Red, 2009, Pinot Noir, Merlot, WINE

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Pinot Noir is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult varietal to cultivate and vinify. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards, and the thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds result in mostly lightly colored, medium-bodied, low-tannin wines. The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot noir can produce lends to its overall popularity but also to its misunderstanding. In the broadest terms, the wine tends to display aromas reminiscent of black and/or red cherry, raspberry and to a lesser extent currant and many other fine small red and black berry fruits. Traditional Pinot Noir is famous for its savory fleshiness and 'farmyard' aromas, but changing fashions, modern winemaking techniques, and new easier-to-grow clones have favored a lighter, more fruit-prominent, cleaner style.

Like many other red varietals, the character of the wine depends heavily on where the grapes are grown and how they are vinified, and these distinctions are largely reflected in a New World/Old World dichotomy. The Burgundy region in France, Pinot Noir's place of origin, is renowned for producing the most complex, ageworthy, and esoteric versions. These can range from dark, brooding, densely tannic wines to light, ethereally elegant wines of intensely perfumed character. Fruit profiles often differ as well, but the common denominator in all Burgundy Pinot Noir is the essence of the place in which it grows, coined as the term terroir. The finest examples, after years of proper aging, display haunting aromas and flavors that defy description using refrences of common reference points. The grape has also found highly unique expression in the vineyards of Germany, where it's known as Spätburgund. From the steep slopes of the Ahr Valley to the rolling, pastorl hills of the Pfalz, the country is producing wines with notably vibrant fruit and deep savory character, but also a rugged edge in which the stamp of terroir is also evident.

New World styles of Pinot Noir also vary in their specifics, but in general they are built on a bright, expressive fruit profile. California has several regions that excel with the varietal, most famously the Sonoma Coast AVA and its sub-AVA Russian River Valley. The wines typically display exuberant red cherry and strawberry notes along with the occasional savory spice elements. While these are cool climates by New World standards, Pinot Noir still achieves more consistent ripeness and more viscosity and body as a result. The AVAs of Santa Barbara County also produce outstanding versions with more concentrated savory profile, while Mendocino County's wines tend toward the dark-fruited, earthy profile. Oregon's Willamette Valley is perhaps the most old school of the New WOrld profiles, where fruit is less pronounced and an herbacious forest floor component imparts a touch of terroir on the wines. Perhaps the most exciting New World Pinot Noir wines are now coming from New Zealand, where the Central Otago and Martinborough regions are producing wines of dark fruit character with essentially cool-climate structure and texture, an intriguing, if non-traditional, combination.

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92 points and 'Outstanding,' Allen Meadows (Burghound): (from a .60 ha parcel of 40+ year old vines). Subtle but not invisible wood frames relatively high-toned red berry fruit, especially red currant, that introduces delicious, round and unusually fine middle weight flavors thanks to the refined… ...
AM 92
JG 91
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Chevillon Nuits-St-Georges 1er cru Les Bousselots 2009  (#331416)

Pinot Noir from Nuits-St.-Georges, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

92 points and 'Outstanding,' Allen Meadows (Burghound): (from a .60 ha parcel of 40+ year old vines). Subtle but not invisible wood frames relatively high-toned red berry fruit, especially red currant, that introduces delicious, round and unusually…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
'Outstanding'/94 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): Discreet wood is almost lost on the densely fruited, closed and brooding nose of ripe red berry fruit liqueur, warm earth and anise... excellent freshness and verve to the big-bodied and concentrated flavors that despite the impressive size and… ...
AM 94
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Gaunoux/Michel Pommard 1er cru Grands Epenots 2009  (#313701)

Pinot Noir from Pommard, Côtes de Beaune, Burgundy, France

'Outstanding'/94 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): Discreet wood is almost lost on the densely fruited, closed and brooding nose of ripe red berry fruit liqueur, warm earth and anise... excellent freshness and verve to the big-bodied and concentrated…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
$124.95
$175.00
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95 points Antonio Galloni (Wine Advocate): The 2009 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvee Natalie is a deep, dense wine imbued with black cherries, spices, violets, mint and crushed rocks. It possesses stunning depth and richness, all supported by a persistent vein of minerality that gives the wine its focus… ...
WA 95
IWC 94
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Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Cuvee Natalie Silver Belt 2009  (#312381)

Pinot Noir from the United States

95 points Antonio Galloni (Wine Advocate): The 2009 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvee Natalie is a deep, dense wine imbued with black cherries, spices, violets, mint and crushed rocks. It possesses stunning depth and richness, all supported by a…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
92 points Wine Spectator: Openly fruity, with plum, black cherry, mineral and spice notes that show a touch of cedar. Medium- to full-bodied, retaining its delicate profile. Drink now through 2017. (9/30/11) ...
WS 92
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Rochioli Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Estate 2009  (#311158)

Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California

92 points Wine Spectator: Openly fruity, with plum, black cherry, mineral and spice notes that show a touch of cedar. Medium- to full-bodied, retaining its delicate profile. Drink now through 2017. (9/30/11)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
90 points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): Open and expressive, the 2009 Beaune Village wafts from the glass with aromas of cherries, redcurrants, espresso roast, dried ceps and grilled squab. On the palate, it's supple, silky and medium-bodied, with juicy acids and a generous core of fruit that… ...
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Gaunoux/Michel Beaune 2009  (#326255)

Pinot Noir from Beaune, Côtes de Beaune, Burgundy, France

90 points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): Open and expressive, the 2009 Beaune Village wafts from the glass with aromas of cherries, redcurrants, espresso roast, dried ceps and grilled squab. On the palate, it's supple, silky and medium-bodied, with…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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