Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

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Dan Kravitz
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Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#1 Post by Dan Kravitz » April 16th, 2019, 4:18 pm

One nice thing about wine business trips is that I sometimes get to dine at the homes of friends who do not live nearby and are not ITB. At the end of last week, I had an invitation and a really lovely dinner.

My hostess just told me to grab a white wine out of the fridge, she was only drinking red. She had two Albariños I did not know, I grabbed the one with the screwcap and did incredibly well with something completely new to me:
2017 La Val Albariño Rias Baixas – Lovely aromas of quince, with a hint of pineapple, not something I expected. The palate was fresh, firm, tender, an exemplar of this DO, surprisingly refined and fully mature at 18 months. The flavors had some of the faint saline tang you find in fine Rias Baixas along with a tiny thread of herbal green, like thyme or maybe sage. Way above average quality, a real treat, rated 90 points.

The beef braciola was on the way and so was the red wine, Pinots from France and California despite the dish. An Instant Winner preceded by one that took a while:

2011 Chandon de Briailles Pernand Ile de Vergelesses – recommended by a customer, this is a producer I like, although I’ve seen some negative comments on the board. I was dubious because I buy Burgundy by the vintage, and this ain’t one of them.
This is a tale of one bottle, two wines. Pop and pour, the aromas were lovely, showing tender red cherry fruit, some nicely secondary sous-bois and a hint of minerality. On the palate however, the wine was disjointed, with sharp-elbowed acidity, decent fruit but slightly aggressive tannins. There was good body on the entry that immediately turned hollow. I decanted it and opened the next bottle (note below).
A few hours later, this had come around. The palate had knit, the acidity had dropped a few degrees and the tannins had started to resolve. An 84 point rating was now an 89.5. I have ordered 3 more bottles and will wait 3 – 5 years, at which time I confidently predict a rating of 91 – 92.

2006 Mount Eden Pinot Noir Saratoga Cuvee – Rushed into service when the Pernand was recalcitrant, this was a beauty from the start. The color was light to medium garnet to the rim. The aromas were more secondary than the Pernand to start, but with nothing old or tertiary. They featured red cherries but also red plums and the inimitable conifer character of fine Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot. The palate had the real Jesus in velvet trousers texture I rarely find outside of Burgundy. If lacking in great intensity, it had a sneakily rich texture in the finish, excellent harmony, fine-grained, fully resolved tannins, some red raspberry and a wonderful hint of black raspberry as well. Perfectly mature, rated 93 points, I would drink up in the next year or so.

Dan Kravitz
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Joshua Kates
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#2 Post by Joshua Kates » April 17th, 2019, 7:37 am

Dan Kravitz wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 4:18 pm
The palate had the real Jesus in velvet trousers texture I rarely find outside of Burgundy.
Nice!

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Drew Goin
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#3 Post by Drew Goin » April 17th, 2019, 9:46 am

Dan Kravitz wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 4:18 pm
One nice thing about wine business trips is that I sometimes get to dine at the homes of friends who do not live nearby and are not ITB. At the end of last week, I had an invitation and a really lovely dinner.

My hostess just told me to grab a white wine out of the fridge, she was only drinking red. She had two Albariños I did not know, I grabbed the one with the screwcap and did incredibly well with something completely new to me:
2017 La Val Albariño Rias Baixas – Lovely aromas of quince, with a hint of pineapple, not something I expected. The palate was fresh, firm, tender, an exemplar of this DO, surprisingly refined and fully mature at 18 months. The flavors had some of the faint saline tang you find in fine Rias Baixas along with a tiny thread of herbal green, like thyme or maybe sage. Way above average quality, a real treat, rated 90 points.

...

2006 Mount Eden Pinot Noir Saratoga Cuvee – Rushed into service when the Pernand was recalcitrant, this was a beauty from the start. The color was light to medium garnet to the rim. The aromas were more secondary than the Pernand to start, but with nothing old or tertiary. They featured red cherries but also red plums and the inimitable conifer character of fine Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot. The palate had the real Jesus in velvet trousers texture I rarely find outside of Burgundy. If lacking in great intensity, it had a sneakily rich texture in the finish, excellent harmony, fine-grained, fully resolved tannins, some red raspberry and a wonderful hint of black raspberry as well. Perfectly mature, rated 93 points, I would drink up in the next year or so.

