9/29/2009

Pinot Rivalry on the Russian River

Posted by The Wine Whore |


This week, I've decided to focus my affairs on one grape known for its stubborn personality: Pinot Noir. Although, I have had many piss poor Pinots in my past, there is one region that seems to consistently deliver delicious examples of this frustratingly fickle grape. One of my favorite regions for this grape and other types of wine such as Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and even Sauvignon Blanc just to name a few, is the Russian River Valley.



What is it about the Russian River that makes it such a vivacious valley for vino?

Climate and Soil!

Heat during the day combined with nocturnal influence of the cooling fog gives birth to amazing grapes which manage to sustain their natural acidity over a longer growing season. Goldridge loam soil, created by tectonic plates uplifting eroded ancient bedrock combined with volcanic ash, eroded volcanic material and large amounts of clay and alluvial materials form the deposits of the soil that create harsh yet perfect conditions for growing grapes.

To prepare for this week's episode of TWWTV, I've decided to give my HONEST take on three similarly priced wine choices from this region. What I found is that there is a Pinot to pair with practically anyone's palate. From soft and elegant, to harsh and gritty, here is how the Russian River rivalry went down:


Soft and Elegant:

Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006
Price - $36/bottle


Although I tend to enjoy a little more "in your face" action when it comes to my wine, I still found this Pinot Noir to be a worthy contender. This wine showcases what I would consider many of the "old world" characteristics of a Pinot Noir. With its first breath of air, this wine's provocative nose puts out a delicate yet seductive bouquet of fruit. A noticeable tingle of acidity carefully teetered on the edge of balance without falling over. Overall, this affair left me refreshed and satisfied, yet craving a repeat encounter.



Smooth and Balanced:


D'argenzio Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005
Price - $36/bottle


This Pinot is just the way I like 'em. Classy, smooth, and well balanced, D'argenzio successfully found the sweet spot to my senses with the formula for their Pinot Noir. If you are looking for one of those overly "cola" tasting wines, keep looking. If you want a wine that has all of its elements performing in perfect harmony, this one's for you. Smooth, sexy, and balanced, this pleasurable Pinot is a symphony to the senses!



Harsh yet Heavenly:


J. Keverson Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006
Price - $38/bottle


This wine had a lot of the elements that I enjoyed from the other two Pinots with one exception. My palate did not agree with the harsh overtone I picked up on the nose and palate. Like a pimple faced teen maturing through puberty, I am hoping that more time aging and/or decanting would have smoothed out and matured this slightly awkward characteristic. Despite this minor flaw, I enjoyed the sustained finish and the seamless melding between fruit and cola present in this wine. I bet this one will be a stud in a couple of years when it matures.



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2 comments:

Andrea Faria said...

Have you ever tried La Crema out of Healdsburg? Hands down the most AMAZING Pinot Noir I've ever had... ever ever ever...

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Andrea!

If I taste something but fail to write it down, I tend to have a lot of trouble remember exactly what I tasted and whether or not I liked it. I think I tried La Crema once but made the mistake of not jotting down my notes.

Several people have recommended it to me as part of my Pinot exploration. I'll have to give it another taste to refresh my memory.

Cheers!

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