TN's: Chards and Pinots at Casa Murray-RM,Alesia,RC,Arcadian

Having a chance to preview the 2007 Alesia Pinots was a god excuse to get the group together for a night of Chardonnay and Pinot. The theme was simply to bring a bottle of either from where ever you prefer. We ended up with a nearly exclusively California line up and some terrific bottles as the group stepped up to the plate as usual. The Chardonnays present were impressive in that most all of them were in stylistically in contrast to the big fat buttery classic California Chard that has made many of us turn elsewhere for satisfaction.

Several excellent bottles make it hard to pick WOTN’s so I’ll just list the bottles that stood out the most for me. 97 Arcadian Bien Nacido Chard, 02 Littoria Theriot Chard, 07 RM Theriot Chard, 02 Radio-Coteau Marsh Pinot, 06 RM Summa Old Vines Pinot, 06 RM Occidental Ridge Pinot, 07 Alesia Falstaff Road Pinot.

Thanks to everyone for making it yet another great night of friends and wine.

A very good group of wines by and large displaying styles far from the usual fat buttery Chards so prevalent from the state. Disappointed about the Stony Hill but possibly not a great vintage for them. The Arcadian was excellent though and the Littoria and Rivers Marie probably need more time but both are terrific wines.

  • 1989 Stony Hill Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Over the hump but not quite dead. Nose had some nice qualities but the palate had a fair amount of oxidation in it. Might work with a meal but probably too far gone for most people.
  • 1997 Arcadian Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
    We didn’t even have this one at our big Arcadian tasting. Nose of spiced baked white fruits. More spiced baked fruits on the palate with a lean feel and plenty of minerals over a very acidic finish. What a great surprise and treat. Excellent.
  • 2001 Beringer Vineyards Chardonnay Sbragia Limited Release - USA, California, Napa Valley
    This was probably best within a couple years of release when the fruit was its freshest. Tired nose shows ripe apples and some heat. Fat and ripe yet complex but lacking acidity.
  • 2002 Littorai Chardonnay Thieriot Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Nose of sweet lemon pie. Thick but light on its feet with more sweet lemon notes and a touch of straw. Plenty of fruit but I’m guessing this need more time if anything. Very nice.
  • 2006 Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Very lemony nose with some straw notes. On the round side with a full feeling palate though clean with lots of lemon. I think the fatness of the fruit is overwhelming the acidity right now. Good but I would let this relax more.
  • 2006 School House Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Sweet nose with something like spiced pumpkin bread qualities. The spice cake bread also comes into a sweet fat palate. Not in my wheel house stylistically but a nice example of the style.

Pinot Noir
A mixed lot. Of these the Evesham Wood is clearly the best for me though bigger and more forward than I would have expected. Both 02’s displayed much too much ripeness. The Aston and Windy Oaks lacked concentration and interest for me.

  • 2002 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Flax Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Stewed nose that is mostly raisins. Big and ripe with some sweetness and a very weak finish. Pushed the limits here to no good end.
  • 2002 Flowers Pinot Noir Andreen-Gale Cuvée Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    The nose smelled a lot like a young vintage Port with plenty of ripeness and some heat. Ripe with a weak midpalate.
  • 2005 Aston Estate Pinot Noir Clone 777 - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    This shows what I’ve heard some winemakers say about clone 777 in that it is very fruity and forward but lacks structure and a weak finish. This had a big spicey nose with some notes of grape skins. Palate was kinda weak with a watery finish. Forward fruited but lacking interest.
  • 2006 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir En Dessous Seven Springs - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Rich yet tight nose. Seemed to show some stems but Jason thinks they use little to no stem inclusion. Lots of dark berries on a big grippy palate. Good acidity. On the bigger side for Oregon and notable for the amount of tannins.
  • 2006 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Very light in color. Earthy nose. Juicy yet lean feeling palate with sweet fruits. Eh.

Marsh Vineyard mini-vertical
Eric was kind enough to bring a small vertical from a vineyard that is under another name now. The RC’s were very different. I thought the 02 displayed nice structure and concentration while the 03 was more forward and ripe but there was disagreement on that point. There was little disagreement or enjoyment found in the Boheme.

  • 2002 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir Marsh - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Big expressive nose. Lean and light with a very nice palate feel though the finish is a bit rough. Lots of tannins. Plenty of fruit here and if anything I thought this needed more time. Packed.
  • 2003 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir Marsh - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Reticent nose. Juicy light and sweet with some heat. A sharp contrast to the 02 I found this to be a riper more forward wine lacking the concentration prevalent in the previous vintage.
  • 2005 Bohème Wines Pinot Noir Marsh Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Had a potting soil nose something like a Saumur. Sweet and extracted palate. Somewhat of a mess.

