question: serious domestic pinot drinkers who are also burgundy lovers

with all this grand cru hierachy in burgundy I would like to know what are your grand cru domestic vineyards?

for ex. what is your richebourg, your gevrey chambertain, your chambolle musigny, your Romanee, your grands echezeaux? etc etc…if there can actually be a comparison…Thanks

Sea Smoke Southing, of course!

You can not make a comparison. Those vineyards don’t really have analogs in burgundy let alone in another country with totally different soils and climate.

To be honest, I haven’t followed domestic Pinots, though I do have a whole bunch from the '90s that I cellared more or less as aging experiments. And I have been very happy with the results so far (see my recent post on a '96 Archery Summit, for instance, and an earlier one on a '99 Beaux Freres). But I have seen them (so far) as being rather different from Burgs. Richer, riper, smoother perhaps. But with less precision and elegance, for lack of a better word. Both have their strengths, but so far they have seemed different to me.

Yes, and yes.

Whilst I have had some very good domestic Pinot’s before, I have never had anything really approaching the top GC quality of Burgundy, not really even close IMHO, although others will no doubt disagree…

Nor do the wines exhibit “terroir” in the same sort of way that burgundy’s do, they generally seems to be much more marked by the maker than burgundy does.

Some generalizations here though of course.

what Paul said

Some domestic PNs have power, but not the complexity or definition of place I want from GC Burg.

If you are just looking for consistently impressive domestic vineyards without getting caught up in a direct comparison to GC Burg vineyards, I would have to list Rochioli, Allen, and Hirsch as having never failed me. I might also mention Hallberg as a 1er.

Wow…another Burg vs Pinot thread… [popcorn.gif]

Mount Eden and Calera have quite a track record.

The problem here is that I can say “Santa Cruz” but that’s such a huge category with (as I have learned from Rhys) vastly different soils, etc. They aren’t categorized the same way they are in Burgundy so it’s hard to do the comparison.

But if you consider it a bit like Clos Vougeot as a huge variable grand cru then I suppose it works. And I’d add Kiser En Haut and by extension (hopefully, eventually) Bearwallow.

Agree its impossible to compare. It’s not like Rhys puts out a Bearwallow (GC), Deep End Anderson Valley (1er), Anderson Valley (Villages), and a California (bourgogne) every year that can be compared in an analogous way amongst producers. While there are certainly several producers using the same fruit in some top quality vineyards like Gary’, Rosella’s, and Pisoni for instance, I feel that this is more the exception than the rule. With most people using estate fruit, bordeaux might be a better analogy.

I love some domestic Pinot Noirs, but there really is no comparison. I don’t believe any site in this country expresses itself so clearly as a lot of Burgundy vineyards do, and no domestic PN I’ve had can approach the best Burgs in terms of complexity.

This is John Paul from Cameron on the subject:

“Maybe I’ve made some things would be on the level of some of the Premier Cru wines. But that’s it at this point.”

I think that about captures it.

I assume he is speaking for Cameron (never tasted it) and not the entire domestic industry?

For those saying that pinot in California can not show terroir, I very much disagree. Even a producer like suduri which can push the ripeness envelope, terroir distinctiveness is very much on display when you try a lot of their wines at once during their open house.

This, ultimately, is just the “what are the best domestic Pinot Noir vineyards?” thread that has been done before in which almost every vineyard gets listed at some point.

Interesting comment Berry, and one I would certainly like to explore more given the chance.

Perhaps though I was talking more about the individual vineyard expression, and I think you are talking more about the individual makers expression of terrior in their vineyards.

What I mean is picking a wine out of a lineup as say Richebourg, and one as Chambertin.

From what I have seen (and I could be very wrong, my sample size of US pinots not all that great, so I appologize for the generalisations), there is so much variation from producer to producer from the same areas, I couldn’t discern any particular site “terroir” chareteristics like I can with Burgundy.

Not a criticism, just an observation.

Paul, is it possible that much of the difference is in your relative experience with a particular vineyard? In the few horizontal comparative tastings I’ve done of California vineyards, particularly when there have been a few different vineyards present so I could try two or three different producers’ wines from the same two or three different sites, it is easier to distinguish between the producer’s style and the terroir of the site. It is harder to get a good grip on terroir in California because there aren’t many examples of vineyards where one can have 10 or 20 years of experience with Pinot Noir from the same vineyard from a number of different producers. There are a lot more opportunities to get that kind of experience in Burgundy.

I’m not directing this next comment at you, but I also find that the distinctiveness of Burgundy terroir tends to be pretty overstated at times. The exaggeration is often most pronounced with young wines, where it the producer is usually much easier to identify than the vineyard, especially with producers with distinctive styles like Dujac, Leroy, Roumier, Vogue, and DRC. I’m a terroirist, but I find that terroir whispers far more often than it shouts, while producer style tends to do the opposite.

I’m inclined to agree. In Burgundy certainly (as certainly as anything can be said), producer is showy and manifest in young wines and more mature wines freshly opened. Age and aeration show terroir in differing volumes.

I think the differences are more extreme in CA, because we have fewer historical reference points, and in part due to a wider range of styles…

I think it’s a bit silly to argue that terroir doesn’t show in CA - of course it is there. I think this is easier to see if you think not about particular vineyards but areas. I don’t think it’s an accident that many of my favorite pinots come from areas like Anderson Valley or the true Sonoma Coast as opposed to say, RRV, where I like very few. There is producer influence of course, but terroir shows too, and I think this also will be more apparent when some of the newer producers’ wines are tasted with more age on them.