WTN: A bunch of old pinots

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:04 pm

Invited some friends over for an al fresco evening of killing off a bunch of old pinots I had laying around. My notes are more than spotty, since I was busy playing hostess and serving food, etc., too.

1986 Hitching Post "Sierra Madre VY", Santa Maria, by Lane Tanner
Deep dusty rose color. For it's age, surprisingly bright nose and flavors of soft cherry, plum and tempranillo-like spicieness. Absolutely delicious and totally alive. Best wine in it's flight and ultimately, everybody's wine of the night. Outstanding. (Contributed to the tasting by a neighbor who received this from Lane when she was his "almost-daughter-in-law".)

1989 Au Bon Climat, Santa Ynez
A little berry, sweetened cocoa and iodine. Still has tannins, shows well. We'd have been more impressed with it had the spectacular Hitching Post not been there. Excellent.

1991 Hitching Post "Sanford & Benedict VY"Heavy maderized nose, muddy. Not good.

1992 Lange Winery "Abbey Ridge VY"
Bright red color and clarity (it must be fined and filtered) with berry and caramel flavors backed by some acidity. Flavors were a bit simple but you'd never guess it's age, and the wine didn't fade an iota in the glass. Good.

1992 Byron, Santa Barbara County
Nose of grass clippings. In the mouth, some nice plummy fruit, but the nose totally put me off. Others deemed it 'good'.

1992 Chehalem "Ridgecrest", Oregon
Plums, mint and exotic, Asian incense-like spices. Hypnotic. Outstanding.

1993 Fiddlehead, Willamette
Great balance and good fruit. Spicy, spicy. Actually improved in the glass. Excellent.

1993 Ici/La Bas "La Cagoule", Oregon
Rhubarb pie and stale cherry cough drops. Not good.

1992 Marimar Torres "Don Miguel Vineyard"
Hot, toasted oak nose and black pepper on raspberry/cherry fruit. The lovely finish made a good impression and many liked it quite a bit. Me not so much because of the hot nose and toasted oak, but it certainly has held up well. Good.

1994 St. Innocent "Freedom Hill", Willamette
Owned since it was a baby, but this bottle was a goner: all mud, no fruit.

1994 St. Innocent "Seven Springs", Willamette
Same as above--but I note that another bottle of the 94 six months ago was gorgeous, so this was probably just a bad bottle.

1995 Swan Estate, Sonoma
Intense black cherry and raspberry fruit, pepper, and a bit of iodine. Just coming into prime time. Very good to excellent.

1995 Barnett Santa Lucia Highlands

Not awful or particularly flawed, just simplistic and boring.

1996 St. Innocent "O'Connor VY"
The bad run on the St. Innocents continues. Other recent bottles have been better, but this one's closer to mud than wine.

1997 Rochioli "Nicole's", Sonoma
Somewhat wasted on the crowd by this point in the evening, but here was a wine that once again deserved our attention. Deliciously rich black cherry fruit and forest floor flavors, and it's just starting to develop some leathery notes. Considering the vintage I was afraid it would be a bit gobby, but no. Excellent.
Last edited by Jenise on Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:11 pm

Addendum: putting out the recycling just now I discovered that there was still some Rochioli left so I poured a little in a glass. And it reeks of alcohol. Must have been too late in the evening for me to detect it the other night, but now: yuck.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:23 am

Great notes, do you know how the winemaking might have differed in comparison to today's styles and practices, especially on things like the 86 Hitching Post?

I'm guessing the vines were younger? But then they also weren't pushing so hard/long for maximal phenolic maturity?

Interesting.
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6926
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:22 pm

Rahsaan, I can't answser that question except to say that from what I understand the first Hitching Post was a special situation. The front label of the 86 actually says "Produced and bottled by Lane Tanner" in fine print, and we know that Lane favored high acidity in her wines when she finally bottled under her own label. The '91 HP was probably made by Hartley-Ostini.

But then they also weren't pushing so hard/long for maximal phenolic maturity?


They definitely were not.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:33 pm

Thanks, it does sound interesting though. You hear more talk about the changes in CA cab wine making styles, I guess because those have traditionally been the famous wines and there wasn't much pinot noir to make news until recently. But, it would be interesting to see how its development in CA relates to that of cabernet.

