Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard Santa Rita Hills, Ca. 2011

Loring red: check! Cranberry, tart black cherry, tobo, cinnamon: check x 5! The nose and palate appear to be married and on a second honeymoon. The intensity of the cherry is as if cherries are pureed in a blender. The round tannins wrap the acidity. The trinity of fruit, tannins and acid balance deftly. A fair amount of sediment already precipitates out. 14.7% alc. With grilled tuna. Excellent pairing; we enjoyed this quite a lot. 08.23.18. Recommended.

Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Santa Barbara Co. 2009

Greeting me as the twist-off cap clears the mouth of the bottle is a thick dial of sediment and tartrates. It lifts out in one piece; a curiosity for moment or two. No Loring red here; the color is rich maroon on a wide rim and core of deep purple. (Cue Smoke on the Water.) Teaberry is the first scent to captivate the nose. Vanilla, cinnamon and black cherry follow with an intensity that cannot be ignored. If you aren’t awake before a sip of this wine, you will be as soon as the lip of the glass rests on your lip. The richness of black cherry and cola perk up the senses. Surprisingly, despite the “dial” of sediment on the mouth, almost no sediment with the last pour. 14.8% alc. With salmon under an olive tapenade. 08.31.18. Recommended.

Loring Wine Company Keefer Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir Green Valley of the Russian River Valley 2009

Pomegranate from core to rim; the wine shows not a hint of age with its solid, deep hued block of color. The nose is interesting with sweet dark fruits of black cherry, cherry pits, cola and vanilla. Any joy ends here. On the palate this is a sweet mess of cherry, vanilla and cola with an off-putting and out of balance acidic shrillness 14.9% alc. The entire bottle is thinly coated with a cloud of sediment. Yet another Loring with a “dial” of sediment sealing the mouth of the bottle that had to be cut and lifted out. With roasted salmon under a mustard-panko crust. 09.27.18. Not Recommended.

Ankida Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir Va. 2012

Grown at 1,800 feet in the Virginia Piedmont on a plot described as a “unique site” (aren’t they all? Isn’t that the nature of real estate?) this has been billed as the best Pinot Noir of Virginia - the best site for its production, the most meticulous vineyard and the best pinot noir wine ever produced in Virginia. Maybe so. But if you like your Pinot Noir with cherry, cola, vanilla and pine resin this is the Pinot for you. The cherry and cola build (thankfully) once the bottle opens and takes on some air. But as the wine opens, the vanilla and pine resin warm and dominate the wine. Dave McIntyre’s gushing about this wine is incorrect - in fact wrong (and I don’t make that statement lightly). This is not a good Pinot Noir. If this is the best that Virginia can do with the grape, then please don’t do it again. As I told one of Virginia’s best wine producers when he took a stab at Pinot Noir, “Bottle this as a Rosé of Pinot and it will sell, but as a red wine, it fails.” Is this better than most - perhaps all - other Virginia Pinot Noirs? Yes, but that is not saying much. At $42/btl, this is a complete waste of money. At $15/btl, this is still too much for what is in the bottle. 220 cases made. No sediment. 12.9% alc. With duck cassoulet. 09.13.18. Not Recommended.

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