TN: Rochioli East Block and friends

Last night a friend celebrated her half birthday by organizing a Rochioli tasting, which featured a mini-vertical of the East Block Pinots and a few fun bonus bottles. The wines were all tasted non-blind, and most were not decanted in advance:

  1. 2000 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Very dark red color. Strong tart cherry and cranberry throughout, with some tobacco/herbs in the midpalate. Very dense, with lots of chewy tannins. When I came back to it after a few hours, it started to emerge from its dense shell, but it’s still very, very young. Needs 4-6+ years.

  2. 2001 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Like the 2000, but lighter-bodied, with more underbrush in the taste. Better fruit/acid/tannin balance, and more approachable now. Needs 3-5 years.

  3. 2002 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Still dark red color. Compared to the 2000/01, there is more dark chocolate and riper cherry notes. The midpalate acidity is a bit more lively, and has the best overall balance right now. First “wow” wine, but could still cellar for at least 5-7 years.

  4. 2003 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Compared to the 02, much for linear and straightforward. Back to cherry and cranberry, with a bit of earth, but overall not very complex or interesting. Perhaps better in 3-4 years.

  5. 2004 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Here we go—the most spicy/perfumy nose and flavors of all of the East Blocks. Tremendous fruit/acid balance in the midpalate, and a lengthy finish with medium tannins. A wow plus, and probably will continue to improve over the next 5-7 years.

  6. 2005 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Dark cherry and dark chocolate throughout. Not as complex or flashy as the 04, it’s still showing very young. Still, it’s a near wow right now with potential for more. Cellar for at least 4-6 years.

  7. 2006 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir. Very, very, very young. Did I mention how young it is? Dense, chewy, and not showing much today. Bury in the back of the cellar and re-visit in 5-7 years.

  8. 2004 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir. A fun contrast to the 04 East Block. Even more perfumy than the 04 EB, with a lighter midpalate and overall more approachable now. Between a wow and a wow plus. Should continue to improve for at least the next 3-4 years.

  9. 2005 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir. Similar in style to the 04 West Block, but much more herbs and underbrush, but still with lots of dark cherry/dark chocolate notes. Then some leather/licorice emerges with time in the glass. A wow plus for now, and perhaps my favorite Rochioli Pinot Noir for right now. Probably will cellar for another 4-6 years. Overall, the West Blocks seem more approachable than their East Block counterparts, with a lighter, more elegant midpalate.

  10. 2001 Kistler Cuvee Cathleen Chardonnay. In addition to all the Pinots, there were several Chardonnays open. I decided to compare two. First up was the Kistler. It’s definitely a tropical, slutty style of Chardonnay, with still noticeable oakiness. A full-bodied Chardonnay, but good complexity. A wow wine for those who like the style.

  11. 2001 Rochioli South River Chardonnay. A fun contrast to the Kistler. Much more of a citrus-style of Chardonnay, with bits of lemon/lime and a squirt of grapefruit. More precise and minerally than the Kistler, with much less obvious oak. Excellent acidity and definition. The Kistler is a better cocktail wine, and the Rochioli is a better food wine. Another wow wine and my favorite of the two.

  12. 2006 Domaine Stephan Cote Rotie Coteaux de Tupin. This is a wine imported by my friend Jeff Welburn. The Coteaux de Tupin is 100% Serine. Tons of pepper, raspberry, leather, and bacon fat. A very floral, expressive nose—just tremendous, and another wow plus. Could age easily for 5-8+ years.

  13. 2001 Henri Bonneau CdP Reserve des Celestins. Like a reduction sauce of Grenache—strawberry/raspberry, with lots of roasted nuts. After some time in the glass, some herbal/garrigue notes emerge as well. It’s a wonderful wine, but was eclipsed by the Stephan which was a much heavier-weight wine. Still, a wow to wow plus, at should improve for at least 4-5+ years.


Nice “bonus” bottles there Bruce.

Want to try me some of that Celestins.

A very happy un-birthday to her, to her . . .
Best, Jim

Wow… terrific line-up of wines… and tasty notes… my god, if your friend does this for a 1/2 birthday (and I’m assuming she/he’s not really JUST 6 months old!!), what are full birthdays like???