It occurs to me recently that I've gotten lazy about choosing our wines at home; it's just gotten so easy to choose the "go to" producers from the regions I enjoy. Case in point: Oregon pinot noir. I love pinot from Oregon: I love the variations from year to year and house to house, and while I don't buy and drink as much of it as I would like, I do think I drink more pinot from Oregon than any other region in the world combined. So now that it's winter in San Francisco these bottles have been coming out of the woodworks at home. Most of these are the bottles we drink routinely on work nights with roast chicken, pork chops, and salmon. I have found 2008 to be an exceptional year across the board, with more variation and less concentration in 2009. I enjoyed the 2007s, but not when they were still too young -- they are still only starting to open up -- and 2006 was phenomenal from the beginning. Here's my thinking:
2006 = great year, early drinking, good concentration and roundness of flavor (drink or hold)
2007 = considerable variation, marked by less concentration, more acidity, but also greater floral aromatics and longevity, better served with food (hold)
2008 = see 2006.
2009 = see 2007.
2008 Botanica **** Robust blue-purple in the glass, with a Smörgåsbord (?) of berry compote, subtle oak flavors and anise. Listed as 13.8% alcohol. Probably incomparable.
2008 Antica Terra *** A more riveting, if ultimately less profound, companion to the Botanica.
2008 Adelsheim ** Deep plum in the glass with some red at the edge; marked by woodsy notes, earth tones, bluish phenolics and wonderful roundness in the mouth. Perfect with dinner.
2009 Adelsheim * Plum color, with fruitcake cum strawberry rhubarb notes. Dusty and fine; very polite.
2008 Shea Cellars Estate *** At 14.8% alcohol, one of the higher octane, if not the highest, pinots in my cellar from Oregon? Noticeably concentrated flavors, perhaps even to the point that it sacrifices a touch of whoseness and class. For sheet enjoyment, however, it's hard to beat. Blue tone berry fruits with an underlying citrusy Zzzing! just as it crosses the throat.
2007 Bryce Vineyard **/*** A difficult wine to discern, but just so very Bryce, and the kind of wine I will miss drinking very much now that this producer has leased the vines to Ken Wright. Plum color, bold strawberry notes with anise, fresh floral notes and wet earth...the acidity and the floral notes are what make this wine so interesting. Cinderella before the ball. It's ... just .... so ... Bryce.
2008 Bryce Vineyard *** A classier, more voluptuous version of the 2007; i.e., Cinderella post fairy godmother touch up.