Like many of you with cellars, lately I’ve paid more attention to my “paid for” section rather than my wish-list imaginings.
In the past week or so, on the heels of my DRC tasting, I’ve opened four mature California Pinot Noirs. Most of the time, I normally would have consumed these wines years ago, but they were lost in the shuffle and lived anonymously for years, and in two cases, decades.
The 1994 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Rochioli Vineyard came from one of California’s best Pinot sites in a ripe year. I’ve tried the wine on several occasions and typically find I like the Farrell wines (all of them) in the riper vintages; others prefer the steelier quality of his wines in cooler vintages. This one had held up nicely, still healthy ruby red garnet color. Scents of wild berry, raspberry anise and earthen floor were complex. On the palate it remained delicate and well balanced. It’s a shade past its peak and this bottle may have been victim of a crumbling cork, giving it a slight hint of oxidation.
The 1999 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard is from the portion of the Rochioli Vineyard that Williams Selyem purchases. I was really looking forward to this wine. Poured, it had a great ruby-red color, deep and youthful. First sniff. Hint of corkiness. But underneath you could smell a fantastic wine. I took a sip just to taste the richness.
My 2003 Merry Edwards Russian River Klopp Ranch Méthode à l'Ancienne was disappointing. I think it was an off bottle. It looked, smelled and tasted tired for its age, with more sour cherry, rhubarb, tea and spicy tobacco scents than I’ve found in other bottles. I’ve still got a couple more to try.
I finally hit the jackpot with a wine I would have given up on as long gone. Turned out to be one of those wow moments. The 1990 Saintsbury Carneros Reserve had been in my cellar since I bought it. It survived the earthquake in 2000 and showed the scars. The label was scuffed and had tears, and the foil was crimped. But the wine was fantastic, about all you could ask for in any wine at any age. It had those wonderful mature, savory, ethereal, wilted rose petal, fresh earth and dried berry flavors, touches of spice and black licorice. It’s the kind of wine that almost defies description with its vitality. It still has time. I was both happy to share and enjoy the experience and sad to see the bottle go.
While far from conclusive evidence, it showed that Carneros Pinots could age beautifully for years, even decades.
Brent L Pierce — St. Helena, CA — February 11, 2009 5:51pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — February 11, 2009 5:57pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — February 11, 2009 7:03pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — February 11, 2009 7:04pm ET
Morgan Dawson — Rochester, NY — February 12, 2009 11:14am ET
Hoyt Hill Jr — Nashville, TN — February 12, 2009 1:07pm ET
Michael Myette — Sacramento, CA USA — February 12, 2009 1:12pm ET
Brent L Pierce — St. Helena, CA — February 12, 2009 1:43pm ET
Morgan Dawson — Rochester, NY — February 12, 2009 3:16pm ET
Jim Gallagher — Jim Gallagher — February 12, 2009 3:44pm ET
Robert Taylor — New York, NY — February 12, 2009 6:16pm ET
Paul Lin — Irvine — February 13, 2009 12:17am ET
Ted A Hunt — Fort Lauderdale, Fl — February 13, 2009 2:28pm ET
Jay J Cooke — Ripon CA — February 13, 2009 4:36pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — February 13, 2009 6:04pm ET
Jay J Cooke — Ripon CA — February 13, 2009 7:21pm ET
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