2002 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir:
I had this a few nights ago. Good wine, but nothing to write home about.
I opened it about 1 1/2 hours before my first glass. After pouring the first glass, I immediately sensed what I describe as "seared Ahi" or "beef carpaccio." Certain Pinot Noirs, often from Oregon have this raw fleshy taste to me and it turns me off. I drank the first glass without enjoying it too much, so it took a while. At well over 2 hours of bottle air, I poured a second glass. This was much better. The raw flesh characteristic had blown off considerably and I was dealing with a real CA Pinot now. I was stunned, nearly taken aback, by the lack of richness in this wine. I don't mean to use this as a negative, but knowing both Siduri and the Santa Lucia Highlands, I was expecting something akin to a Syrah. What I got was a deffinite Pinot -- elegant, rich, medium+ bodied, nuanced. It certainly wasn't light, but this was not the "stand up to anything" style of Pinot I was expecting. Dried herb du Provance, red and black cherry, a hint of raspberry, and just a trace of vanilla were the dominant characteristics of this wine. It was certainly good, but I was not as impressed as I wanted to be. I would sooner pay the extra $15 and get the Siduri Pisoni PN, or else spend less and get a Bergstrom, Serene Yamhill Cuvee, Garry Farrell, Keller, etc. For about the same price, the 2001 Ojai Clos Pepe beats the s#%t out of this. 90.5
2001 Ojai Clos Pepe Pinot Noir:
Yes, this is a Syrot/Pinah so anyone who can't handle that style of Pinot won't enjoy this much. Personally, I enjoy both the elegant, nuanced, US Pinots, such as Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge and Ken Wrights, as well as the rich, dark Pinots such as many Martinellis and Peter Michael Le Moulin Rouge -- and this.
I knew excatly what I was doing when I ordered this wine and I actually decided to drink this after a Neal Cab, assuming that it would be made in this style and stand up. It did. The wine is thick, rich, has just a hint of sweetness, and is dominated by its super-black, rich, cherry flavors. There is a hint of brown spice to the nose which becomes much more noticable on the palate. The finish is both intense and long. I'd think twice about pairing this with delicate fish, but, wow, would this be good with a lamb dish. I suspect this will improve with short term cellaring -- 1 year or so. 91.5
For $36/bottle after discount this is a winner and I'm putting the 2002 on my "deffinite order" list.
"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields