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2007 Laurier Pinot Noir Los Carneros

About Laurier wines

Laurier is one of more than a hundred brands within Bronco Wine Company’s portfolio. Laurier wines include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley plus this Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay from the Sonoma County portion of Carneros. Many of Bronco’s wines are famously low-priced. However, the Laurier Pinot Noir carries a list price of $20.

Founded in 1973 by Fred, Joseph and John Franzia, Bronco focuses on producing mass-market, ready-to-drink wines. As of 2009, Bronco Wine Company was the fourth largest wine producer in the United States, behind E & J Gallo, The Wine Group and Constellation Brands. Annual production at Bronco exceeds 20 million cases of wine, though some of that is sold to other wineries rather than being bottled under a Bronco Brand. [Franzia is not among Bronco’s brands. That brand was sold to Coca-Cola by the Franzia family in the early 1970’s and is now belongs to The Wine Group.]

2007 Laurier Pinot Noir Los Carneros review

2007-laurier-pinot-noirThe 2007 Laurier Pinot Noir Los Carneros is a genuinely good, light-bodied Pinot Noir. It is a decent buy from a quality-standpoint at $20. In fact, Wine & Spirits Magazine rated it a Best Buy in December, 2010. However, the main reason I’m calling your attention to the wine now is that Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa has some they’re selling at $6.99. (I just checked with them for inventory and they say they have “plenty of it.”) The lowest price I’ve found on on this wine elsewhere is $10. If good, very restrained, Pinot Noir for $7 a bottle is interesting too you, read on and then grab your wallet.

The 2007 Laurier Pinot Noir Los Carneros is light ruby in color with gentle aromas of dry herb, sandalwood and raspberry. Palate weight is shy of medium, owing to light tannins, moderate richness of fruit and alcohol that is only 12.5% — remarkably low alcohol for a Carneros Pinot Noir. The wine has freshness that complements, but does not require, food. Flavors echo the nose with delicate raspberry and dry herb.

The 2007 Laurier Pinot Noir is a well-made wine. It is light, but balanced in all aspects. It has attractive flavors and is varietally-correct, though with subtlety more common to Europe than California. The winemaker has not used any tricks to try to make it more than it wanted to be. It isn’t a “wow” wine, but it’s honest and enjoyable. It will do well at the dinner table. Serve it with quail and light chicken dishes or grilled vegetables. Drink now through 2012. Recommended.

2007 Laurier Pinot Noir Los Carneros
Rating: Recommended

Drink: Now through 2012
Release Date: January, 2010

Retail Price: $20.00, now available for $6.99
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Origin: Los Carneros, Sonoma County
Alcohol: 12.5%

Closure: Composite cork

The wine above was purchased for review.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Von Holt Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard

Von Holt is new, small-production wine label focusing on cool climate wines. Total production is just 600 cases, spread among two Pinot Noir and two Syrah. They plan to release a Chardonnay later this year as well. Because of their small size and this being their first year of releases, they do not have a tasting room.

John Fones makes the wines for the proprietors, Chris and Pamela Von Holt. Fones is also assistant winemaker to Ed Kurtzman for the Roar, August West and Sandler wineries. All of those wines, and the Von Holt, are made at Kurtzman’s facility in the city of San Francisco. Ed Kurtzman also serves as a consultant for Von Holt.


von-holts
Proprietors Pamela and Chris Von Holt at the Family Winemakers Tasting on August 21, 2011.

The 2009 Von Holt Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard is ruby in color with a pale rim. Aromas of black cherry and pomegranate flow generously from the glass. A closer sniff reveals sandalwood, leather and cranberry. The body is medium-plus with a supple mouthfeel. The tannins and alcohol are both moderate and well-integrated. The flavors are rich and include tart black cherry, wild strawberry, vanilla and orange. A suggestion of cherry cough drop emerges as the long finishes slowly subsides. This is an excellent Pinot Noir that proves (again) that California Pinot can have powerful fruit without being either simple or high in alcohol. It is rich and satisfying with complexity that rewards focus but enough forward fruit to make easy to enjoy. Drink now through 2016. Highly Recommended.

On a side note, this Von Holt wine was bottled as a Suacci Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. But Suacci-Carciere bills their own offering from the same vineyard as a Russian River Pinot Noir. How can that be?

The Russian River and Sonoma Coast AVAs are very large and there is substantial overlap between the two. The 6.5 acre Suacci Vineyard, located south of Sebastopol, is one of many that falls within both appellations. Of course, it also lies within the Sonoma County, North Coast and California AVAs. When a wine comes from an area of overlapping appellations, the winery can choose which one to list on their bottle.

von-holt-pinot2009 Von Holt Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2016
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 225 cases
Retail Price: $42.00

Winemaker: John Fones
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir (Dijon, 115 and 777 clones)
Origin: 100% Sonoma Coast/Russian River, Suacci Vineyard
Fermentation: Native yeast

Aging: 11 months in French oak barrels, 30% new

Alcohol: 13.3%

This wine was received for review from the winery. It was tasted blind in a flight of three Russian River/Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Photos by Fred Swan. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast

Sojourn Cellars has been consistently producing excellent Pinot Noir wines for several years now. The overall style of the wines is rich with silky texture and complex, fruit-centric flavors that show both vineyard distinctiveness and high-quality oak. The wines appeal to a broad-swath of Pinot lovers and everyone to whom I've recommended the tasting room has come away with at least a few bottles.

