A Spring Bouquet of Pinots

Like dandelions in the yard, pinot noirs continue to proliferate

Pinot Noirs from Sonoma County dominate latest wave.

Ever since that wine movie came out — the one that everyone is tired of talking about and which got so many things wrong — pinot noirs have been sprouting up everywhere we look, like dandelions on a spring lawn. They seem so pretty, but then you realize there are going to be twice as many next year.

While we are suffering somewhat from pinot noir fatigue, there are some excellent ones being made, and we have several beautiful in this spring bouquet, mostly from Sonoma County

    Inman Family “Thorn Ridge” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($51). Quite Burgundy-like; light-bodied, yet very flavorful, with rounded, light cherry flavors (not at all extracted) with light savory notes in the finish. Drinking well now, but is well-balanced enough to last, and probably improve, for a few years.

    Inman Family “OGV” Russian River Pinot Noir 2012 ($60). Rounded and fruity, but with a keen edginess. Warm raspberry flavors with a good mouthfeel and a touch of gaminess. Good example of a sip-and-ponder, complex pinot.

    Cobb “Coastlands: Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012 ($77). Clean, fresh flavors, yet slightly jammy fruit with raspberry and rooty flavors — nicely reined-in fruit.

    Cobb “Rice-Spivak” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012 ($72). Somewhat gamey, with a lot of enjoyable savory characteristics — more of a food wine at this point than a sipping wine.

    Cobb “Emmaline Ann” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012 ($71). It’s either slightly thin or quite elegant — it’s your choice of how you view it. Light strawberry and raspberry flavors with a touch of sour cream at the end. I can see this wine improving over the next 5 to 10 years in the bottle.

    Lothian Vineyards Elgin Pinot Noir 2012 ($20). From South Africa, it fairly shouts: “Serious pinot with serious winemaking.” It has dark fruitiness, silky body, nice edges, and finishing savory notes.

    Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir ($84). Light, lean, and assertive. Black raspberry flavors with a touch of cola — in fact, it reminds me of a lighter, southern Rhône grenache.

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