2011 Shitty CA Pinot Noir Thread

Lots of discussions regarding the '11 vintage in California. Here’s a place to dump your thoughts, experiences, and tasting notes.

Interested in reading recent tasting notes from Cellartracker regarding the 2011 vintage? Click on the following link.


At the creation of this thread, I have 16 TN’s on the 2011 vintage and not a clunker in the crowd. I’ve tasted another ~10 more without notes which were all shitty as well. Here’s a list of my notes.

(Edit: up to 32 TN’s now and a few clunkers)

I had a shitty 2011 Holdredge Shaken Not Stirred Pinot Noir the other night. Had an awful black cherry and Asian spice nose, a horribly soft palate of black cherry, tart cranberry and was followed up by a horrendous finish loaded with powdery tannins and lingering acidity. I hated it so much that I finished the entire bottle and futured some '12s.

Good winemakers make good wines from challenging vintages.

I completely forgot about this wine!!! LOL


  • 2011 Vampire Vineyards Pinot Noir - USA, California (10/31/2012)
    Brought over for Halloween and I thought it was a gag wine. Not at all, seems well made. Color and clarity are excellent. Spicey aromas on the pop and pour. Nose and palate of strawberries and rhubarb. Short finish, light mouthfeel. Tannins are totally resolved.

Posted from CellarTracker

I had a 2011 Decoy Pinot Noir just recently and was very pleasantly surprised. I’ve never bought this particular wine, but it seems to show up frequently for some reason, and I generally find it to be rather generic and uninteresting. The 2011 had a nice balance of acidity that is normally lacking and really turned this into something you wanted to keep coming back to. Still fairly simple, but a good drinkin’ sort of wine.

Just checked Steve Heimoff’s review and he called it distractingly unripe and gave it 82 points [cheers.gif]

Brig, I really enjoyed the Anthill Tina Marie and Campbell when we visited a few weeks back with FMIII. The Campbell won me over with its incredible nose and the Tina Marie with the feminine tart red fruit profile. My 1-2 of the flight.

2011 Rivers-Marie Silver Eagle is pretty great. So much so I reloaded…on PINOT no less!

You know what, I was pleasantly surprised by the Decoy Pinot Noir I had and was actually speechless that I liked it, but 6 hours later the wine was absolutely dead. I recommend the wine to people but I also tell them to drink it within an hour or two.

Now that is something you don’t see everyday!

The 2011 Aston Pinot is fantastically shitty.

AG (via EBob) just posted a commentary on the 2011’s Titled, & subtitled respectively:

Sonoma: A Thrill a Minute

Vintage 2011: An Unexpected Surprise

I just checked CT and the only one I’ve had so far is the Wind Gap Pinot and it was very nice. Brian Tuite’s comment that good wine makers make good wines in challenging vintages is dead on.

I am suprised FMIII hasn’t chimed in. I know he has had some shitty 11’s too. :wink:


start chanting and FMIII will rise.

Ohm… Ohm… Ohm …

Not only are the 11 pinots shitty, so are the Zin’s. To my tastes they are more balanced, fresher, with lower alcohol. Has Mr. Laube bashed them too?

Brig, thanks for getting this started. So, to the question…just how shitty is the 2011 vintage, well it is this shitty…here are my additions to the party to help provide basis for stirring the shit:

  • 2011 Sojourn Pinot Noir Silver Eagle Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (4/26/2013)
    This is the second of two bottles tasted blind, the previous was 2 nights ago, being the 2011 Sojourn Campbell Ranch. I liked that wine but this Silver Eagle I really like, a lot. I opened this last night and could tell very quickly this was of the 2011 caliber and profile that has really aligned with what I now enjoy. Raspberry, bing cherry, light cola, whiff of vanilla, red apple, mineral and good definition and balance–this was the signature of last night’s glass. For today, and drinking this at a great temp of about 62, it shines. Pretty similar to y/day too, with just a touch more richness than last night, which I think Craig strives for so he’s got this one dialed in. The fruit here has nice depth, really perfect ripeness and the oak shading gives it that extra richness, that like with the Campbell (although in my view less perceived wood here) will fade in with time. Give the vineard source, and also my own experience with the Rivers Marie bottling, this is pretty close to that style of TRB: sexy-edged red fruit with a nice palate weight and balance. This is another fine 2011 pinot.
  • 2011 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (4/18/2013#
    Opened about 2 hours ago, no decant. There is whole cluster here, and if Richard J’s notation about 80% is correct, this fruit has pretty well eaten up most of that signature, although some does freshen into the aromatic, along with some ripe fruit tones. I have to go in a different direction than Richard, as I don’t get the tartness that he mentions, at least not in this first half of the bottle. There is some light cranberry here but to me it’s a background note, and I see more prevalence of a deep, dark rasberry and richer strawberry fruit that is buffered by some new oak that adds a lushness to both. There is a zippy note within the palate and finish that underpins the fruit, too. The finish has an aspect of decadence, too. This is an interesting 2011, not as bright red or lean or delicate as some recent 2011s I tried. More tomorrow…this wine transformed over night. As Jamie suggested I wait to see the wine flesh out, he was correct. The notes I jotted down were black cherry, blueberry, spice and the finish that had decadence and oak last night, it has been replaced by more focused acidity and bing cherry. I saved one more glass for tomorrow, when I will enjoy any further development and log it back here. Just really surprised #and pleased with the flavor change) as to how this went from one wine to another…Day 3, and will be the last of the wine, drinking much like y/day, with some added brown baking spice in the finish, with the really defined acidity buffering it all done.

