by Andrew Chalk
Sigel’s held their annual Benchmark Pinot Noir Tasting this week. Fifty Pinot Noirs from California, Oregon, Burgundy, Argentina and New Zealand went head-to-head in a sell-out event at The Park City Club. CraveDFW was there and we discovered several interesting things.
First: There wasn’t a bad wine! Kudos to Sigel’s for aiming for such a high quality event.
Second: Best Wine of The Night – 2011 Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast ($71.99). Superb fruit embedded in a complex mouthful of earthy and herbaceous flavors. Just enough tannins to give the wine backbone without it being too tannic to enjoy. Complex in the mouth with a long finish. 94/100 from me. 93/100 from Antonio Galloni. And thank you, Pahlmeyer winemaker Kale Anderson for coming to the tasting and telling attendees about your wine! I learned that this wine comes from 95%-100% estate grapes.
Third: Revelation of the night. 2011 Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand ($36.99). There are more than hobbits to this enchanted land. The wine makers are free spirits. First, inventing a new style of Sauvignon Blanc that has met worldwide acceptance. Then, dragging the recalcitrant Pinot Noir grape to a lean but complex food-friendly style as exemplified by this Cloudy Bay.
Fourth: Best value for money. This prize is split three ways: 2012 Loring Wine Company Santa Lucia Highlands ($26.99). 92/100 from me. 90/100 from Robert Parker. 2012 Loring Wine Company Santa Rita Hills ($26.99). 92/100 from me. 92/100 from Robert Parker. 2011 Steele Carneros ($16.99). 86/100 from me. Loring owner and “yeast herder” (as he describes himself on his business card) Brian Loring (who poured his wines as the tasting) actually considers these wines his “low-end” Pinot Noirs. He brought five wines and regards his single vineyard offerings as the pinnacle of what he offers.
Fifth: Best Burgundy. 2010 Louis Jadot, Nuit St. Georges ($58.99). The days of serving Grand Crus at these tastings are, sadly long past. Thank goodness commune Burgundy has improved so much.
Sixth: Wineries to look for: Belle Glos, Benovia, Brewer Clifton, Melville, Merry Edwards. I rated all of these at least 92/100.
Note: All prices are current Sigel’s sale prices and may increase after March 22nd.