Filed under: Events, Tasting notes | Tags: Alan Baker, Amber Ridge, Anderson Valley, Crushpad, Hein Vineyard, La Encantada, Milla Handley, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Sta. Rita Hills, Stuart Ake, Wood-fired pizza
We’ve just returned from the Crushpad Mashup 2009. The Mashup, held at the winery, brings together CP winemakers from near and far to try barrel samples of their 2008 vintages. Wines are arranged around the room by varietal and then at each table by vineyard. So you can try your own wine from a particular vineyard next to another winery’s from the same vineyard.
Our 2008 wine has been in the barrel since September/October, and we have not sampled them yet. Between the holidays and malolactic fermentation, you’re better off waiting until 3-4 months into aging to get a good read on how the wine is coming along.
We tried our Amber Ridge Pinot Noir, from Russian River in Sonoma, first. The color is a deep, ruby red and the aroma was a very faint cherry. With a good bit of swirling and sucking the wine in, I got some nice red fruit on the mid-palate and plum and some of that classic Pinot earthiness on the finish. I remember when we were making our 2005 Amber Ridge that it came off very light early on in the barrel, but really developed and once in the bottle for a few months, was spectacular.
Next was the 2008 Hein Vineyard Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley in Mendocino. Hein Vineyard is in Philo, just a mile past Milla Handley’s vineyard and winery. If you remember from our post in the fall on the Hein crush, the juice was 100% free run – no pressing of the skins. We did this because some of the vineyards in Anderson Valley were affected by smoke from the fires in Mendocino County. To ensure that we didn’t get too much of the smoke residue that may be on the skins, we didn’t press the skins. And the Hein is now coming along quite well. It has a medium garnet color and a nice nose of cherry and earth. The wine shows a good backbone – a decent amount of acid and tannins. I think this one may need a little more barrel time, but we’ll check in on it in a couple of months to see. All the components are there, though, so it will be cool to see how it develops.
And last was our second effort of La Encantada Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills. The clusters and the berries on this fruit were small and near perfect when they arrived in early October and the color and concentration of the wine reflects this intensity. The color is a dark garnet and there is already a lot of juicy fruit showing on this wine. We also noticed some nice spice and earth and decent tannins to hold it all together.
To soak it all up, our good friends at Crushpad brought in a wood-fired pizza oven on wheels. The pizza was AMAZING. Pepperoni, Margherita and a white pizza with spinach, onions and creme freche, all with that lovely charred, chewy crust.
It was a great event and each of the wines was showing its own personality and promise. We’re already excited about this vintage and we’ll keep you posted on its progress. If you can’t wait until the fall, try our 2007s. We shared them with some friends last weekend over a lovely dinner of roast pork, root vegetables and apples — a perfect match for Pinot Noir. The Wentzel from Anderson Valley has really developed in the bottle and has that classic combination of fruit and forest floor on the nose that I love. The La Encantada, due to be released next month, has beautiful, rich Pinot Noir fruit and wonderful aromas that develop within an hour or two after opening. Delectable!
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