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Pinot Noirs October 2006 Why Pinot noir? “Minx of a vine” – Jancis Robinson “Most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch, that like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarassingly poetic” – Joel Fleischman

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Pinot Noirs

October 2006


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Why Pinot noir?

  • “Minx of a vine” – Jancis Robinson

  • “Most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch, that like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarassingly poetic” – Joel Fleischman

  • “Sex in a glass” – Madeline Triffon


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“Difficult”/”finicky”/”tough”

  • Difficult to grow and deal with winery

  • Grape is genetically unstable (200-1000 clones, Cabernet Sauvignon only 12)

  • Sensitive to frost, humidity. Requires cool climates.

  • Sensitive to soil composition

  • Diseases, birds, thin skin dries out sooner

  • Ferments violently, “boiling” up

  • Acetification, loses aroma after bottling. Doesn’t ages as well as other reds


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What to expect?

  • Light to medium body

  • Aroma of black cherry, raspberry, currant

  • Color much lighter than other reds

  • Thin skins of grapes lead to lighter color, body and tannins

  • Soft, velvety texture

  • Reflects Gout de Terroir (flavor of soil) more than others, vineyard site selection critical

  • Broad range of bouquets, flavors, texture, impression can be confusing



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Variety of Vitis vinifera

Ancient Romans knew about it (1st century AD)!

Mixed with chardonnay, petit meunier to make champagne

Name ‘pinot’ suggestive of pine-cone shaped clusters

Mainly grown in

Burgundy, France

Oregon, USA

California, USA

Champagne, France

New Zealand

The grape


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  • Burgundy, France is the most legendary pinot noir growing region.

  • Particularly, Côte d'Or (“Slope of Gold”) has consistently produced celebrated wines. Vineyards slope gently towards east, long sun exposure w/o afternoon heat. Soil contains chalk, good drainage.

  • Original home of pinot noir. Tends not to travel well. French Burgundies most expensive and limited in production.

  • “Balance, elegance, fruitiness, oak influence”


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2003 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir region.

  • “This is a classic expression of Burgundian Pinot Noir, with a refined, aromatic nose of ripe red berries and toasty, earthy nuances leading into an elegant palate of delicately structured tannins and a clean finish.”

  • Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy

  • $16.99


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“Home away from home”, pinot noir has adapted well in Williamette Valley in Oregon.

Oregon pinot noirs “less flamboyant, less obvious” than California pinot noirs, closest to true Burgundies.


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2004 Firesteed Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “Elegant, with aromas of sliced strawberries and fresh raspberries. Surprisingly rich, with flavors of baker's chocolate and freshly roasted coffee beans.  Generous mouthfeel with a soft finish. ”

  • Oregon

  • $14.99


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  • In California main regions are Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara county)

  • Russian River Valley (Sonoma county)

  • Carneros (in Sonoma and Napa counties)

  • Anderson Valley (Mendocino county)

  • Pinnacles (Monterey county)

  • Santa Lucia highlands (Monterey county)

  • California pinots tend to be “aromatic, dense, fruity, delectable with strong notes of cherry and mild tannins”


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2005 Laetitia Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “An elegant mix of black cherry and plum fruit, layered with intense floral notes and subtle nuances. Balanced and complex, the layers reveal flavors of blackberry, cranberry, wild mushroom and dusty earth. Plush and velvet textured, this stylish Pinot ends with a long memorable finish”

  • Arroyo Grande Valley, Southern San Luis Obispo County, California

  • $17.99


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History Williamette Valley in Oregon.


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2005 Smoking Loon Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “Brilliant garnet color with seductive rose petal green tea aroma. The palate is ripe with heavily extracted cherry and strawberry flavors with a slight astringency akin to pomegranate seeds. ”

  • Mendocino and Monterey counties, California

  • $7.99


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Food pairings Williamette Valley in Oregon.


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2005 Beringer Founders Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “Big in varietal expression but with finesse on the structure. Layers of fruit flavor with subtlety, but with a rich, fleshy backbone of black cherry and a seamless, silky finish.”

  • Napa Valley, California

  • $8.99


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Sideways & Pinot Noir (and Merlot) Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we're drinking Merlot. Miles Raymond: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!


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Sideways & Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

Miles Raymond: it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression

  • Post-Sideways, sales went up by 15% (Wine Enthusiast), even 45% (AC Nielsen)

  • Random movie trivia: Miles prizes the 1961 Cheval Blanc, made from 66% cabernet franc, 33% merlot and 1% malbec, grapes he claims to dislike


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Pop quiz, grand prize! Williamette Valley in Oregon.


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2002 Maison Chanson Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • Bright ruby colour with purple nuances. Intense aromas of red fruit (starwberry), plums and chocolate on a hint of vanilla. Generous, complex, this wine develops an outstanding aromatic combination of fruit. It is wealthy and full flavoured with a beautiful amplitude at the finish.

  • Côte d‘Beaune, Burgundy

  • $18.00


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2004 Bridgeview Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “This wine has fresh, ripe fruit flavors, showing black cherry and raspberry on the palate. A nicely structured, rich body with a lasting finish.”

  • Oregon

  • $17.95


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2002 Toad Hollow Pinot Noir Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “This wine has fresh, ripe fruit flavors, showing black cherry and raspberry on the palate. A nicely structured, rich body with a lasting finish…Sweet oak was at threshold, seeming lightly-toasted and of very high quality. Lean and understated in the palate, this is what I’d call a feminine expression of pinot noir”

  • Sonoma county, CA

  • $16.99


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2003 Toad Hollow Merlot Reserve Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • “This is a gentle but sinuous noble red wine that welcomes most company with a warm generosity of taste as well as the versatility of filling many sensory needs on many levels… This is a wine that will cellar and age beautifully for ten to fifteen years, but also sports the spontaneity of a young thoroughbred raring to run now or to carry easily into the next decade.”

  • Sonoma county, California

  • $18.99


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Pinot noir is the new merlot? Williamette Valley in Oregon.


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Wines we will taste Williamette Valley in Oregon.

  • 2003 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir

  • 2004 FireSteed Pinot Noir

  • 2005 Laetitia Pinot Noir

  • 2005 Smoking Loon Pinot Noir

  • 2005 Beringer Pinot Noir

  • 2002 Maison Chanson Pinot Noir

  • 2004 Bridgeview Pinot Noir

  • 2002 Toad Hollow Pinot Noir

  • 2003 Toad Hollow Merlot Reserve


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