Pinot Noir has notoriety for many reasons. Not the least of these is that it’s one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, grapes to grow. Part of that is due to the fact that it’s not always planted in the right spot. For years California suffered from Pinot planted in locations that were not suited to it. Of course that still goes on, to a degree, but I think the knowledge base on where to plant and grow excellent Pinot Noir has increased significantly in the last 20 years or so. One less discussed area of California that has been turning out some good Pinot Noir is Mendocino. Today I’ll look at an example from Paul Dolan Vineyards. The Paul Dolan Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir was made using all Mendocino County Fruit. It was sourced in the southwestern outskirts of Mendocino National Forest. All the grapes in this selection were organically farmed. Barrel aging was accomplished over 18 months in a combination of new (14%), one year old (24%), and neutral (62%) French oak. 4,730 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $30.
Wild strawberry aromas are supported by hints of crème fraiche and mushroom in the nose of this 2007 Pinot Noir. Throughout the palate black cherry flavors play a prominent role, carrying the day in large part. Spice notes in the form of vanilla bean and subtle white pepper emerge and lead to the finish which shows off earth, black tea and a nice wallop of sour cherry and blackberry to close things out. This wine has soft tannins and solid acidity.
There is a lot to like in this 2007 Mendocino Pinot Noir. First and foremost is the fact that this is a well balanced wine. This Pinot is loaded with flavor and quite true to its varietal. There are layers of elegant complexity that make this a nice wine to savor and contemplate over a long meal. This is a serious Pinot Noir. For around $30 this wine over delivers on its price point. Enjoy it over the next 3-4 years.