WineFest IV--Splinter Cell TNs--the Kutch McDougall Vertical

One of the things I was really excited to do with this huge tasting was to have the chance to taste every single McDougall Jamie has made–at least that’s in bottle—and chart his course as a winemaker with this vineyard. I was so glad I could share it with many friends.

I am sheepish somewhat as I did forget my own rule with this, which was I wanted to open everything at exactly the same time and taste more or less sequentially banging right through. I opened the 2013 and 2014 the night before by instinct because, of course, I wanted them to have some air to express, but I immediately remembered and recorked both bottles. However, full disclosure and all that.

Too much time spent greeting friends and talking [grin.gif] meant this took an hour instead of the 20 minutes I’d planned. Nevertheless, I didn’t let any of the other wines interfere as I went through.

Hoping this will be of assistance to all. For reference purposes, I opened a total of 109 bottles at this event–the mainline thread TNs are up.

2006 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

So, greeting and talking with so many friends lengthened what I’d planned as a 15-minute slam-through into about an hour, but I did taste all these in sequence and after what I’d estimate was about 2.5 hours’ air time. This oldest example shows cherry and raspberry nose with a definite cardamom secondary. It’s ripe and big, as you’d expect early on. Macerated cherry and what I’d describe as some sweet red pepper. A touch hot at the back.

2007 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

You are already seeing a more “complete” presentation—some cinnamon braces resolved strawberry and cherry. Tasty this is—very tasty—and in a good spot. A lighter style, but all of one piece. Raspberry, wild strawberry and tingle of citrus aftertaste.

2009 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Wow—what a nose! Bursting with fruit and baking spices, it won’t let go and keeps coruscating through a kaleidoscope of scents. No less dans la bouche, where red berry, cocoa, light backhit of citrus and a real controlled juiciness along with length all make for a very fine effort. In a grand place right now, and probably my current fave of this version of Kutch. #9

2010 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Also spiced cherry and strawberry and some of that citrus making it into the nostrils. Leaner than the others, grapefruit and raspberry mix for me. Still needs a bit of time, but quite promising.

2011 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Super-fragrant, pungent with sweet roasted herbs and strawberry, along with citrus and a light dash of mocha. Palate finds this dynamic, plenty of tension and snap with raspberry, pink grapefruit, boysenberry and lots of fine earth. This is really good too, and has come a ton of a way from my last taste—I am frankly surprised at how ready for business it is. #17

2012 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Citrus and cola/root beer here, with black cherry underneath, this is still fairly primary, with replays and some almost-anise. It is juicy. I think I have some saved and will be curious to see how it is after some days.

2013 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Another fragrant beastie, for sure. Citrus and expressive multi-berry fruit. Tangy, chewy and very vibrant on the tongue, this shows flashes of minerality and earthiness but never sacrificing any of that to the driving red fruit. I do think this may end up being the best of ‘em with a few more years to resolve.

2014 Kutch McDougall Pinot Noir

Nose is slammin! All sorts of fruit, some citrus, pomegranate, some spices, roots and earth. Just going and going. To taste, it is, of course, extremely primary, crunchy and with the fruit in the background to tons of structure and energy. You will need to be more patient with these than with any other of Jamie’s wines to date, I think. My own hesitant advice is leave 6 years.

So, 2.5 days later…

The 2007 is done, as one might expect

The 2009 has turned rather floral and rosey, but is also attenuated, lending credence to my thought that it is in prime drinking window right now.

The 2010, the bouquet is rather remarkable—with perfume, strawberry, earth and very slight coffee, I might think Vosne a little. However, the palate remains pretty strict, so leave this one for a while, fruit still coming into focus

The 2011 brings some cherry, strawberry and sarsaparilla edge notes now and is lovely to drink with the fruit being very expressive and complete dans la bouche.

The 2012 has some animale and sauvage about it, with cherry main, but also dabs of cola and citrus, especially on the palate. Plenty of energy still here.

The 2013, whimsical combo of citrus, espresso and pomegranate seed. And it is a gentle beauty to taste. And you know what? This is the one I checked…yes, lowest at 12.3%. Well, you can tell, because it mists away in a tender way at the end. Contemplative drinking here.

Lastly, the 2014. The growly-bear 2014. Don’t know if it’s the 100% whole cluster, but strong echoes of my initial notes are added to now by some hay and barnyard. And on the tongue…I don’t know how long Jamie would suggest leaving this, but 7 years of forever sounds about right to me :slight_smile: If anything, it’s almost more primary than it was on Saturday.

I doubt I’ll have the chance to do this with McDougall again. It was a treat and privilege to try them all like this and I also wish to thank Jamie for shipping me a 2014 in advance in order to complete the vertical. I do know that many people at WineFest were very appreciative of the chance to learn this way.


Thanks for posting these notes, Mike. I’ve gone through my older Kutch MacDougalls but still have plenty left from 2010 and on. Very helpful to read.