May 18, 2008

2006 Lynmar Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

The wily charms of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir have wooed me many times in the past, but the most recent and glaring example would have to be this particular bottle from Lynmar Estate. This was a spur of the moment purchase from Whole Foods of all places, who has a suprisingly good, albeit small selection of wines. Normally I wouldn't drink a bottle so young (who am I kidding,) but after stumbling upon this in the store felt it was my duty to save it from the un-temperature controlled confines of Whole Foods, and pop it open with a nice dinner. On this particular night I was looking for something rich and generous that would provide instant gratification after a long day. Something that comes wrapped in the package of a Russian River Pinot Noir. Yet again, Lynmar did not let me down.

I challenge anyone to dispute that Lynmar is highly overlooked as a serious Pinot Noir producer by many, because when compared with some of the highly touted "cultish" Pinot Noirs from the same region their wines definitely hold their own, and in fact prevail against many. Founded in 1990 by Lynn Fritz, Lynmar produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with fruit sourced from the Russian River appellation. Their Quail Hill Vineyard has some of the oldest Pinot vines in the Russian River. Hugh Chapelle is the winemaker here, and has worked with Napa and Sonoma fruit for over a decade, at various wineries including Flowers and Madrona Vineyards. It probably also doesn't that they have Paul Hobbs as a part of their winemaking team. Paul has been consulting winemaker for a number of vintages now.

To be honest, I can't recall a Pinot from the Russian River that I have disliked. I'm sure if I thought hard enough I might be able to name one, but they seem to be far and few between. While I was thinking of that, my girlfriend's nose finally came away from the glass, and the first thing out of her mouth was "this is why I love Pinot." I can't think of a better endorsement than that.

Tasting Notes:
This wine is sort of a "middle of the road" Pinot... Not too light, and not to extracted, while holding a striking shade of red-violet in the glass. Perfectly ripe, but not overdone pure fruit aromas leap out the glass- cherry, raspberry, citrus, a little clove and a touch of mint making an attractive and fruit forward nose. Full bodied on the palate with much of the same cherry, raspberry, and spice flavors. Beautifully balanced with good acidity, well integrated tannins and a half minute finish, this might become a little bit more interesting in a year or two, but I don't see any reason why you should avoid drinking it now.

Price: $40

Score: 87-90

14.4% alcohol
14 Months in French Oak
Cases Produced: 3,196


May 9, 2008

2006 Kosta Browne Rose of Pinot Noir

Apparently I'm averaging about 1 blog post per month, which is pretty sad considering there's bloggers out there that blog daily. I'm still drinking plenty of wine but just haven't had the time or made the effort to write about it. Hopefully I can update this thing at least once a week, and with that being said I bring you a post about Rose! And what better wine to blog about than one from the combined efforts of Dan Kosta and Michael Browne? I usually drink Rose within the first year of release, but this one somehow managed to evade me and hid in the cellar, only to be discovered amidst new deliveries and a long overdue organization. I love those sly bottles that hide amongst everything else, trying to stretch out their lifespan until they're either over the hill or just begging to be drank...

As the days begin getting hot here in Southern California, Rose makes the perfect companion to a nice summer afternoon. I won't even begin to go into the differences between the horrid blush adomination that is white zin or whether drinking Rose is acceptable for men, and will instead assume those reading this are all on the same page. If not, you're missing out, and you probably stoppe drinking Merlot circa 2004. Rose wines are some of the most versatile, delicious quaffers to pair with food.

The 2006 Kosta Browne wines have been an issue of some discussion in various wine circles and internet message boards. Some feel they are a step down from the highly touted 2005's, describing them as out of balance and hot. I subscribe to the notion that bottle shock is a real phenomenon, however I do not think that unbalanced wines will magically come together years down the road, although anyone who's been privileged to sip a '47 Cheval Blanc might disagree with me. Could this Rose be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the 2006 KB's or is it just a bottle at the end of it's life giving us it's last dying breath?

Tasting Notes:
In the glass this wine is a nice light red color with a nose that's packed with scents of strawberries, watermelon and some sweet soil with flashes of cinnamon and spice. I was concerned from others notes there would be significant heat but served at cellar temp I found none. Interestingly enough I found a bit of petillance on the first sip, which quickly went away with air time. This was definitely thinner than previous Rose's I've had from KB, but carried pleasant flavors of strawberries, raspberries and cream mixed with a bit of watermelon. Lacking a bit in the acidity department and the finish is rather short, but a very pleasant wine that I think would be great with some food out on the patio on a lazy afternoon.

Price: $18

Score: 81-84

14.2% alcohol
100% Pinot Noir