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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A California Pinot from a Famous Name

Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Blue-Slide Ridge Vineyard 2003

James Laube
Posted: May 5, 2009

Recently, after a triumphant visit to my tax accountant, having fulfilled my patriotic duties, I ended up in my cellar searching through some bins. I didn't have any particular wine in mind; then I came across the 2003 Marcassin Pinot Noir and decided to reward myself.

The 2003 Sonoma Coast Blue-Slide Ridge Vineyard bottling was my favorite of the trio that Marcassin released that vintage (the others being the Marcassin Vineyard and the Three Sisters bottlings). Marcassin is owned by the renowned winemaking team of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer, and the Blue-Slide Ridge grapes come from a site near their Marcassin Vineyard, from a vineyard owned by the Martinelli family.

This wine is drinking extremely well now, with tiers of ripe cherry, wild raspberry, spice and subtle earthy-mineral nuances. The balance is near perfect between body, acidity and tannins. It's texturally smooth and seamless, with a long, complex finish. It's still every bit as good as when I reviewed it blind a year ago, worthy of its original 96-point rating. Though it was released at $90, it has already appreciated considerably in price at auction.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the official blind-tasting review and get the current auction price for Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Blue Slide Ranch 2003 (96 points, $90 on release)

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated California Pinot Noirs, along with our quick lists of Top Values in California Pinot Noir.

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