Posts Tagged ‘Pinot Noir’

Pellegrini Family Vineyards – 193

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

It was not easy getting a photograph of Robert Pellegrini at the Word-Up tasting. He had been receiving accolades and congratulations from all sorts of people, but there was just enough time for me to grab this quick picture with his prized offering, the 2006 Milestone. I did not have an opportunity to speak with any Pellegrini representatives, so the only information I have is what I can read on their website.

But I can tell you about the wines for which I made tasting notes…

2007 Pinot – Classic cherry. And, I’m afraid to say, rather flat an uninspired. A rather insipid entry and biting finish.

2007 Zinfandel – Dark and chewy, a bit more structured than the Pinot with chocolate and deep blackberry fruit.

2006 Cloverdale Cabernet Sauvignon – Still very young and tannic upon entry

2006 Milestone – It was this wine that showed me why Robert Pellegrini was getting all the attention at this tasting. 55% Merlot, 1/3 Cabernet Sauvignon, and small amounts of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. This was a well-blended, smooth offering showing defined plum and black fruit components. I detected a noticeable herbaceousness in the core, with a long, luscious finish hinting at cinnamon.

Pellegrini Family Vineyards ~ 4055 West Olivet Road ~ Santa Rosa ~ 95401 ~ 800.891.0244

J Vineyards & Winery – 166

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

J_signFrequent readers will recall how impressed I was with Mayo and their sumptuous food pairing. Working hard at experimenting and learning about good food and wine pairings, I am becoming more and more impressed with those wineries that go the extra step to showcase their wines with a savory morsel or two. And I’m not talking just a glorified cheese plate. Cheese plates are good and all that, but can actually detract from a wine by virtue of the fact that cheese coats your tongue and can conflict with a wine’s taste. And I’m a huge cheese proponent.

J_bldgBut arriving at J, which shares a large entrance way with Rodney Strong, I had no idea that food was what lay in store for me. I was simply impressed with the entrance; a bridge over a small creek leading to the front door. The building itself is partially overgrown with vines and while the landscaping seems wild and unkempt, actually alludes to a state of elegance and artistry that await within.

J_wall_artThere are a number of levels of tastings available at J and all of them involve food pairings. Not having an appointment for a sit-down tasting, the main retail room and bar is the beginning of what is a truly exciting experience. Of course the artist in me could not help but excited by the massive wall which stands behind the bar. Produced by Gordon Heuther, the giant wall is a seemingly constructed slab of brushed copper. Irregular and jagged holes exist through which protrude sharp, icy slabs of clear glass. Trying to concentrate on my wine, I was drawn to the wall and realized later that it was Heuther’s work at Artesa Winery that had first drawn me to his work.

J_sparkling_cevicheWhile gazing at the wall, a nice young man behind the counter started the tasting service. This was where the pairings came into play and surprised and enticed. Starting with their signature sparkling wine, the 1999 J Vintage Brut ($30.00) was served with small, crispy cups filled with shrimp ceviche. The wine is a cuvée of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes. The wine had hints of white stonefruit on the nose. White pear presents itself more in the mouth with a rich, creamy mouthfeel that sweetens when paired with the slightly spicy ceviche. A brilliant pairing.

J_reserve_room_1While a more substantial pairing is available in a sit-down setting in the adjacent, Bubble Room, I continued with our progress. The second food and wine combination was a miniature cherry tomato, its top third sliced off to accommodate a dollop of rich, creamy hummus made with McEvoy Ranch olive oil paired with a 2004 J. Viognier, Alexander Valley ($30.00). Yet another inspiration. I somewhat suspected that the Viognier would be too sweet for the acidity of the tomato.  The Viognier is slightly viscous with a light peachy color, providing sweet, crisp aromas of orange blossoms, peach, and white flowers. The mouth entry was initially exotic with a touch of sweetness. What surprised me was how the hummus killed the sweetness and expanded the wine’s richer flavors. Alternately, the wine tamed the smokiness in the hummus.

J_view_to_production_1The next step in our tasting involved walking upstairs to a small, dark alcove that overlooks the production area. The third in our tasting series was a 2003 J Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley ($28.00) paired with small ovals of creamy polenta topped with sautéed crimini mushrooms which were cooked in a Pinot Noir reduction. The polenta had been prepared with a bit of jack cheese and the earthiness of the mushrooms was the perfect complement to the Pinot. The wine itself was a classic offering showing dark cherry and a hint of floral. The fruit flavors seemed more concentrated with the initial mouth entry and the earthiness expanded with the mushroom flavors from the polenta.

J_zin_tastingThe last of our four-part tasting was a soon-to-be-discontinued 2003 J Zinfandel, Russian River Valley ($35.00). It seems this was the third production of a Zinfandel and each time, the fruit had to be sourced from different growers and that a consistent supplier never materialized. The Zinfandel was served with small crostini of Fromage Fort, a very creamy, strong-tasting cheese that had been piped onto the toasts, topped with thin slivers of Coppa salami. The wine is delightfully spicy with white pepper and cinnamon with a medium bodied core of dark red fruit. The finish showed a hint of smokiness and all the rich flavors, well integrated and balanced, paired perfectly with the strong, spicy bite of the cheese; the saltiness of the salami counter-balancing the pepper in the wine.

Truly a grand adventure to be had for a mere $12.00. The Bubble Room tastings are slightly more expensive; $35.00 for the sparkling vertical or $25.00 for the Pinot Noir vertical. Must go back often, as the menu changes seasonally, to try the others.

J Vineyards & Winery ~ 11447 Old Redwood Highway ~ Healdsburg ~ CA ~ 95448 ~ 707-431-3646