A couple of days ago, I received an email from Gregory Dal Piaz, the Community Manager of Snooth, extending an invitation to an event called “Open that bottle night” along with blind tastings– the first of which was scheduled for Thursday night. And so, downtown I joined eight others for two hours of three flights of four–Pinot Noir.
Passing tin-foiled bottles around the table, each marked with flight and wine numbers (1:1, 1:2, 1:3), we filled the bowls of our glasses with enough to swirl and sense, then proceeded to individually assess each wine, scribble notes, and as the evening wore on, engage in friendly chatter and talk. Each of the flights shared something in common we were told, by Gregory who sat at the head of the table m.c.-ing, twittering, and recording comments for his post. At the end of each tasting, we one-at-a-time shared our notes, before voting on the flight.
The first flight offered under $20 wines. And in this group, I didn’t feel there was much to write home about, and nor did anyone else. But I’ll mention Schug Sonoma Coast, 2007. Herbaceous and earthy, with candied cherry, medium acidity and light to medium tannins, it possessed a lingering finish, and was my first pick for the group.
Next, we sampled bottles in the $35-$40 range, the first of which was so unbearable upon tasting that I had to suspend my notes (Ponzi Williamette, 2006). However, in ten minutes or so, the tinny, metallic finish was gone. My first pick here? The most vegetal of the lot, Stoller SV Dundee Hills, 2006–so full of asparagus it was almost pungent. Pale to medium ruby in color, it possessed a bit of cherry that appeared much brighter on the palate than on the nose.
Moving up a $5 notch, I favored the Schug Carneros Heritage Reserve, 2006. Oakier than the others, displaying notes of vanilla, violet, and spice, this Pinot also possessed brighter fruit and spice on the palate; though with more tannins, the finish lingered almost long.
The last flight was the best of the night, all from Willamette, Oregon and ranging from $45-$50. My favorite bouquet of the night went to Antica Terra Willamette, 2007. The most complex of all the Pinots, it showed watermelon, vegetal and herbaceous aromas, cola, violet, and earth on the nose, but then entered the mouth and totally fell apart. This lead me to elect Benton Lane First Class Willamette, 2006, as my first choice, because it was easy drinking with cherry cola, spice, something vegetal, and violet. Silky on the palate, it had a little more tannins than most of the others, medium acidity, and a little heat.
I didn’t get a chance to speak with everyone, but the group consisted of Greg, Dave, Cheryl, Michael, Jim, Evan, Justin, and Lionel, if I managed to get that right.