Vintage Experiences Tasting Notes, December 2011

Exceptional

2009 Nalle Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Hopkins Ranch ($36): Dramatic aroma of earth, smoke, and tea with cherry, spice, and a bit of underbrush. Burgundian and a wine that clearly will improve for a few years. The winery still has only a few bottles left, so order now if you want any. Great value; wines of this caliber usually sell for $50 or more.

2009 Henderlong Zinfandel,Dry Creek Valley ($42): Andrew Nalle’s middle name graces this wine and it’s a stunner, with violets, spices and raspberry notes. The finish is classic old-style Zin with a low pH of 3.48 and modest alcohol (13.9%). Only 139 cases produced.

2009 Nalle Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley ($36): Superb aroma of blackberry, raspberry and spice with the perfect structure for food and aging: 13.6% alcohol and 3.5 pH! From 84-year-old vines, with a dollop of Petite Sirah for heft. A great wine.

2009 Nalle Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Hopkins Ranch, Reserve ($42): Terrific complex citrus and sur lee depth that will age nicely for a few years. Only 13.2% alcohol, and made to go with more delicate seafood dishes.