Find a back issue

Chalk Talk: Sigel’s Benchmark Pinot Noir Tasting Showcases 45 Wines

It was a packed house at the Park Cities Club on Tuesday night for Sigel’s grand tasting of 45 Pinot Noir wines from around the world. I was there as an invited guest. France, California, Oregon and New Zealand were all represented as servers poured small samples and attendees dined on heavy hors d’oeuvres of herb-crusted beef tenderloin, smoked chicken quesadillas, New England style crab puffs, and artisan cheeses and fresh fruit.

I was struck first by the uniformly high quality of the wines. Almost all were ‘good’ or better. I was also impressed with the range of prices. There was something for every budget: The wines raged from  $13.99 to $90. Additionally, it was impressive to see how the different Pinot Noir growing regions are now distinguishing themselves. The French wines were leaner and more earthy. The California wines– Santa Rita Hills (Central Coast), Carneros (Napa/Sonoma), Napa and Russian River Valley (Sonoma)– were fruit forward. The Santa Lucia Highlands were fruity but very delicate. New Zealand seems to be making a Burgundy style and Oregon is one-step removed from Burgundy and leaning towards California.

All of these wines are available at Sigel’s and discounts from the tasting may still apply. At the risk of starting a food fight, here are my recommendations and ratings (prices are in the format discount/regular):

CATEGORY WINE NAME RATING (my score out of 100)
Best French 2009 Albert Morot, Beaune Teurons, France $46/$56 92
Best New Zealand 2009 Dog Point, Martinsborough, New Zealand $33/$37 93
Best Value 2008 Steele, Durrell Vineyard, Sonoma Co. CA $28/$35 92
2009 90+ Cellars, Santa Maria Valley, CA $14/$18 89
2009 Drew Valenti Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, CA $32/$40 92
2009 Talbott, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Logan, Central Coast, CA $31/$35 91+
Best Newcomer 2008 Bergstrom, Willamette Valley Oregon $69/$77 93
Worst Value 2010 Coup de Foudre, Sonoma Coast, CA  $90/$100 84

One comment on “Chalk Talk: Sigel’s Benchmark Pinot Noir Tasting Showcases 45 Wines

  1. It was a wonderful evening of Bacchanalia and Gluttony. And, I bought some terrific wines at a discount.