Clos Saron had a barrel tasting, wine tasting and lunch at its facility in Oregon House, Calif. Fellow Berserker Glenn Bienstock and I attended. It turned out to be a great tasting. I got a good sense of Clos Saron wines.
Winemaker Gideo Beinstock is portraying himself as a pinot noir specialist. I liked his pinot noirs. He has a pinot noir vineyard at the winery. And lets face it, the trajectory of pinot noir sales has been good while syrah sales have generally been in decline.
But I liked his Rhones better, especially the 2004 Heart of Stone syrah. I thought this showed wonderfully well and was one of the better California syrahs that I tasted.
I took a video camera to make a video, but unfortunately both batteries crapped out unexpectedly. They are brand new and perhaps aren’t holding much of a charge yet (yes, I charged both). So my epic was cut short. I did get Beinstock discussing how he picks his wine grapes by feel rather than by brix.
Beinstock also had a barrel tasting of syrah and pinot noir. He said something that I’ve come to believe about barrel tasting: It’s hard to judge a wine from the barrel unless you have a history with the vineyard. The 2012 pinot noir didn’t much taste like pinot noir at this point but had an intense acidity. I’ll bet in 15 years it will be spectacular. The syrah showed better, but again it was hard to gauge it. It was worth it though to hear Beinstock discuss his wines.
2001 Clos Saron Pinot Noir Home Vineyard - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
Definitely more Vosne Romanee than Volnay. Still showing tannin. Quite masculine. Mostly darker red fruits. Balanced with a good finish. This easily has another 10 years to go. I think the fruit will last that long.
2003 Clos Saron Holy Moly - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
This is a GSM blend. It didn’t show much of the 2003 ripeness. It was nice. More dark fruits. Still holding well.
2004 Clos Saron Syrah “Heart of Stone” - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
I loved this. This was one of the best California syrahs that I have tasted. I liked it so much after my first pour I immediately asked for a retaste to confirm how much I liked it. This is kicking ass and taking names. Wonderfully balanced. A floral nose, mostly violets, I guess. Some meatiness on the nose. The meatiness was more pronounced on the palate. The fruits on the palates were more darker red. Tremendous finish. And it feels like it will make it to another 15 years standing up. The price was normally out of my comfort range, but I liked it so much I bit the bullet and bought one.
2007 Clos Saron Pinot Noir Home Vineyard - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
This was my favorite of the three pinot noirs at the Clos Saron tasting. It took quite a bit of swirling to open up. The fruit is brighter than the 2001. I got more floral notes on the nose than the other pinots I liked the minerality and earthiness most in this. I didn’t sense the acidity of the 2001 or 2010, but I get the sense it has plenty of acid to age. Of the three pinot noirs I tasted, I think this will be the best in 10 or 15 years.
2008 Clos Saron Syrah “Heart of Stone” - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
Winemaker Gideon Beinstock said he lost 85 percent of his syrah in this vintage to a frost so he bought fruit from another vineyard. The other vineyard’s fruit was supposedly smoke-tainted, but I couldn’t taste it. Tasted like textbook syrah. Elegant and light with dark plum flavors. Nice finish. It seems like it is still improving. I bought this.
2010 Clos Saron A Deeper Shade of Blue - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
I liked this. The nose was a blend of spice and red fruit. This had almost a pinot noir-like nose. It filled all of your nostrils. This is 64 percent cinsault and a third syrah and the structure from the syrah was evident compared to the 2012 Out of the Blue. Like pinot noir, it’s a lighter red wine. It’s a good match with a lot of foods. I bought this.
2010 Clos Saron Pinot Noir Home Vineyard - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
This is one so many others seem to like. Maybe my expectations were too high. It was a nice wine but it’s hard for me to judge because it is still so tight. This likely would have benefitted from opening the night before or decanting. Again, nicely balanced. This had probably the tartest red fruits of the three pinots. The nose didn’t yield much for me. I would like to revisit this in a few years.
2010 Clos Saron Syrah Stone Soup - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
This is syrah bottled from a nearby vineyard. Like the 2010 pinot noir, it was still tight. Maybe a hint of violets on the nose and darker fruits on the palate. Restrained. Seems to have the stuffing to age. Another one I’d like to revisit in a few years.
2012 Clos Saron Carte Blanche - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
This was quite nice. I bought this. it’s a blend of albarino, verdelho and chardonnay. No one grape stood out. Crisp and full-bodied. Nice fat midpalate and good finish. A slight waxiness. Lots of minerality. I get the feeling this really has the stuff to age, but I bought it to drink in the next few years.
2012 Clos Saron Out of the Blue - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
Nice nose but a bit too soft. It is 94 percent cinsault. The nose and palate seemed like dried red fruits. It seemed to cry out for structure. It might be a nice summer sipper. Maybe it’s still all baby fat, I don’t think this has the stuffing to age.
2012 Clos Saron Tickled Pink - USA, California, Sierra Foothills (5/11/2013)
Dry and mild red fruit flavors not not that interesting. Too many roses with more depth for less money.