Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir 2011 Monterey: Pinot with punch @BelleGlosMeiomi @wtso

belle glos las alturas 2011For our first Wines Til Sold Out (wtso) purchase, we selected the Belle Glos duo of Pinot Noir.  The first one we had was last night’s selection of the Las Alturas which is from Monterey County, just southwest of San Francisco.  I’m a bit picky with my Pinot selections as I’m not a fan of either old world Pinot (earthy, floral), or much of the Carneros region Pinot (still earthy).  I’ve had a lot of success with the Russian River Valley area, but not much experience with Monterey County, so this was a calculated risk.

The Belle Glos brand is from the Wagner family and Caymus fame, so you’ve go to believe that they know what they’re doing.  I can assure you that they do as this is a one real bottle of wine.  This is not a light Pinot, but what I’ll call a Napa Cab drinker’s Pinot.  It’s fruit forward, balanced, and just truly delicious.  Cheers.

Modus Operandi 2009 Pinot Noir @moduswines: Pomegranate, really!

What is both crisp, fruity, a bit sour and a tad sweet – a Pomegranate and this ’09 Modus Pinot which has some fun traits that I’ve not recently seen in a Pinot.  Jason (the winemaker) does some cool stuff with his bigger reds, but this was a great surprise that I really enjoyed.modus logo

The Crusher Wilson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 – Nice Summer Red @totalwine @donandsons

This is the 2nd bottle of The Crusher that we’ve enjoyed – the first was in July 2011 and this is a great sequel.  I really like Pinot Noir in the summer as it goes well with many foods that I prepare (tonight: red salt crusted pork loin chop and roasted asparagus with olive oil) and it doesn’t overpower it at all.  Summer is great for whites, but I can’t drink white wine all summer; I get bored.

This version of The Crusher makes me think that the winemaker put together cranberries and plum and dropped a violet in the top of the bottle for a nice floral scent.  Cheers.

Jackhammer Pinot Noir Central Coast 2010: Not Your Grandmother’s Pinot! @CtlCstUncorked @winelibrary

This is the first bottle we opened from our Winelibrary order (love that they ship to PA!).  This Pinot from Jackhammer has grapes from each of the Central Coast counties (Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara) and is representative of all.  For $14, this is a bargain as it’s tough to find a solid Pinot for much less than $25.  This is a very full Pinot that reminds me more of a Tempranillo as it’s fleshy fruit is quite evident.  It’s smooth without the earthy-ness that comes with the “traditional” pinots.  Loved it!

J. Hofstatter Meczan Pinot Nero Alto Adige DOC 2009 at Osteria Philly @JeffreyMichaud

We enjoyed this Pinot Nero at Osteria last week; Pinot Nero is the Italian Pinot Noir and this is from the Alto Adige region.  This wine was very smooth, fruit forward and a light tannin finish.  I’d say it was in the medium-dry range and complimented our dinner perfectly.  Personally, I think Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile wines and in this case, pleased the multiple palates at the table.

On a side note, the vegetable antipasti at Osteria is amazing, especially the brussels sprouts, oven roasted tomatoes, julienned squash salad, and salt roasted beets.  Other winners were the corn bolognese, skate wing, and the lemon & raspberry charlotte.

The Crusher Pinot Noir – Very Full Flavored…and Not Too Heavy @donandsons

Just had this very cool named wine at Zavino (my favorite artisan pizza spot in Philly) and had this awesome Pinot Noir.  Many Pinots are light and easy drinking – – this, however is a really full flavored one with blueberry, plum and creamy vanilla on the finish.  I’m a fan and will look for it on the shelves at my local store…or on my next wine country trip.

Arista Winery 2008 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir @AristaWinery

Yes, it’s a long name for a vineyard specific wine, but this Arista Bacigalupi is a wonderful Pinot which showcases its Russian River home.  We visited Arista on our December 2010 Sonoma trip, and it’s a must-do for anyone doing wine tasting in the Russian River Valley.  Their wines are wonderful, across the board, people are welcoming, and the scenery is gorgeous.

We enjoyed this Pinot on Friday night with dinner at Caffe Casta Diva and this balanced, slightly fruit forward Pinot complimented our dinner well.  There isn’t much in the way of earth undertones in this Pinot, but I found some mild raspberry and dark cherry; it’s on the richer side of Pinot and quite enjoyable.  This was the last of our Sonoma trip Pinots…maybe it’s time to go back!

Mietz Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007

We had this Mietz Cellars Pinot Noir this week with a friend at a local BYOB.  I purchased this as I wanted a versatile red for dinner and this fit the bill; I find Pinot Noir to be one of the most flexible reds out there.  This Mietz Cellars Pinot is indicative of the Russian River style which I generally like.  It’s light, a little fruity with some cherry notes and very reasonable as Pinot can be pricey.  Enjoy this by itself, with some cheese or your favorite food.

Dutton-Goldfield 2008 Sanchietti Vineyard Pinot Noir (Outstanding!)@DuttonGoldfield

On our visit to Sonoma, specifically, our stay in Healdsburg and the surrounding valley, our first stop was at Dutton Goldfield in Sebastopol.  The staff was great and the wine really shines here.  Their Pinot Noir is the star and this Sanchietti was our favorite of the bunch.  It’s a bit floral (think rose garden) on the nose and then it opens up to a black-blueberry roundness without being too fruity.  The thing we really like about the Sonoma Pinots is their lack of earthiness found in many other Pinots (especially those from the “old world”).  I also find Pinots like this to be very food friendly without the ‘risk’ of taking away from that meal you’ve been working on all day.  If you’re lucky enough to find the DG Pinot in a store near you, grab it; if you’re even luckier and your home state allows direct shipping – – order this one and see how patient you can be…

Gary Farrell 2008 Pinot Noir – Santa Maria, Bien Nacido Vineyard: Fresh & Pinot

The view from the Gary Farrell tasting room is incredible and you can really take in the breadth of Sonoma from there.  This Pinot takes me back to that visit and reminds me of the wonderful (non-earthy) pinots we had in the Russian River valley.  I think this one is best described with a fruit analogy – it’s like a pomegranate meets a grape…  This wine has the initial fresh tartness of the pomegranate and, well, it’s a wine, so you have to imagine a grape in there somewhere too.  This pinot will go well with just about any food or just by itself too.