Ye Olde Pinot Purge and Binge

Sober thinking: The following entry was written several weeks ago as is my practice. I am writing this preamble following the most incredibly miserable week in the stock market in my lifetime. If ever there was a time for wines under $20 it is now. Like every business the wine industry will surely take a beating. We hope our favorite wine makers, importers and retailers will survive the shakeout that is sure to come. And that goes for our readers as well.
Next to corked wines and a busted cellar cooler in August, wines aging past their prime is one of the worst wine scenarios imaginable. Ergo Dotoré must purge his cellar of aging wines. tBoW has a few that also have to go. So we pulled corks over Labor Day and found several reportable selections.
talis_04_wildcat_thumb.jpg1998 Talisman Carneros Pinot Noir $35 (today!!): Second vintage for a small production house devoted to Pinot Noir. Holding up pretty well for 10 years old but this is why we purge. Fruit is there but on the downslope. Napa vineyards planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are disappearing. Carneros has the best fruit. This is the second vintage (171 cases from this producer. Here is what a Talisman fan said about this wine in 2006 while tasting thru a vertical from 1997. “A nice hint of spiced raisin and licorice in the nose. Full compote of cherries, herbs and leather which picks up steam with air time. Plenty of stuffing left and thoroughly enjoyable. Impressive for a difficult vintage. A Hugh Hefner wine: showing a little age but still perky”. Perky? I would be too if I had bowls of Viagra strategically placed throughout my home. Today Talisman bottles from multiple sources. 13%
longoriaPN2001.jpg2001 Longoria Fe Ciega Pinot Noir $: This is one of the venerable Santa Rita Hills labels. John Longoria has nearly exclusive rights to the Fe Ciega (blind faith) vineyard which is one of the oldest (at ten years) planted to Pinot Noir in the SRH AVA. He does sell off to other labels so one sees Fe Ciega vineyard elswhere. tBoW cannot recall tasting any Longoria wines so we pulled this cork with interest. Well-made wines often show best 7 years out. No science there. How about the wine? Can detect the alcohol in the nose though it is not pronounced. Good strong fruit without cherry or barnyard. The taste is distinctive and appealing. Dotoré, who contributed the bottle, says the wine does not taste like pinot noir. What it does taste like is a Maipu Malbec. Pronounced orange tones within rich fruit. The wine is ready tonight. 14.7%
liveraburg062.jpg2006 Cote de Nuits Villages Domaine des Tilleuls $30: A North Berkeley Wine Imports selection selected from Philippe Livera Fixin juice. To the knowing burg hound this means declassified Premier Cru. I like the earthiness and the lean sausage sauvage [ed. nyuk nyuk on the weird wine alliteration] . The nose is rustic and fruity with cherries in liqueur, leather and terra firma. Very fragrant. With aeration the red fruit (cherry) and violets appear. Second sips show more fruit and waxiness. xx%
There were a few other wines worth mentioning.
magnienrose062.jpg2006 Frederic Magnien Rosé~ $12: Purchased in a mixed case from go-to retailer North Berkeley Wines. Grapefruity, acidic, dry 100% Pinot Noir from a top Burgundian producer whose labels are more likely to read Echezeaux, Pommard, and Vosne Romanee. This is excellent Rosé and I would buy this again.
j-wilkes-BN-Pinot-Bl-04.jpg2004 J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc $18: Purchased in Los Olivos at a 2003 tasting with Jeff Wilkes. This was the only white wine we purchased along with several Pinots that should be opened soon [ed. think Turkey Day]. This wine has nto improved with age. Not that it is over the hill. It was just not a pleasing wine (for tBoW) when we tried it. I prefer Oregon Pinot Blanc. Or Alsatian. Not certain I liked this wine that much at the wine bar which means you-know-who tossed it in with the others. Not in balance. Too ripe. Flavors seem to peel off like paint in a Manhattan apartment. I am confident the Pinot Noir wines will show much better. Here is a nice piece on Jeff Wilkes. 14.1%
rochioliestatechard01.jpg2001 Rochioli Estate Chardonnay Rich, still some tannins, Almost thick. Goes well with the sausage. Too sweet on the finish. Some woodiness lingers. I used to love these wines. Then I lost my flavor for them.This wine has some of the reasons [ed. besides changing taste]. Rochioli tries too hard to make great wine. This is their estate blend, not the single vineyard South River. The wine is too rich, too big. It is not a monster like so many others (one thinks immediately of Cakebread) but it is not a pleasure to drink.
Williams_Selyem_Bucher.JPG2005 Williams Selyem Bucher VIneyard Pinot Noir $70: High tone New World baby. Rich, jammy, raspberries. Very fruity without being out of whack. Williams Selyem sources from enough vineyards to have its own appellation. Too young. Needed the aerator big time. 14.1%

1986 Chateau Canon Premiere Cru
$340 today: From the depths of the cellar it came. A 22 year old St Emilion. Memories from a time when we bought the hype and hunted down First and Second and Third and Fourth growth mis-marks. I once grabbed a 1966 Chateau Montrose for $60 around 1983. And it was delicious. This perfectly stored Merlot is wasted on pinot-files or even worse cheapo-philes. canon1986.jpgRed brick in color. Impressive color and nose. Cedar. Camphor. Spicy. Very very nice right out of the bottle. Nose is more impressive than the first taste. Merlot fruit evident. Cannot be any Cab in here. Not a lean but a sinewy wine. The property is owned buy Chanel which is one of the problems with collectible Bordeaux. An international perfume company owns it. You think they bought it because they love the wine? Here is the other problem. What is being sold is not wine. It is a mirage. I clipped this note from a vertical tasting of Canon that went back 60 vintages. “…every young collector can already consider that in twenty to thirty years, he will drink wines which will reach the quality of the legendary wines of the twenties”. Are you kidding me? Who would want that?!?!? What do we drink in the meantime? #&*^%$+*&^!?!$!!! 12.5%

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