Of course, even without embarking on historical research, it is also fun to drink the wines, as you've been doing..
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6926
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:52 pm

Someone like Bernard Roth or John Tomasso would likely have been on the ground and observing the changes going on at the time. I was a jane-come-lately (if indeed I've arrived at all), who fell for the leaner style of pinot with an 'Arroyo Seco' bottled by Jekyll (we went through cases of it, a $2.99 Trader Joe's special back in Trader Joe's good old days) and who didn't care for Santa Barbara pinots until I met the Whitcraft 93's. All had heretofore tasted weedy to me, like the Bryon in this tasting.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Gregg G » Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:35 am

A nice set of wines and notes. Recently the '95 Leticia Reserve PN was stunning. For my palate, an increadible wine displaying a very Burgundian personality with amazing nose and palate nuances (A recent '96 Leticia Reserve Chardonnay eerily resembled a rich, creamy Batard). We also had the '94 Byron Reserve which had a subtle maderized quality yet retained some assembledge of fruit. The '95 W & S Rochioli PN was another brilliant moment this year. I tend to think more optimistically with regards to CA. Pinot's ageability these days. Whether or not some of the more modern styled wines will stand the test of time, I look forward o opening a few in 8-10 yrs. There are certainly Pinot Noirs from the 70s (Swan, Acacia, Hanzell...) that are still alive today. Obviously alchohol levels, acidity, Ph and winemaking technique play a vital role.
Regards,
Gregg
User avatar
Gregg G
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:10 pm
Location: Atwater Village, CA.

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby John Tomasso » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:44 am

I've had that wine from Sierra Madre within the last year or two, and it was absolutely delicious.
We were blown away that the wine was still as alive as it was. It had to be the acidity.

Lane was, and is, a hell of a winemaker, IMO, and flies under the radar for the most part. I buy her pinots every year, but I generally drink 'em a lot younger than 20 years!
User avatar
John Tomasso
Too Big to Fail
 
Posts: 1202
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Buellton, CA

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:40 am

Gregg said:
I tend to think more optimistically with regards to CA. Pinot's ageability these days.


Outside of the names you mention, like W&S and certainly Swan, I don't think most people think of American pinots as ageable. This group suggests that one can almost randomly have better luck than one would expect. But for the Swan and the St. Innocents, I wasn't deliberately aging any of them!

John--I'm glad to learn that other of those 86s have survived, there sure couldn't be many. This one was a gift from Lane's own cellar, I'm not sure when but if I understand the timing of her relationship with my friend's son it could have been 6 to 10 years ago--and it's been stored in a passive closet ever since. I can only imagine how well a pristeen bottle would show! Definitely need to make a point of buying some of her wines now.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:04 pm

Wonderful experiment! Thank you, Jenise, for doing this (and posting).

I am in the middle of opening some 'experimental' bottles myself....
Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:43 pm

Jeff said:
I am in the middle of opening some 'experimental' bottles myself....


The world awaits your notes. [she said, bowing with a flourish].
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:44 am

The world awaits your notes. [she said, bowing with a flourish].


Taking some liberties here, but I assume Jeff doesn't mind:

http://enemyvessel.com/forum/topic.asp? ... ave+issues
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6926
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Jul 01, 2006 5:58 am

And there will be more to come (at least two more that I can think of right off the top of my head).

(Thank you, Rahsaan, for the linkage.)
Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Bernard Roth » Sat Jul 01, 2006 4:34 pm

Jenise, this goes to show that people underestimate the ageability of CA PN. I try to let my PN age at least 10 years if I know the vineyard, producer and vintage.

I did not get to SB until 89, so no comment on the 86 by Lane. Some of the local wine that did not show well I avoided buying based on my experience having tasted them at WC Futures. The 92 Fiddlehead I discovered from Bob Senn and it was a very nice wine.

I've had a number of 94 OR pinots that have held up real well.

Rahsaan: It is not just the age of vines that has changed. New clones have been introduced in the local vineyards, new vineyard practices (e.g. more attention to green harvest), better care of grapes during/after harvest.
Regards,
Bernard Roth
User avatar
Bernard Roth
Wine guru
 
Posts: 805
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:31 pm
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby MtBakerDave » Sun Jul 02, 2006 3:06 am

Bernard Roth wrote:The 92 Fiddlehead I discovered from Bob Senn and it was a very nice wine.

I've had a number of 94 OR pinots that have held up real well.


I've tried quite a few '93 to '97 OR pinots (and some Au Bon Climat) recently, and I have more to drink soon. A couple duds, but quite a lot of them have showed very very nicely. The '93 Fiddlehead was excellent, and all the ABCs I've had really stood out. A '95 Brick House showed very well for us one evening.