 This year, there will be seven Sojourn Pinot Noir released overall, five vineyard designates and two AVA wines. The four currently available are vineyard designates from Sangiacomo, Gap’s Crown and Rodgers Creek plus a Sonoma Coast blend. All are from the 2009 vintage. The remaining three wines will be released in the Fall.

2009_Sojourn_SangiacomThe 2009 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard offers bold aromas of black cherry, dried tangerine peel and woodsy spice. The palate is more expressive. It reiterates the black cherry and dried tangerine peel but adds pomegranate, indian spice, cola, caramel, oak and more. The body is medium-plus but with relatively light and fully-integrated tannins. The mouthfeel is silky and the wine drinks nicely by itself, but will also work with a wide-range of foods. Medium-plus acidity keeps the wine balanced and will help it age for several years. I would hold it for at least a few months to let the nose open up a bit, though its quite good now. Drink now through 2016. Highly Recommended.

2009 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2016

Release Date: February, 2011

Production: 875 cases
Closure: Cork

Retail Price: $48.00

Winemaker: Erich Bradley
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir, clones 115, 777, Swan and Pommard
Origin: Sangiacomo Vineyard at Roberts Road, Sonoma Coast AVA
Aging: 11 months in French oak barrels, 50% new

Alcohol: 14.5%

The wine above was purchased from the winery.

 

 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 LaFollette Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

When we talk about value, we tend to think about low price points. There are definitely wines that are excellent values priced well above the $20 threshold though. And I’m not just talking about those marked down from a much higher starting price.

One example of excellent value above $20 is the 2009 LaFollette Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. The wine has many characteristics of wines selling for around $45 but goes for just $30. It is complex and offers much more than just a bowl of fruit. It has pleasing palate weight but achieves that without high alcohol. It tastes great now, but will develop nicely in bottle for several years. It’s so much better than the vast majority of Pinot Noir selling for less, spending up is a no-brainer.

The wine's nose is generous in both intensity and complexity. It is distinctly savory but there is no lack of fruit. Aromas include savory spice, game meat, dry herb (especially sage), blueberry, cherry and leather. In the mouth, the wine is on the rich side of medium body with a harmonious balance of acidity, alcohol and tannins. Sweet black cherry fruit and orange zest flavors are met by deli meat, leather, savory spice and sage. The wine is thoroughly approachable and will complement, rather than dominate a meal. It will also reward thoughtful nosing and sipping. Drink now through 2016. Highly Recommended.

2009-LaFollette-Pinot-Sonoma-Coast

2009 LaFollette Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2016
Retail Price: $29.99
Winemaker: Greg LaFollette
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Origin: Sonoma Coast

Fermentation: open top tank, native yeasts
Aging: 10 months in French oak barrels

Alcohol: 14.1%

Closure: Cork
Production: 2,445 cases

The wine above was provided by the winery for review. It was tasted blind.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2008 Waterstone Pinot Noir Carneros

Waterstone is a Napa Valley winery known for making solid wines that offer very good value. Waterstone doesn’t own vineyards, or even their own winemaking facility. That’s very common these days and can allow for the flexibility and efficiencies required to provide very good, yet affordable, wines on a consistent basis. Waterstone wines are available for consumer tasting at Taste at Oxbow, a multi-winery tasting room in downtown Napa.

The 2008 Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir is a well-made, fruit-centric Pinot Noir. Upon first opening, it has an effusive nose of candied strawberry and raspberry with coconut accents. On the palate, it's medium-bodied with satiny texture. There are flavors of juicy black cherry, vanilla, oak and a light scattering of herb. The alcohol is gently warming but not unpleasant. This wine will be very popular by the glass at restaurants or at a party; smooth and easy to drink with plenty of attractive fruit.

After the first tasting, which consumed about half-a-bottle because I was tasting with a few peers, I vacuumed the remainder and put it in the fridge. I retasted the wine the next day after having allowed it to come up to proper temperature. Now the wine was less brightly fruited. The nose featured black cherry and herb, as the palate had previously. There was much less vanilla and the coconut was virtually gone.

In both cases, the wine was pleasing. If you want to get your party started, or simply relax, with fresh, bright fruit flavors and cheerful coconut, the 2008 Waterstone Pinot Noir Carneros delivers. Serve it with anything from grilled salmon under fruit salsa to glazed meatballs. If you’re looking for Pinot that’s more somber and introspective, yet still silky, decant the wine for up to an hour. Given it's retail price of $22, meaning you should be able to find it for less than $20, it is also quite a good value. Drink now through 2013. Recommended.

2008_waterstone_pinot

2008 Waterstone Pinot Noir Carneros
Rating: Recommended
Drink: Now through 2013
Bottling Date: December, 2009

Retail Price: $22.00
Winemaker: Philip Zorn

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Origin: Carneros

Aging: 11 months in French oak barrels, 35% new
Alcohol: 14.5%

Closure: Cork

The wine was provided by the winery for review. It was tasted blind with two other North Coast Pinot Noir.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.