I don’t drink a lot of pinot–not that I don’t like it, I just usually go to other varieties first.
So, I picked up a 2006 W.H. Smith Sonoma Coast Pinot for $22 to try. I really enjoyed the wine-- good fruit, nicely balanced, silky texture, nothing too deep or complex, but a great drink for a nice price.
My question is about the W.H. Smith single vineyard pinots. What are they like? Are they worth the extra dough?
Dave - glad to hear you picked up a good drinking bottle! Nothing wrong with Cali Pinot.
As for WH Smith wines in general, my experience has been pretty mixed. I’ve mainly purchased a few 06’s and 07’s, all of which have been decent to good. That said, none of these wines have really jumped out to me and been at ‘the next level’. I think the best bang for your buck on the WH Smith’s is to pick up more of the Sonoma Coasts in the price range you did. Both the Maritime and Marimar bottlings go for $40+ if you can find them and I really didn’t feel the SVD offered much additional value. As a disclaimer, I’ve never had the Hellenthal.
I have a couple friends who love the stuff. I only had it once, in March. The Maritime vineyard and I liked it!
2005 W H Smith Pinot Noir Maritime Vineyard - Heard a lot about this producer, first time. Cranberry, cinnamon, cherry, bright fruit flavors and a slight citric note. long cherry finish with some good power behind it. Very good. Must taste more wines from W H Smith
I used to buy tons of WH Smith but haven’t for a while. The single vineyard stuff is really quite nice, albeit pricey. The reason I stopped buying was that I found too much bottle variation in the basic ‘Sonoma Coast’ wine and that got to be a little frustrating.
I still pick up a bottle now and again when I see them at a good price. ($22 is nice)
I had the 07 Hellenthal right after release and thought it was stellar. tried another 2 months later and definitely lacked the fruit and silkiness of the 1st. Suspect it had closed down a bit as opposed to bottle variation, but based on this i would say definitely give the SV’s some time if you don’t sample right away.
I have been a buyer since 2004. IMO the quality of the SVDs has dropped off each year - 2004>2005>2006. Only tasted 2007 at a WS grand tour tasting last fall and it was closed and not impressive (judgment reserved).
The Maritime is the best SVD. Hellenthal was not made for several years.
On the other hand, the sonoma coast bottlings are the BEST QPRs for pinot year end, year out.
They also make a cabernet (Piedra Hill) that is quite good particularly the purple label.