Dan Kravitz

Thanks for the tasting notes, Dan!!!

I love your comment about the "Jesus in velvet" texture!

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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#4 Post by Justin S » April 17th, 2019, 11:32 am

Thanks for the notes. I seem to be finding a lot of great Albarinos from Rias Baixas in the $20 range that are really fantastic, even price aside. 2017 Zarate and 2017 Raul Perez Atalier. Definitely a region more people should be looking into, especially with summer approaching.
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#5 Post by JDavisRoby » April 20th, 2019, 5:31 am

Dan, I love Mount Eden but am unfamiliar with this particular cuvée. Can you shed any light?
Joshu@

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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#6 Post by RichardFlack » April 20th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Joshua Kates wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 7:37 am
Dan Kravitz wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 4:18 pm
The palate had the real Jesus in velvet trousers texture I rarely find outside of Burgundy.
Nice!
Better not let Mr Morris see this one.....

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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#7 Post by Wes Barton » April 20th, 2019, 3:34 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 5:31 am
Dan, I love Mount Eden but am unfamiliar with this particular cuvée. Can you shed any light?
The Saratoga Cuvees were second wines, from various other vineyards in Saratoga. A Chard, a Pinot and a Cab. These were phased out when they bought what is now Domain Eden.
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Dan Kravitz
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#8 Post by Dan Kravitz » April 20th, 2019, 3:39 pm

Thanks to Wes for the clarification requested by Joshu@.

I think that there was a transition period, when some (if not all) of the grapes for Saratoga Cuvee came from the vineyard that became Domaine Eden, but I'm not sure and don't know the timeline. Wes, if you know the details here, I would be grateful for a post.

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Al Osterheld
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#9 Post by Al Osterheld » April 20th, 2019, 4:04 pm

The Cinnabar vineyards were sold to Mount Eden in 2007 (gorgeous location, btw). I think the Chardonnay was used one year in the Saratoga Cuvee, but not the Pinot Noir. The Saratoga Cuvee Pinot was typically from Mount Eden fruit combined with grapes from Woodside (Lone Madrone some years) and Santa Cruz (Hawk's Hill).

I think the Domaine Eden Chardonnay and Cabernet include grapes from Mount Eden and maybe a couple other vineyards in the case of the Cabernet. I think the Pinot may just use fruit from the former Cinnabar vineyard.

-Al

Dan Kravitz
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#10 Post by Dan Kravitz » April 20th, 2019, 5:49 pm

Thank you Al,

I'm obviously a huge fan of Mount Eden, but there's nothing like being in the neighborhood to know the full story. From what I remember, the Mount Eden Vineyard and the Domaine Eden (ex-Cinnabar) vineyard are no more than a mile apart as the crow flies, but more like 8 miles by road, at least half an hour door-to-door.

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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#11 Post by Wes Barton » April 20th, 2019, 5:59 pm

I don't know all of the details, but there was at least one year with both Domaine Eden and Saratoga Cuvee. For me, the various Saratoga Cuvees could range from fairly meh to spectacular and cost a lot less than the estate wines. The purchase of the Cinnabar property gave them a large volume of quality grapes. I'm under the impression they retained some sources and ceased getting grapes from others. I'm sure everything Al said above is correct, so my comment about it all being Saratoga fruit was from a snapshot in time, before which that was not always the fact. The Domaine Eden wine now show consistent quality and I've heard could legally be termed estate, in that all the vineyards are proximate and under their control. Depends on the variety and vintage if they contain declassified Mount Eden Vineyard fruit and/or other sources in addition to the Domaine Eden Vineyard fruit.

Yes, I wouldn't doubt they were buying Cinnabar Vyd fruit.
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Re: Red Burg, Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot and a terrific Albarino surprise

#12 Post by JDavisRoby » April 20th, 2019, 7:05 pm

I hosted a wine dinner with Mount Eden’s national sales rep a few weeks ago (was going to taste notes and menu but I’m awful at it) and I recall her telling me they could consider the Domaine property estate but have kept it separate. She did say some estate fruit goes into the Domaine Eden bottling.

The fact the 2014 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir was served at the royal wedding was a huge hit with the ladies in the room and shows the quality of the fruit coming from that property.
Joshu@

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