Rivers Marie
Unplanned we ended up with four RM’s which didn’t seem to bother anyone. :wink: The Chard and the two 06’s seemed to be liked by all. The Summa Old Vines for me will be the best of them in a few years but they were all excellent last night.

  • 2007 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay B. Thieriot Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Initially when popped the oak was very strong on the nose and the palate was very wrapped up. Revisiting the palate seemed to relax some though still on the tight and chunky side and the oak relaxed on the nose giving some straw notes. Balanced feel with good acids and great mineral quality. Nice concentration on the palate and the 100% new oak was barely detectable. Not your typical ripe oaky Cali Chard I’m guessing another year or two in the bottle will help this unwind a bit but very good now.
  • 2004 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Some Pinot funk on the nose. Lean feeling palate. Didn’t spend a lot of time on it but remember thinking it didn’t show the greenness that I got the last time I had this one.
  • 2006 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Expressive nose of black cherry and baking spice. Forward big cherry and dark berry fruits but not fleshy or extracted feeling. Terrific expressive big Pinot if a bit short. Drink these while the Summa’s age.
  • 2006 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Old Vines Summa - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Dark cherry nose with a bit of spice. Lots of fruit but seems wrapped up some. Very strong expressive finish. Outstanding wine and probably even better in a couple years or more. Candidate for WOTN.

2007 Alesia Preview
Just bottled a couple months ago we were lucky enough to be able to preview the non-estate Pinots from Rhys. 2007 is looking to be a great vintage for Pinot in California and these wines show why. Plenty of concentrated fruit without sweetness and fatness. I think the consensus was that these were strong wines across the lineup with the Falstaff being the clear winner. Save your nickels and pennies.

  • 2007 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Decanted about 2 hours prior to consumption. Rich nose showing notes of soil. Lots of fruit here and almost big but not showing sweetness. Expressive with a strong grip. Of the three 07 Alesia’s this was the most ‘ready’ to me and the most forward though it will also live for a while in bottle.
  • 2007 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Green Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Green Valley
    Decanted 2 hours prior to consumption. Nose is a bit tight showing a wood note. Wrapped up and concentrated but light in feel. Good acids with some mineral character. Ripest and sweetest of the three 07 Alesia’s on the night but far from a cocktail Pinot.
  • 2007 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Falstaff Road Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Decanted about 2 hours prior to consumption.Rich nose with plenty of minerals. Thick with plenty of packed fruit and very tannic for Pinot but balanced with acids. Chunky now but all the pieces are there for a terrific wine that should be long lived. This will be better than the 05 which is saying something.

Wouldn’t be a night at Chez Murray without raiding the 'Scraper. Also opened was an 01 Paoletti Cuvee Speciale Cab that I couldn’t find in CT that showed some good balanced and a more classic style. And also an 02 Rodney Strong Reserve Cab and three other 06 Alcina’s. I’ll let those that want to comment on those make up for my lack of notes.

  • 2004 Corté Riva Petite Sirah - USA, California, North Coast
    I think this was opened the night before. Huge nose that shows this wines ripe style. Broad, thick and tannic though not too soft or overly oaked. Probably has some potential but needs to go away for 5-10 years. Or serve with a huge piece of fatty game off the grill.
  • 2006 Alcina Cellars Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Flat nose. Narrow and even but inexpressive. Maybe needed some air as it was popped 'n poured
  • 2001 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Mocha with some heat on the nose though clearly a Cab by aromas. Thick but balanced with strong tannins and lots of chocolate. Modern big styled Cab that is not in my wheel house but was good for the style. Probably has a ways to go.

Posted from CellarTracker

I knew I shouldn’t have brought that Burg to the Pisoni tasting, now i’m never going to be invited again. =P
I really need to try a RM pinot at some point in my life, I just sold my allocation at cost to a friend from the last mailer (only pinot mailer I’ve gotten from them). Maybe i’ll rob Ryan curry’s Magnum of Summa RM pinot.

Thought about sending you an email yesterday morning but figured you’d be busy. Are you usually doing a vertical of Screagle on Saturday nights?

Thanks for the thought, I am in San Diego. Just teasing [gheyfight.gif] Steve mentioned something to me earlier in the week about it but I didn’t follow up.
BTW Verticals of SE are for the weekdays.
Speaking of wine groups, I ran into Stan Kim at dinner last night.

Besides, it was guys-only last night.

good looking out. But who let the Cris in with the long flowing hair?

Well, his overall slovenly appearance and proclivity to spill on his shirt keeps him firmly in the man category.

Remember that water spot ridden glass I brought to your place, what about that.

That on its own won’t cut it.