February 7, 2008

2005 Tyler Pinot Noir - Dierberg Vineyard

Lately I've been watching a lot of young, creative assistant winemakers branch out to begin making their own wines with some stunning results. One thing that excites me so much about this is the chance to enjoy the wines from the beginning, and watch how they evolve over time. This is only the first vintage from Tyler Winery, and a very impressive debut...

Founder and winemaker Justin Willett honed his chops working as assistant winemaker at Arcadian, as well as holding the position of wine director at Sevilla, a restaurant in Santa Barabra. He left both to pursue this project and has succeeded in making some very distinctive, high quality Pinot Noir that carries a remarkable sense of place, unique profile, and will age nicely for years to come. After tasting the wines of the premier release (2005) I can't wait to see what the upcoming vintage has to offer.

Justin's aim is to produce delicate wines with structure and nuance, which is a nice change from the overextracted, alcoholic jammy fruit bombs that have become very common throughout California. It's a bit more Burgundian than the average Cali Pinot but still has the stamp of a central California wine done right. The fruit is sourced from the Dierberg vineyard, located in the Santa Maria Valley, a vineyard rife with sandy loam soils and a healthy western exposure. The Dierberg will definitely improve with some time in the decanter and will only get better if you choose to cellar it for a few years to come. I can see this wine becoming just stunning years from now. It has the structure, balance and backbone to age gracefully and although it's very nice and drinkable now, I'd advise some patience. Decanting helps, but time is the only thing that will reveal the true colors of this wine. With the small production so far, this is one mailing list I'm excited to be on and will continue to watch out for the upcoming 2006 vintage.

Tasting Notes:
Dark ruby in the glass, the nose on this wine is what I'm captivated by. Very expressive with tons of earth and tinges of funk wrapped up tight in a blanket of spice, ripe dark cherry, raspberry, and orange citrus. 14.2% alcohol and it's no where to be found. After some air time, there is some lovely subtle and tasteful oak that makes an appearance as well. With a mouthfeel of velvet and silk, flavors of tart black cherry and black currant effortlessly transition into earthy notes on the mid palate, with finely grained tannins and a nice, long finish.

Price: $50

Score: 89-93

14.2% Alcohol
60% New French Oak
56 Cases Produced


Jill said...

Hi Grape King,

We had a bottle of the Tyler Fiddlestix at Hungry Cat and were equally impressed. We're going to bring in a couple of cases. Thanks for this review! It's the bottle we didn't get a chance to try...

Grape King said...

Hi Jill,
I enjoyed the Fiddlestix as well and think they both are delicious young, with the exception of the Fiddlestix needing more decant time. I'm curious if there are any cases left? Thanks for the comment.

- Dan

Jill said...

Hi Dan - I hope so since we're supposed to be getting a case of each later this week or next!

Where in LA are you? Hope the end of the strike is a good thing for you.


Grape King said...

I'm on the border of the Glendale/ North East side of LA. I think I got lucky- I work in television but wasn't directly affected by the strike, although I know plenty of people that are now living on unemployment because of it. Hopefully the end will make work return back to normal for everyone and maybe some of my favorite shows will even come back! Love your site, by the way. It's very innovative and I don't think I've seen another one like it. Looks like you have some nice Lang & Reed Cab Franc, as well! I love just about every vintage of theirs.


Jill said...


Unfortunately I was directly affected by the strike as my better half works on a TV show that halted production for obvious reasons. Waiting to see if it's coming back in the near term or the fall. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for the kind words about the site. We're trying to be different (just hope we're not too different for our own good!). Let me know if there's anything you're ever trying to track down and we'll do our best to hunt it for you!



Grape King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyle Fass said...

I just tasted this today and liked it alot. Nice high acidity and good definition of flavors.

Grape King said...

Thanks for the comment. I'm a big fan of these wines and am really looking forward to the 06's as well. Can't wait to see how these perform in a few years.