Winemaker/owner Adam Tolmach left Au Bon Climat to start his own label, Ojai. His Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir is from the highly revered “N Block”, which was planted in 1973 to Martini clone. The 2008 is stellar….classy, vinous & complete with great texture. Very impressive…..BUT not obvious.
Paul Lato is a former sommelier turned winemaker, who is currently one the “new age” winemaking prodigies out of California today. Working at a few wineries during crush, Lato eventually hooked up with Gary Burk at Costa de Oro & started making his own wines. This is his Solomon Hills vineyard bottling which he named “Suerte”. Without a doubt the Lato wines are the darlings of the wine media. His is a style which certainly has impact, yet is surprisingly suave & classy, despite their late pickings. Cheryle & I were amazed at how long their lines were at the past 2 World of Pinot Noir. Yes, the secret is out!
Bryan Babcock was very involved with the planting of the Mt Carmel vineyard back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. It is a steep rocky hillside, opposite the river from Sanford & Benedict in the Santa Rita Hills appellation. With every visit to this site, I am always re-amazed at how the wind just pounds it. With the 2005 vintage, Greg Brewer & Steve Clifton took over the farming & it became one of their exclusive vineyard sources for both Chardonnay & Pinot Noir. This 2008 maybe the best one I have had to date. (Unfortunately, they recently parted ways with the vineyard). It showed very well in this night’s tasting–snazzy, upbeat, wonderfully perfumed & superbly classy and the seemingly tell tale sign of lots of stem inclusion. It was the favorite for many of tonight’s tasters.
In our circle of wine friends, Domaine Roulot is noted for their ‘tour de force” Meursault white wines. I happened to be one of those people who also happen to love their pure, lovely, sexy Pinot Noirs too, especially in a vintage like 2008.