bright and vivid, with intense yet delicate flavors and crisp acidity. She also relies on the benefits of aging so that her wines develop a wider range of complex flavors.
A reader recently asked me if Edwards' 2004 Sonoma Coast Pinot is better than her 2003. I enjoyed a bottle of the 2004 the other night, and I'd say it's probably just as good. Perhaps it's even a little better.
Our December 15 issue, which focused on Pinot Noir producers, highlights more of my favorites.
But enough about my tastes.
How about yours? Which producers do you find to be the most consistent?