Top Ten Pinot Noirs of 2016

I tend to taste and drink a lot of wine over the course of a year. I am in a few tasting groups, sometimes the wines are consumed at various local wine store tastings and a number drunk with friends and family.

2016 Halcon Vineyards Pinot Noir Oppenlander Vineyard, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This is the first Pinot I have tried from Halcon, one of my favorite Rhone varietal producers.  This is excellent.  On the worldwide scale of Pinots it is on the larger size but certainly not for California.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has black cherries and sour cherries.  Very nice.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.

NV Camossi Franciacorta Extra Brut Rosé, Italy, Lombardia, Wine Review

Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$23.00USD

If you don't know Franciacorta, you should remedy that as soon as you can.  Franciacorta is a DOCG in Italy that makes wonderful sparkling wines.  Many are as good as all but the very finest of Champagnes and most are made using the same traditional method.  This one is a very nice value though they can be pricey.  This is very pale salmon pink in color.  Barely any color at all.  The nose has a bit of toast on it with a hint of cherry juice.  On the palate, the light cherry juice continues with great liveliness.

2005 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

This is one of those bottles that is both good and disappointing at the same time.  It is a very good bottle, but considering the vintage, the region and yes, the price ($60 on release), it should have been better.  Still, it was good.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, mushrooms/earthiness and spice.  On the palate, this has nice cherry fruit.  A bit of depth.  No tannins.  Decent acidity.  OK finish.  This will work better with food and fowl would be a particularly good match.  No real signs of development but no real sign of age either.  

2008 Drappier Champagne Grande Sendrée, France, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$100.00USD

This is delicious.  From an excellent vintage and drinking youthfully.  A blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay.  Light golden in color.  The nose shows green apples, some chalk and marzapan.  Very nice but tight.  More open on the palate.  Very lively acidity.  Green apples and minerals.  It starts out tight and broadens over the palate.  Long finish.  This will work with almost any food.  It is still young although drinking nicely but is likely to improve over the next tne years and be good for at least that long after that.  

2005 Jean-Luc Dubois Beaune 1er Cru Cent-Vignes, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

This was fine.  Probably a bit past prime, but it probably never was great to begin with.  More a victim of higher expectations given the vintage and age. Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is dusty with some cherries.  Not old, but not exciting either.  On the palate, there is some energy here.  It has a nice velvety texture.  Cherry flavors.  Not much depth.  Medium finish.  If you have any, drink up soon.  This will work well with fowl.   

2006 Domaine René Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

About ten years ago, a west coast retailer dumped these on the market.  And, I mean dumped.  About $15 a bottle.  Never knew why but bought some anyway as did lots of others.  It seems that has tainted the perception of this wine as every time people open one, the story is told and the comments factor in the price.  Frankly, that does this wine a dis-service.  At age 13, from a solid vintage, this wine is drinking quite well and appears to be at peak.  Pale ruby in color.  The nose is earthy, slightly dishwater with good fresh cherries as well.  On the palate, this is clean with cherries, m

2005 Gérard Raphet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$130.00USD

Well, this was one of the better values I have had in Burgundy in a while.  It was $70 on release with current vintages retailing for $110 or so.  Pop and pour, this seems to be at peak or just getting there.  It improved in the first thirty minutes and then held until the bottle was empty.  Light ruby in color.  A bit pale.  The nose is strong though with cherries and a slight earthy funk.  Maybe just a bit of spice.  On the palate, this has nice layering of fruit (cherries) and earth.  Good balance.  Persistent finish.  It went very well with food.  Delicious but also contemplative.  

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