Our Thursday night wine group tasted Central Coast Pinot Noir this week. We had a big group this time too, almost 20 people showed up. There were six wines scheduled but Glen brought a bonus wine, a 2005 William Selyem Vista Verde Vineyard Pinot Noir from San Benito. This turned out to be the star of the evening. It had an earthy red fruit nose with light tannins. The wine was very Burgundian, earthy, mushrooms, red fruit. Good acid and a nice finish. A really excellent wine that shows what the Central Coast AVA can do.
I really feel he Central Coast AVA is really too big, it should be broken up into at least three parts. It runs from the San Francisco Bay to Santa Barbara and covers six counties, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. There are so many different climates and soils in that long stretch, around 300 miles. It is broken up in a way since each county is allowed to be an AVA, but Cental Coast is just too much. Anyway, here are notes on the six wines we tasted.
All of these wines were tasted blind:
2009 Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir Arroyo Grande Valley – This blend of 10 clones was a medium garnet color with an earthy and red fruit nose. The flavor followed the nose, very Burgundy like. There was good acid and a medium length finish with a little heat. Much like the William Selyem but not as finished.
2008 Paraiso Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir – The nose was real stinky at first but most of it blew off after a couple of minutes. This was very similar to the Laetitia with the earthiness and red fruit but a bigger wine. It also had an unpleasant bitterness on the finish.
2009 Echelon Vin de Pays de I’lle de Beaute – This really wasn’t a Central Coast wine. The wine was bottled in Sonoma and the wine actually came from Corsica in France. They just like to toss something in the tasting to throw us off sometimes. The nose was closed so we didn’t get much there. The flavor had some nice red fruit and good acid. You would never pick this out as a Pinot Noir, however. While pleasant, it was just a simple red wine.
2007 Chamisal Vineyards Califa Selection from Edna Valley – This was the most expensive of the group at $60 and it really disappointed everyone. A dark ruby color with a nose of very ripe dark fruit. The flavor was like cough medicine with a ton of oak. Was pretty much like a poor Petite Syrah.
2008 Meiomi Belle Glos Pinot Noir – A blend of grapes from Sonoma County, Monterey County of Santa Barbara County. A light garnet with a typical Pinot nose, earthy with red cherries. The flavor had an earthiness with red cherries and smoke. Moderate tannins and good acid. Well balanced with a little roundness in the mouth. This was the groups favorite by a landslide (other than the William Selyem).
2008 Clos LaChance Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir – Earthy nose with a little burnt match that disappeared after a minute. The wine tasted of red fruit, earthiness and spice. A nice light body with good acid and a medium length finish. A nice wine but not real complex.
Overall some nice wines, certainly not over the top like you get with some California Pinot Noir. What’s your favorite Pinot?