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Hi there, as I'm from NZ my knowledge (due to accessibility) of US pinot is extremely limited. I've tried the Kistler Pinot(Russian vy) and the Panther Creek pinot which I rated, but I've not expirienced or heard of many others outside of those that WS has mentioned or rated. These have awkward to get to NZ to say the least. Help. Any ideas would be much appreciated. [Roll Eyes]
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I'm partial to CA, and within that I'm partial to the Russian River Valley, so with that as a warning, I'd highly recommend the Kistler you had (as well as any other Kistler you can get, RRV or Sonoma Coast), Martinelli Reserve and Three Colts (they also have some new single-vnyds which I haven't tried yet), and Rochioli (especially East and West Blocks, but even their Estate is outstanding). Down a tier in RRV I'd recommend Williams Selyem (especially Hirsch and Allen), and down another Marimar Torres. From other regions, I've enjoyed Truchard, Testarossa (Palazzio is a good value), Brewer-Clifton, Sanford (the new Rinconada is perhaps their best), Byron, David Bruce, and Ojai.

I'm sure others can recommend Oregon more wisely than I can, so I'll leave that to them. Good luck.
I would add the new Soter pinot as well as Antica Terra to the Oregon list.
California: Marcassin is still tops, but Martinelli has cut the gap with their new single-vineyards. Rochioli is my personal favorite, as is Joseph Swan and Seven Lions. DuMol has made monster wines this past vintage. Whitcraft is unique and wonderful. Ryan can be. El Molino at times. Mueller has excellent wines. Coming on: Farilla-Jordan and Woodenhead. Talley is superb.
Some of Keith's favorites:

St. Innocent
Rex Hill
Domaine Drouhin

These wines tend toward the style of Pinot that I prefer -- restrained, elegant, and somewhat Burgundian in style. In a more up-front, "drink me now" style, I've found Siduri's wines to be exuberantly drinkable (which is more than I can say for the clumsy, alcohol-laden PNs from one popular, borderline-cult producer others have recommended).
J Bembry,

I'm afraid that's the sort of thing that's "off-limits" for me, as I'm not an official WS taster / reviewer. Or unofficial, really. [Frown]

Not that this winery needs any help selling their wines, though. And VM, you are free to venture a guess.

Here's a hint: this is the winery whose "unfiltered" Chardonnay included a nice wood shaving in the bottle.

[ 08-14-2002, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: Keith Scott ]

I'm afraid my recommendation shouldn't carry much weight, as I've only tried a handful of their wines, and only in one or two vintages, but I remember liking the Hirsch vineyard quite a bit, as well as the Santa Lucia appellation bottling. I was a bit mystified by how the Willamette Valley bottling evolved in the glass, though that could have been a fluke occurence.

In fact, I like pretty much all of the Hirsch vineyard I've tried, from Siduri and others.

[ 08-15-2002, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: Keith Scott ]
Keith,thanks for mentioning us here at Siduri. We appreciate it. Please come up and visit sometime.

Gus,if you want a pretty much non-bs scoop on what I like of the current releases just drop me an email ( Obviously I am somewhat biased but happy to offer my relatively unvarnished opinions.


Adam Lee
Siduri Wines
Alright, here is my guess based upon what I know of Mr. Scott and the few clues he provided. The clues were:

~"borderline/cult"- A clear reference to a California producer. The only Oregon winery which could even remotely fit this description in Beaux Freres and WS has given them high marks in the past and, in any event, Keith is an Oregon Pinot fan.

~"high alcohol"- This clue screams California wine. They are famous for making ultraripe high alcohol wines. I think what Keith is getting at (and I agree with him) is that high alcohol in a wine is a flaw. Face it, the best thing that can be said for a high alcohol wine is that "it doesn't taste alcoholic"; "it doesn't taste hot"; or, "you'd never know it had 17% alcohol". Hardly compliments. They are all excuses for excessive alcohol levels. Wine drinkers are not college frat boys looking for something that will give them a buzz. Wine should not compete against Everclear.

~"wood shavings"- Not sure what this means.

Based upon these clues, my guess is that Keith is referring to a California winery that begins with an "MAR". Am I close Keith?


[ 08-15-2002, 05:46 PM: Message edited by: Vino Me ]
Vino Me:

Helen Turley (HT) makes both of the "Mar" wines - Marcassin and Martinelli.

The other high alcohol Pinots KS may be dissing (but not expressly what's up with that?) are Brewer-Clifton and Melville.

All four wineries produce some of the best Pinots available anywhere. Just like any other varietal, the best Pinots come from ripe fruit (with adequate hang time - thus no great Lodi Pinot). Ripe fruit means high alcohol.

I have to disagree with you that high alcohol is a "flaw". Perhaps it is just a poor choice of words, but a flaw to me means something went wrong with the wine. Excess brett (some would say any brett), secondary fermentations are flaws, high alcohol is a wine-making decision. You may not like the style, but I wouldn't call it a flaw. Also, the comments you quote aren't the best things you can say about high alcohol wines. Those are comments that defend the alcohol level by stating you can't taste the alcohol (if you could taste the alcohol, it might qualify as a flaw). If you read those same reveiws, you will also hear comments about being full-bodied, smooth texture, very fruit forward, heavily extracted, and long-finish, which are all charecteristics of many high alcohol wines. To compare a wine with 15% alcohol to Everclear at 95% is absurd. And drinking a wine with a 2% higher alcohol level doesn't necessarily make one a frat boy.

Many traditionalist hate high alcohol wines. You might be surprised by a quote Adam Lee of Siduri wines posted on another board (with apologies to Adam):

"At 11.5% one makes barely passable wines, at 12% one makes decent, marketable wines, at 12.5% above average, at 12.75% they are lively, firm and ruby, at 13% and 13.5% one makes great wines; at 14%, 14.5%, 15%, and 15.5%, one makes altogether exceptional, incomparable wines."

No, this wasn't written by Robert Parker. It is from J.-M. Duvault-Blochet, who was the owner of DRC for quite a few years in the pre-phylloxera period of the early - mid 1800s.

I like zins with 16%+ alcohol, but I'm not sure how I feel about high octane pinot noir. I've had nice ones, and I've had disappointments. Hmmm, maybe more research is required... [Wink]

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