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.

NV Nicolas Maillart Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, France, Wine Review

Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Very nice showing for this wine.  Deep salmon pink with some orange swirls in color.  The nose has strawberries, some active yeast aromas, and a bot of cherries.  A nice mousse with small bubbles.  On the palate, this has nice cherries with some orange and an interesting milk chocolate note.  This has a nice complexity.  Good acidity.  Drinking well now; it has a nice verve and freshness that won't last.  It probably should be consumed in the next coup,e of years.  This went well with crackers and olives but would really go with just about anything.

2016 Schramsberg Vineyards Brut Rosé, USA, California, Calistoga, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This is a sparkling wine from California.  Oddly enough, I tasted it while stopping for lunch in Napa at the Oakville Grocer.  A couple seated next to me had ordered a bottle for lunch but only finished two thirds of it, and offered us the rest.  Who am I to refuse such a generous invitation.  The wine itself was very good and indeed, better than I had expected.  It is a blend of 64% Pinot Noir and 36% Chardonnay grown.  It is a pale pink/orange color, clear and bright with a good amount of smaller bubbles.  The nose is nice with strawberries, raspberries and a touch of yeast.  On the palat

2017 Walt Pinot Noir Clos Pepe, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

Walt is the name that Hall, a Napa producer, releases a line of Pinot Noir.  This was my first time trying one that I recall.  It is a big fruit forward styled Pinot.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, sour cherries and spice.  Also a slight bit of dark chocolate.  On the palate, there is a lot of fruit.  Noticeable alcohol but not hot.  Sweet black cherries.  Deep if still tight.  It seems to need about five to seven more years of cellaring an then should have 8 to 12 years after that.  There is certainly some upside potential in the score.  This will work well with Roasted

2005 Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This basic level Burgundy from a great vintage is drinking quite well at age 14.  Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has nice cherries with a slight forest floor.  On the palate, this has slight layering.  Slight complexity.  Slight tannins.  Good acidity.  Nice cherry fruit with a certain freshness.  Really a nice showing and better than anticipated.  It seems like it should still have five more years.  It will work great with fowl or heavier sea food dishes. 

2016 Sojourn Pinot Noir Riddle Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Sojourn makes some might fine Pinot Noir, this one included.  Ruby in color with some purple swirls.  The nose is bit but pretty with sour cherries, rhubarb, and earl grey tea.  On the palate, this has a soft texture.  Layers of sour cherries and forest floor.  Clean.  Nice acidity.  Good finish.  This will work well with lighter foods and heavier sea foods and fowl.  It is drinking well now but should last another decade or more.   

2012 H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Millésimé, France, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Opened for my birthday dinner.  This is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay.  It has a deep amber color although clear and bright.  A good amount of small-ish bubbles.  On the nose this has some strawberries, slight hay, dried floral notes and a slightly nutty quality.  On the palate, the strawberries come thru with some light cherries.  There is a touch of oxidation here.  Nice acidity.  It worked better with a bit of food.  This is probably not a long term ager and should be drink in the next few years.  Wen well with some Shihito peppers.  

2014 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Bourgogne Pinot Fin, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
89
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$38.00USD

Pinot Fin is apparently an ancient clone of Pinot Noir.  The berries are even smaller than Pinot Noir.  Arnoux's fruit is from Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne-Romanee, and Nuits-Saint-Georges.  Some of the vines date back to 1959.  Whether that is marketing or there is some substance there is hard to say based on this sample.  It was my first time trying this wine.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has sour cherries, dust and slight earthiness.  On the palate, this is good but relatively simple.  Cherries with slight underlying earthiness.  Medium finish.  This is easy to drink and will go with most

1999 Metier Pinot Noir Schoolhouse Vineyard, Australia, Yarra Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This was a new one for me.  Pop and pour, it is a very nice Pinot drinking well right now.  Ruby in color with purple swirls.  The nose is very tight.  With air some black cherries and dust come out.  With a bit more air, cherries and a bit of woodiness (not oak) show up.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Cherry fruit with some depth.  Not as much as I might have expected at age 20 but not really showing age either.  Not sure where this goes from here, but there seems to be time.  It is very enjoyable.  Not as big as many Aussie wines from this time period can be.  It will go well wit

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