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Tasted: 3 Wren Hop Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay

Wren Hop Vineyards is located on Mark West Station Road, about a mile west of the Santa Rosa airport. Visits are by appointment only and primarily limited to their mailing list customers. Tastings are conducted in a lovely, open-ended room in a guest cottage adjacent to owner Jim McDonough’s home or under an arbor just down the hill.

I tasted under the arbor last Saturday with friends who are on the list. It was a library tasting, so only one of the wines below is a current release. Wren Hop wines are made by Russell Bevan in Santa Rosa.

The tasting salon at Wren Hop. Photo: Fred Swan

2009 Wren Hop Chardonnay “Shipwreck Sailor” Sonoma Coast, $46 (current release)

The nose is somewhat savory with peppery spice, fresh bread, green apple and a hint of chervil. Those notes lead to a surprise on the palate with is very rich, a touch sweet and loaded with fruit and spice. It’s full-bodied and long in the mouth with succulent layers of flavor. Butterscotch, apple and sweet spice are followed by lemon and pineapple brulée. Highly Recommended+

2009 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Siren’s Lure” Sonoma Coast, $65

Befitting it’s name, this wine draws you in with a pretty, feminine nose and then holds you fast with its powerful palate. The enticing aromas include rose petal, brown and sweet spice and red cherries. A sip reveals a creamy, nearly full-bodied wine with light tannins and surprising freshness given the weight. The deliciously concentrated flavors echo the nose’s spice and cherry. Very Highly Recommended.

2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast, $62

Fire Messenger labelLight ruby in the glass, perhaps owing to the cool vintage, the Wren Hop Fire Messenger isn’t at all shy on the nose. Wild cherry, raspberry, tangy orange and spice greeted me well before the glass reached my nose. On the palate it’s nearly full-bodied with a rich, sexy mouthfeel and flavors of slightly tart red fruit, vanilla and spice. The finish is long and clean with food-friendly freshness. Very Highly Recommended.

2011 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Wisdom & Chaos” Green Valley of Russian River Valley, $62

Wisdom & Chaos labelThe ruby-colored Wisdom & Chaos is intensely aromatic with raspberry, cherry and tangy herb. Those flavors come through on the palate as well and are consistent through the lengthy finish. In contrast to the ’09 Siren’s Lure and ’10 Fire Messenger which are virtually full-bodied with extremely fine and thoroughly integrated tannins, Wisdom & Chaos is just medium-plus in palate weight and its more prominent, yet still moderate, tannins are lightly grainy. This is in keeping with both the chilly 2011 vintage and the growing site. Green Valley of Russian River Valley is the coolest of Sonoma County’s AVAs. [This considers AVAs as a whole. Individual growing sites in Sonoma Coast AVA may be cooler.] The 2011 Wren Hop Wisdom & Chaos will be at its best from 2014 through 2019. Highly Recommended.

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Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

This article is original to Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. Label art courtesy of Wren Hop. All rights reserved.