Tasting Four Pinot Noirs from Benziger’s de Coelo and Signaterra Labels

Today’s live tasting with Benziger’s Rodrigo Soto covered two of the winery’s alternate labels, showcasing Pinot Noir from two very different areas: The Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast. All wines are from the 2009 vintage. Thoughts follow.

2009 Signaterra Pinot Noir Russian River Valley San Remo Vineyard – Classic Russian River Pinot, with more of a jamminess than the coastal Pinots in this roundup offer. Definitely vibrant and easy-drinking, but not terribly complex. This is a Pinot that wears its fruit on its wine-stained sleeve. The long, juicy finish reveals little else in its playbook. B+ / $34

2009 Signaterra Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Bella Luna Vineyard – More tannin gives this Pinot more depth than the San Remo, but also more of a vegetal note, particularly on the front of the wine. Some tough bramble notes play well with the big cranberry-like character, but it’s more challenging, more interesting, somewhat less “fun” than its neighbor. B+ / $34

2009 de Coelho Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Terra Neuma Vineyard – While the nose is solid with cherry notes, the body is surprisingly — almost shockingly — thin. Sure, restraint is great, but this is way too pulled back. The finish turns green, unripe and unready. C+ / $69

2009 de Coelho Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Quintas Vineyard – Still a bit restrained, but it offers more pepper on the nose than the Terra Neuma, and represents a solid improvement. Fruit and body could be deeper, but the herbal notes on the finish give this one depth. In the end, it was my favorite of the bunch. A- / $69

benziger.com

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