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.

2019 Goldeneye Pinot Noir Ten Degrees

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
94
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$130.00USD

Goldeneye has been quietly crafting excellent pinot noir from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County since 1996. Utilizing a blend of four different clones, the Ten Degrees has always been an exceptional wine and this vintage is no different. Beautifully balanced between acidity, fruit and oak aging, this offers black cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, a wee bit of white pepper and an even flow throughout the palate. Though aged for 16 months in French oak the fruit shine without being overly dramatic, the lush ripe flavors are very appealing. In short, this is deftly balanced.

2020 Sineann Pinot Noir "TFL", USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

This is made in 375ml bottles.  It is a blend of various Pinot Noir's that are bottled as single vineyard releases.  This is of course still a bit young and while good, it seemed lacking a bit compared to prior vintages.  Deep garnet in color, clear and bright.  The nose has sour cherries and char.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, there is solid sour cherry fruit.  Not much in the way of nuances but hopefully as it ages, it also develops more.  It would be better with food.  Salmon would work well.  

2018 Etude Pinot Noir Grace Benoist Ranch, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$47.00USD

This is a really nice Pinot Noir from Carneros. Ruby in color, clear and bright. The nose is nice. Earthy with cherries and slight sandalwood. Medium bodied. Light tannins. Good acidity. On the palate, cherries with slight sour cherries over char and earthiness. Long finish with a touch of menthol. Some depth and complexity that will increase with cellar time. This drinks well now and should continue to for the next ten to twelve years. Very nice on it own, this will work well with roasted duck or chicken.

2020 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé, USA, California, Oak Knoll, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is made from 100% Pinot Noir.  It has a deep ruby/orange color, clear and bright.  A bit darker than typical roses.  On the palate, there are strawberries, cherry powdered candy (li-a-maid?), with a slight tea and gravel.  Medium bodied.  Lovely texture.  On the palate, the strawberries come thru with some red apple notes and underlying gravel.  A bit of orange candy on the finish along with a slightly bitter orange pith note.  Tasted over two nights, it was better on night two which is rare for a Rose.  This is concentrated.  It drinks great on its own and will work well with lighter

2010 Dominique Laurent Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Vieilles Vignes, France, Burgundy, Cotes de Nuits, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$509.00USD

Pop and pour, this was surprisingly open and accessible.  Deep ruby in color, clear and bright.  This is big and bold.  On the nose, cherries, sandalwood, some black cherries and baking spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, lots of fresh cherries and sour cherries with some underlying char.  Delicious and vital.  Long finish.  This seems to be a five to ten years from full maturity but drinking well.  It is great on its own and would delicious with salmon or tuna.  

2002 Dominique Laurent Bonnes Mares Vielles Vignes, France, Burgundy, Cotes de Nuits, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2002
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+

Great showing for this wine and in a perfect place of maturity.  Garnett in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is beautifully perfumed with cherries, cinnamon, sandalwood and slight earthiness.    Full bodied.  On the palate, this clean with bright cherry fruit.  Some underlying earthiness.  Levels of complexity.  Great balance.  Long finish.  This has big fruit.  The oak is now integrated and the tannins are silky.  Everything one could want in a Grand Cru at age 20.  It drinks great on its own.  Contemplative.  It also worked well with food.  While it might last longer, drink over

1985 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses, France, Burgundy, Cotes de Nuits, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1985
Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$3400.00USD

Tasted two bottles of this.  They were part of a cellar purchase from which most of the bottles had been in excellent shape.  On opening, this was old and off a bit.  With a couple hours of air, it improved quite a bit although never got to the point of not being past prime.  Depending on one's level of enjoyment from wines with this much age, it seemed mostly a miss among the tasters.  I enjoyed it for what it offered.

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