  • 2011 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay (4/10/2013#
    95% whole cluster, and the stems seems far more eaten by the wine, as they don’t show nearly much to me, as opposed to the 2011 Bearwallow, where 65% hits the aromatic far more. As with the 2010 Home, which I thought was fantastic last year when I tasted it at the winery, this 2011 marches right along with that wine, showing excellent balance. It’s also juicy with more strawberry fruit, but a dominant signature of red cherry, which is just beautiful. A spicy finish, shows really distinctive, along with a gamey note. Elegant, deeply fruited and layers. Scary good say my notes, and between Cary Wun and I, who was next to me at the tasting, we made sure this wine was finished before the tasting was over. Outstanding.

  • 2011 Copain Pinot Noir Wentzel Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley #4/8/2013#
    This got started with some sulphury notes, at least that’s what it seemed like to me. This blew off with air, and I retasted it several times throughout the visit, refreshing my glass. Slate-like, with rose petal, raspberry and blueberry. It also exhibits a strawberry jam-like quality, too. Depending on the temp of the wine, the expression is either the red jam fruit note with a sexy feel or more rocky when cool. Really a beautiful wine.

  • 2011 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast #4/7/2013)
    Uh, this is a winner by god and will hit my list as yet another WOTY candidate, and to all the poop about 2011 being this and that…forget the critics. There is a boysen quality to this wine, and what Alan Rath who tasted with us, called a “black tea” note. Black raspberry, zesty, lithe and juicy. Then it finished with blueberry, raspberry and rocky notes. At about 5 hours of air, I took this bottle to dinner and drained off the last glass, and it was even better, with a tangy fruit, that same razzy berry and just fantastic. This is fantastic, classy.

  • 2011 Lucia Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (4/6/2013)
    Was this going to be as good as the last bottle, the one that offered me an “a ha” moment? We opened this one in the late afternoon to kick off the weekend and we drained it in less than an hour. Perfumey nose that shows some light oak, with a cool background accent of pinot funk, then blue and cherry fruit in the palate. As the wine breathed out–as if even fair to say with only an hour’s air–the cherry brightens into the finish, which closes with a loamy note. Steve commented to me as we drank the wine together that this is great now, not for aging, and I would agree with that point. The cherry aspect adds lift, there is acid, and the balance to this is already nice, and I think in a year’s time, maybe two, this is perfectly rounded out, but what’s there now I really dig and I will pick up a few more of these to ensure I have several through that time to enjoy. Call 2011’s vintage what you may, but this wine is strong and I love it.
  • 2011 Wind Gap Wines Pinot Noir - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (11/22/2012)
    If you open this and judge right with the cork out, it is a mistake. It starts a bit prickly and closed but with an hour of air, the aromtics resolve and the fruit fills in. This was listed at 12.4 % and there is no heat interference at all. Lots of raspberry and strawberry, and I can see the cranberry fruit here, too—fruits rouges! Some loam in the wine and good supporting acid in the finish. This is really good, bright, with a fresh fruit core. A wine for the next 2-3 years. I’d be interested in seeing how this competes in the vintage against other 2011s, as this is strong. Beautiful balance and flavor in play together–simply excellent.

Posted from CellarTracker

There, that’s 7 shi##y 2011 pinots, I am certain there are more to be had. god, I can’t bear to think it.

The only challenge in 2011 was to make a wine that fruit whores go apeshit for.

Ours are some of the most refined and gorgeous wines I’ve ever made. The new parker clone will never see them. They go striaght to Galloni.

We, I need to try one of your shi##y 2011s, too. Love the avatar.

Some of my favorite shit

  • 2011 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Boer Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Chalone (2/17/2013)
    Falltacular 2013 (FMIII in the OC): No other '11 PN taste like this wine. How’s that for a statement? And this would satisfy the domestic requirements of a serious burg head. Right after opening, the nose was expressive mushroom, red fruit, and black olive tapenade. Seriously, it was very surprising. It was engaging. The palate showed a bit of earth with the fruit and acid. Superb balance. The finish was medium plus and there was a dusty whiff. Standout wine and WOTN for me. (93 pts.)
  • 2011 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir Vigneron Select - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills (2/17/2013)
    Falltacular 2013 (FMIII in the OC): This wine is constant across vintages true to the SRH in its expression of cherry and berry flavors. Fruit driven, nice spice, and big mouthfeel. This was Kim’s favorite of the evening and since there were three bottles in the auction, I split it with Rob and gave a bottle to Kim. Thanks Rob, made her day. Oh, and I really enjoy it too!

Posted from CellarTracker

Brigger, I will bring another sh##ty 2011 pinot to dinner tonight, one I don’t think you have tried yet–I will bag it and see what you think. I also have the 2011 Rivers Marie Thieriot chard in the carrier, too.