Jenise, I'm sorry to hear the St. Innocents didn't do so well in your tasting. I have a couple of those '94 Freedom Hills too ...

Dave
User avatar
MtBakerDave
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Sun Jul 02, 2006 5:06 pm

Dave,

The St. Innos SHOULD have done better. Like I said I had a fantabulous bottle of the SS in December, and Freedom Hills are usually relatively long-lived too. And the 96s and 97s have all been drinking well, too. We actually restocked on both recently when McArthur's in DC was found to have a stash they wanted to dump. A tester was great so a friend had the rest sent out. I've got another Freedom Hill that I'll open and report on soon--no sense letting it take up space if it's bad. But I hope it will be better. We're at the no-bad-wine-only-good-bottles stage with these older pinots now, I think.

How cool that you have some of these older pinots--fun, aren't they? They go for peanuts on the secondary market since nobody thinks they're any good with this much age on them--I'll be hunting for more.

Bernard--thanks for your input. Can you name some of the CA producers whose wines have held up especially well for you?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby MtBakerDave » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:55 pm

Jenise wrote:How cool that you have some of these older pinots--fun, aren't they? They go for peanuts on the secondary market since nobody thinks they're any good with this much age on them--I'll be hunting for more.


Yes, it's been great fun drinking a lot of old OR pinot lately. I had a chance to cherry-pick a cellar sale at prices that put it in my everyday drinking category. I still have a case left:

1995 Brick House Pinot Noir
1994 Broadley Pinot Noir Claudia's Choice
1993 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir "Cuvée J"
1996 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir "Cuvée J" Temperance Hill
1994 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Seven Springs
1994 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Freedom Hill
1994 McKinlay Pinot Noir
1996 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Brickhouse Vineyard
1994 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Freedom Hill
1994 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir "la bauge Au-dessus" Bien Nacido Vineyard
1993 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Rosemary's Talley

And, since I think of all of this as drink-now wine, it's taking all the pressure off my Burgundy stash too.

I'll see if I can post some notes about some of these as they're opened.

Dave
User avatar
MtBakerDave
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:27 pm

What a nice collection, Dave, really cool. I'm not familiar with McKinley or how Broadleys age, but I know you can count on the others to go some distance.

Any idea how old the Freedom Hill vineyard is? Russ Rainey of Evesham is a friend of a friend and so we lucked into spending an evening with him to which he brought an early 80's Bethel Heights Freedom Hill (no label, I don't think it was released commercially). I don't recall the exact vintage but I do remember that the wine was 15 years old. That wine was 'younger' and heftier than any of the wines I opened in this thread.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:59 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:27 pm

Ah! A Tantara La Colline? Several years ago we had one about five-six years old, and what I remember most about it was that it was aging peculiarly in being so caramelly for a pinot otherwise so young. It was good, but I'd not had anything quite like it before.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:58 pm

I have no experience with it other than this bottle. The caramelly thing is just a teeny whiff in the bottom of the glass; it's not there otherwise.

Anyway, that was a very pleasant drop. I'll have to put Tantara back on my list. (If for no other reason than that the label says they sing to the grapes; song list available upon request.)

One more experiment yet to come.
Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:45 pm

I'll have to put Tantara back on my list.

The situation in which I first had the Tantara was at a BYO burg tasting. These tastings were not blind, but this one attendee brought three wines, all bagged. We were to taste them all and then guess California or France for each of them. He sat on my right and the guessing started to his right, so I was the last person to proffer a guess and the only one to guess two California and one France vs. one and two respectively, and when pressed to guess further I correctly identified Sonoma and Santa Barbara/Santa Maria for each of the Californians (no idea about the French). The latter turned out to be the Tantara, but 2/3rds of the room had guessed it was French and in the 10-15 year old range. The advanced color and caramel thing fooled them into ignoring the California ripeness and tell-tale tomato leaf. Anyway, yours was clearly not as developed as the one I tasted, but both might suggest that the caramel thing is typical of Tantara wines.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26198
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:16 pm

Interesting story.

There was no tomato leaf in evidence in my Tantara. There was, of course, ripeness but they had managed to keep some finesse in the body, rather than just stuffing it full of dry extract. (So, it tasted like pinot, not shiraz.)
Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: WTN: A bunch of old pinots

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:28 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Next

Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JuliaB and 4 guests