TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

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Erik Pounds
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TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#1 Post by Erik Pounds » October 18th, 2019, 8:18 am

Late last year, GregP (yes, the man who keeps many threads lively) and his lovely wife Rita released the first vintage of their Iskaranu Pinot Noirs. I finally got around to writing tasting notes for all of them in CellarTracker, so I’m sharing my thoughts since I have not seen any tasting note threads on these wines. It is an enjoyable lineup and I do recommend giving them a try. It’s always fun to enjoy wines from those in the business who participate on the boards, as that’s what accelerated my interest in wine back in the Parker board days.
  • 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noir Putnam Vineyard Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (10/17/2019)
    When this Pinot Noir was released almost a year ago, it was the tightest of the inaugural Iskaranu portfolio, so I decided to try it again after some cellar time. After opening, it had delicate aromatics of spices and ripe lighter red fruits. It comes across as elegant and I love the baking spices. On first taste, the lighter red fruits (cherry, pomegranate) come through and it’s mouth-watering juicy. It also has a healthy amount of structure and minerality that make this a good food-paring wine, even with rich meats (we had lamb). Not a lot of citrus acidity on the finish that you get from some true Sonoma Coast Pinots, but the finish is long and elegant. There are noticeable tannins on the early part of the finish (I believe from the oak) that could integrate over time and I do think this wine will age well. I plan on trying my next bottle another year from now and I highly recommend decanting this wine for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. (93 pts.)
  • 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noir mimmä Russian River Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (12/20/2018)
    I love the name of this wine. "mimma" translates to "whatever". Since Iskaranu means wine, this is the "whatever wine". It has a clear, medium burgundy color. Extremely expressive aromatics ripened red fruits with some reductive notes (in a good way). Cherry flavors, spices, and little toasted marshmallow dominate on the palate. There is a healthy amount of oak on this Pinot Noir (website says 50% new), but it's already fairly well integrated and I feel helps produce a very long finish. Of the Iskaranu wines, this one is the most "classic Russian River". I enjoyed this with a burger. (93 pts.)
  • 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noir Russian River Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (12/12/2018)
    This Pinot Noir has a translucent, dark burgundy color. Immediately after pouring, it had open and expressive aromatics of fresh red fruits and tea leaves. Cherry fruit is the dominant flavor with toasted spices and some tannin on the mid-palate. Tart, light red fruit flavors linger on the finish. Not a long finish, but some nice acidity remains, which is cleansing. This is a light and elegant Pinot that can be enjoyed on its own or with food. I tasted it with some fatty mild salami, which brought out more in the mid-palate. (90 pts.)
  • 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noir Secret Clone Russian River Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (11/7/2018)
    According to the website, this Pinot Noir is 100% unknown heritage clone and aged in 50% new oak. Color is clear burgundy and not dark like many California Pinots. Broad aromatics of slightly sweet red fruits, a bit of earth, and spices. On the palate, it’s elegant with pleasant slightly-tart bright fruit and spices that continue on into the finish with some tannin structure. The finish is long and lingering, but not heavy. This is noticeably a heritage clone (Swan, Mt. Eden, etc.), which is fun and the slight sweetness, tannin, and spice maybe comes from the new oak. I enjoyed this Pinot with lamb lollipops and it went perfectly. This is a good food Pinot to pair with roasted meats like pork and lamb. (92 pts.)
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S. Rash
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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#2 Post by S. Rash » October 18th, 2019, 9:54 am

Great notes Erik! I have tasted the mimma, RRV, and Secret Clone and they are amazing. I am not a big Pinot fan, but I could drink these all day!
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Mike Grammer
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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#3 Post by Mike Grammer » October 18th, 2019, 10:33 am

Yes, splendid notes, would love to see you post more TNs Erik. I did taste--only the Putnam--but it was buried in my notes on 50 wines at FallTacular:

2017 Iskaranu Putnam PN
It *was* good to see the bear again after a long absence. Bits of anise, perked up with blackberry, and some pine needle maybe? I do like! Tasty and a smooth chewiness with good red fruit and a light cinnamon whisk. #12


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Erik Pounds
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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#4 Post by Erik Pounds » October 18th, 2019, 12:12 pm

Thanks Mike. I do want to participate more. Once I started having kids (4 now), I fell off the boards. Of course, with 4 kids, it's motivating me to drink more wine. :-)

James Cross
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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#5 Post by James Cross » October 18th, 2019, 1:01 pm

Greg did a blind pinot tasting here in Vegas that featured two of his wines. I've looked for my notes, but can't find them. I think they were two of the Russian R versions and I'd agree with Erik's general comments in the tasting notes. They were up against some fairly stiff competition from Oregon and Cali and held their own.

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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#6 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » October 18th, 2019, 3:03 pm

Greg shared a number of his Pinots at a Berserker offline back in June and in general I found them very elegant and expressive. Worth checking out.

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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#7 Post by brigcampbell » October 18th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Dude can cook too...

Eric Lundblad
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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#8 Post by Eric Lundblad » October 24th, 2019, 3:35 pm

I agree...Erik's notes are excellent and mirror my thoughts. One thing to note is Iskaranu's RRV Pinots are right nearby to Dehlinger with the same interesting mix of soil's hard to convey that in tasting notes, but that's where the character lies and it shows in Greg's wines.
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Re: TNs: 2017 Iskaranu Pinot Noirs

#9 Post by GregP » October 30th, 2019, 11:09 pm

Thanks for the TNs and feedback, always appreciated! Just got to the thread, spent the past few days watching the Kinkade fire rapidly approaching our warehouse and trying to get timely reports, still keeping fingers crossed.

As Eric, with a C, noted just above, all the RRVs come from same vineyard, making them all SVD (sans vineyard name on labels due to NDA).
G r e g P i a t i g o r s k i
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