2009 Pinot Noir is Wine of the Year Finalist - by thewinecountry.com, December 2011

2009 Nalle Pinot Noir

Russian River Valley, California

“This is what domestic Pinot Noir is moving toward more and more,” observed our domestic wine buyer Bennett Traub. “I think this is classic Russian River Pinot, old school, really great.” While it is unmistakably Californian with riper fruit than its Old World antecedent, this wine has the soul of Burgundy, yet more approachable at this early age. Veteran Sonoma County winemaker Doug Nalle has to be saluted for producing one of the most accomplished Pinot Noirs ever from these Russian River grapes. Known more for his classic-styled Dry Creek Zinfandels, Nalle surprised us this year with this firm, grown-up, balanced Pinot Noir chock full of the characteristics that make Pinot a classic: deep aromas of black cherry that are so enticing you never want to let go. Silky smooth texture, which Ronnie Grant deemed “supple,” with delicious flavors of Bing cherry and wild strawberry, it is still amazingly fresh tasting, due in part to its 13.4% alcohol. “It has power without weight,” quoted Bennett. We’ve been in love with this wine for much of this past year and can tell you it passes the food test with flying colors, whether accompanied by roast chicken or roast beef. It is a wonderful accomplishment for Nalle.