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