Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Barbara Co., Ca. 2011

“Loring Red” is the color. Pomegranate, cola and chalk lift the nose. Sweet fruit of black cherry and pomegranate lead the parade of exuberance with cola following and sweet fruit on the finish bathed in violets. Unlike a bottle 4 months ago, this is silky smooth with a depth and sultriness that I’ve not seen in this wine before. It seems to be in a particular sweet spot just now. 14.9% alc. No sediment. With grilled London broil one night (as a second wine b/c the first went down so well) and grilled beef burgers (leftovers). 05.01 & 06.18. Recommended.

Keefer Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir Green Valley of the Russian River Valley 2011

For a wine from a “weak” vintage (is that possible in California?), this stuff is delicious. In other words, it’s kick’n, it rocks and an easy pour down the gullet. Pomegranate at the core and at the rim. Pomegranate, cranberry and black cherry carry the wine from nose to finish. Some cola with some vanilla on the finish. Nothing over the top. Just a good solid wine. And is that .... graham cracker? 14.9% alc. With grilled (beef) burgers. So good we pulled two bottles. 06.10.18. Recommended.

Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2007

Maybe not “Loring Red” but it is clear, clean and young in the glass. Definite cola, Dr. Pepper, cherry, and cloves on the nose with distinct, clean expressions. This is a very easy wine to drink. Not at all big in the usual Loring style but very New World. Integrated tannins with smooth edges that work with and help carry the acidity and fruit as they do with the tannins. 14.1% alc. With salmon and white bean ragout. 04.05.18. 425 cases. Recommended.

Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2008

“Loring Red” is almost a given. The nose is full of cherry compote, cola, licorice, and smoke. This is not a big wine in the usual Loring sense, but it holds up well to the touch of heat in the seasoning of the seared tuna. The sweet fruit cuts the heat and stands up to in the best of partnerships. A very balanced wine that pairs incredibly well with the meal. The mouthfeel is full without being “big” or overly broad. The palate tracks the nose with precision. Definite cola or perhaps Dr. Pepper on the finish. With this being a 10 year old Loring, I was expecting it to be on the down side. It definitely was not. While I don’t see any material improvement from holding the wine, I suspect it will hold, but why wait. 15.2% alc. And not a touch of heat in any way. With tuna nicoise. 04.12.18. Recommended.

Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2011

Dark purple and definitely not “Loring Red” may have been the 2nd biggest surprise from this wine. With cola and black cherry on entry, vanilla overwhelms the fruit then riffs into something of an herbal finish. The sweet fruit on the attack relegates this wine to the “cocktail” category. The biggest surprise was how linear the wine is. To be from the Durell Vineyard, one would expect more from the fruit. There’s just little to love of this wine right now. A heavy shadow of sediment coats the resting side of this bottle. 14.8% alc. With grilled London broil (beef) 05.01.18. Recommended with Reservations.

Cargasacchi Vineyard Santa Rita Hills, Ca. 2008

This is one of the best showings of Cargasacchi Pinot I’ve every had. Loring red - that’s a good thing. Loads of teaberry, cloves, cola, cherry and Dr. Pepper. As I’ve said before, “The palate extracts each and every element of those flavors with distinctness and precision. Big, black cherry joins in. The tannins are fully resolved, but the acidity is sharp. As the wine opens, something herbal (celery?) joins in. There is nothing shy about this wine. It’s wide open from the twist of the top to the final drop.” Particles of sediment along with a cloud coating sediment skin on the bottle. 14.8% alc. With (beef) London broil. Excellent pairing; we enjoyed this quite a lot. 05.24.18. Recommended.

Clos Pepe Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Ca 2008

No mistaking the “Loring Red” in the glass. Abundant cherry, cranberry, cola, cinnamon and cloves from attack to finish. Fully integrated tannins. Balanced and very much in a good spot just now. Is this the same wine I drank 9 months ago and proclaimed too acidic and “Recommended with Reservations”? It hardly seems so. This was a delight to drink. In fact, it was one of the better Clos Pepes I’ve had. 15.2% alc. With salmon under a mustard sauce and black olive tapnade. 05.10.18. Recommended, but drink now.

Clos Pepe Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Ca. 2007 & 2008

We decided to have a pair off between this and the 2007 Clos Pepe. The results were interesting. The women preferred the ‘08. I preferred the ‘07. The ‘07 is brighter, longer, bigger. The ‘08 was softer, rounder, more fruit forward. But the ‘08 lacked the depth and completeness of the ‘07. Both have loads of “Loring Red”. Both have cherry and cola and cinnamon. The ‘08 leads with cranberry and cloves while the ‘07 tucks in with allspice. Both have fully integrated tannins, but the ‘07 is more balanced, more complete, bigger, longer finish and more polished. And yes, the ‘08 is a touch too acidic. 15.2% alc. With pasta and mushrooms. 05.31.18. Recommended, but drink now.

Brosseau Vineyard Chalone, Ca., 2008

The first comment after lifting the glass to the nose was, “Blueberry!” (And not in a complimentary tone.) Sweet black cherry, cloves and vanilla follow. Some cola jumps in the pool of flavors .... or is this a stream of flavors, for unlike a pool, there is no depth, and like a stream, the flavors roll past point A to point B and then they’re gone. Blueberry is not what I like in my Pinot. Some serious sediment. 14% alc. With salmon under a mustard sauce and black olive tapnade. (After opening and draining the ‘08 Clos Pepe, we drank a glass each of this and set aside for when we returned from in a couple of days. Not bad on day 4 with pizza.) 05.10.18. Recommended with Reservations.

"I've wrestled with reality for 35 years and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." Elwood P. Dowd