Tasting Expensive Pinot Noir

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Blind Tasting Expensive Pinot Noir wines

Vintage Wine Tasters – Blind Tasting Expensive Pinot Noir Wines

Each year in January our wine tasting club holds a special blind tasting. We call it our Spurlge Tasting. The tasting event is held at a local restaurant followed by dinner. We taste exquisite wines, and this time they were expensive Pinot Noir wines. Our special Splurge Tasting is a departure from our bimonthly blind tastings in which we seek out great value wines priced under $20. Vintage Wine Taster Bruce was in charge of the Pinot Noir tasting. Bruce enlisted the help of his son-in-law who is a Pinot Noir aficionado.  Andrew was able to obtain some delicious wines very much in the hard-to-get category.  It was a delight to taste these extraordinary Pinot Noir wines, wines we as individuals would typically not consider purchasing because of the price.  We blind tasted these six Pinot Noir wines, and they are in the order in which we ranked them.

  • 2010 Foxen “Sea Smoke Vineyard” Santa Rita Hills – $170 Magnum
  • 2014 Kanzler Family Vineyard Estate Reserve Sonoma Coast – $78
  • 2014 CIRQ Bootlegger’s Hill Russian River Valley – $125
  • 2014 Beaux Freres Beaux Freres Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley – $90
  • 2014 Shea Wine Cellars Block 23 Willamette Valley – $66
  • 2012 Windy Oaks Estate Special Release Les Deux Grand Cru Santa Cruz Mountains – $85

The Foxen Pinot Noir was the favorite Pinot of the group by a wide margin. It was the oldest vintage among the six and the only magnum in the group. My favorite was the Kanzler from the Sonoma Coast, which was second overall. Kanzler dramatically improved as it sat in the glass over a 30-minute period. All the wines were fantastic and, in our judgment, all worthy of points above the 90-Point mark. If you are interested in knowing more about these wines, head to the wineries’ Websites.

It’s always a treat and an education to taste expensive wines of high quality. Tasting wines like this provides a framework of experience for tasting wines in general. Knowing what a high-quality wine tastes like helps in evaluating wines in all categories. You can sample quality wines by heading to a winery, a public tasting such as the Zinfandel Experience or, do as we did, and form a wine tasting club. A wine club is a fun social experience. See how to form a Wine Tasting Club.

Thanks very much to the Rocca Restorante staff for their hospitality. Rocca is a neighborhood restaurant located on Broadway Avenue in Burlingame. The restaurant provided six wine glasses each for the members of our tasting club. Following the tasting, we gathered for dinner with our significant others and had a fantastic time.

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  1. Andrew Sevillia says:

    Hi Joe,
    I was a pleasure to get a chance to share these gems with you and the Vintage Wine Tasting Group. The wines were definitely expensive but I think it’s ok to splurge on occasion. I couldn’t agree more with how the wines ranked. Foxen was in a league of it’s own. I think it had the unfair advantage of being a bit more aged than the other wines and the fact that the grapes came from the Sea Smoke Vineyard didn’t hurt either. This is one of those unicorn wines. You’re likely never to come across it and if you do you can expect to drop some serious cash to make it yours. Kanzler has been a favorite of mine for many years. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting the Kanzler family and I believe they put their heart and soul into the wine they make. It’s one that I really don’t mind spending a bit more on. Beaux Freres is another example of what the fine art of wine making can look like. I feel comfortable saying that the best bottle of Pinot Noir I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy came from Beaux Freres. I highly recommend getting as much of this as your budget or cellar will allow. Patience will be well rewarded if you can control your urge to open the wine. I think this is also true of CIRQ, which is Michael Browne of Kosta Browne’s wine. I’m not sure what happened with the Windy Oaks wine. I’ve had this wine one other time and it was the truest expression of a Burgundian wine from California that I’ve ever had. Thanks again for inviting me. The wine was great, the food was delicious and the conversation was stimulating.

    • Hi Andrew,
      The pleasure was ours. It was so gracious of you to share your Pinot Noir selections with the group. It was memorable. Feel free to join us again.


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