I began this year's Pinot Days at 7 a.m. Checking out all the links on the PD site of the new-to-me wineries and planning my day. This is a pretty big tasting, consisting of maybe 100 wineries, each with between 2 and 8 wines, so I needed a plan.
You can see my past survival guide posting, but this was pretty similar: get there early, bring a sandwich to have something to absorb what little wine actually goes down the gullet, drink a lot of water, start with new discoveries and finish with some old favorites. Spit Everything. (OK, maybe swallow some of the good stuff...)
Here are my favorites of new things to watch for. Most things were the 2012 vintage which are either just released or soon to be released.
2012 Wayfarer Vineyard and 2012 Golden Mean. Both top off the show. Awesome new project from Jayson Pahlmeyer. Look for 4 releases in Spring 2015.
2012 Dierberg -wow
2012 Dierberg Pommard Clones - deliciously darker than the Dierberg blend. I liked both a lot.
2010 Santa Maria - this is an AVA blend but spot-on Santa Maria character. A bit less expensive than the vineyard-designate wines.
Fel Wines (part of the Cliff Lede group, and owner of a Savoy Vineyards)
2012 Anderson Valley
2012 Savoy - great example of the fine grapes coming out of Savoy
2012 Sonoma Coast - loved this. White pepper and blackberry life-saver
2012 Keefer -delicious.
2012 Occidental Ridge pre-release
2012 Hirsch pre-release. Tight, but will be super
Merriman (Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette, Oregon)
2012 Cummins Road -this is his non-reserve and I preferred this light, young-Burgundy scent, body, and taste. One to watch in the coming years.
Bucher (famed grower for Williams-Seleyam, etc)
2012 Estate Pinot Russian River - picked low-Brix and is pretty, without the sometimes stewed character of RR Valley Pinots
In addition to my Tuesday tasting notes, D-G had two more exceptional Pinots:
2012 Fox Run - nice little brioche on the nose
2012 Devil's Gulch - Spicy. This will get less angular in the cellar.
Ellero (Central Otago, NZ) currently no California Distribution
2011 Pisa Terrace Central Otago - nice young Burgundy style
2011 Laurbach Vineyards -cool-style Russian River. Nice.
2011 Bersini Vineyards - nice Carneros offering
2011 Atune - a touch of sweeter fruit on this, but still leaning on the red-berry fruit side.
2012 Atune nice. One to watch.
2011 Santa Catalina - yes! From the first grapes planted on Catalina Island.
2012 Solomon Hills - nice example from Solomon Hills!
2012 Santa Rita Hills Reserve - fine dark berry center
2011 Russian River Valley Pinot - I like the boost from more whole clusters
2011 Gap's Crown - Delicious Sonoma Coaster! One to keep watching.