Notes from our Cali Pinot Noir Tasting

Notes from our Cali Pinot Noir Tasting

Posted on Apr, 07. 2010 by

Categories: Events, Wine

Thanks again to everyone who joined us last Wednesday – it was a great time, and really showcased a breadth of styles within what we often think of as a very homogeneous subset – California Pinot Noir.

There were a couple of big fruit-and-oak bombs, there were fatter yet funkier sleepers, but for my money (and many others agree), the 2007 Capiaux Pinot Noir – Garys Vineyard was the hands-down winner of the night.

At first, it seemed out of place amongst the bunch, a more zippy, electric style of wine more akin to Burgundy’s Backyard, the Haut Cotes. Tons of acidity almost flushed the previous wines’ lingerings away, punching through your palate with such force and precision that it was truly a head-turner…a double-taker.

At first, though, I worried that this frenetic character would limit the wine as so many one-note Haut Cotes are limited by their inability to sufficiently ripen (that’s really what the Haut Cotes is about: fighting to ripen enough to actually make wine and not acid-juice), and so while impressed, I moved on, and went through the final couple of wines, both of which promptly smacked me over the head in an entirely different manner – the extraction, the almost jovial (in a mall santa-claus kind of way) mass of fruit and weight and power that I expected from $50+ CA Pinot Noir.

I went back through a couple more times, and as the night grew older, the Capiaux crawled out from its hard shell to reveal that it was certainly not a one-noted acid monster, but instead a multi-faceted wine that defies typical definitions. All that acid didn’t go away, it just sort of…faded a bit, now more a Stockton than a Kobe.

Plush fruit and cedar and wet earth and…yeah, all that, but the real story here is the depth and class, the defiance of expectations one has from this wine and this place. This is a classic wine, still fun, still a joy to drink, but not a plaything, not a 15% ABV embarrassment to what Pinot can and should do…just top-notch Pinot that Cali/PNW and Burgundy fans can come together on.

2007 Capiaux Pinot Noir – Garys Vineyard
Retail price before [member discount|Our members save an average of 25% off the normal retail prices. As a courtesy to the retail wine industry we do not publish our prices.] $44.99 • Buy this wine!

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