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.

2017 Sineann Pinot Noir "TFL", USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

TFL is a cuvee of some of the best barrels of Pinot Noir in the cellars.  This is deep ruby in color.  The nose has sour cherries, dust, cherries and spice.  On the palate, this has light tannins.  Sour cherry fruit.  This is young, of course, but delicious.  It will work well with fowl or heavier sea foods.  It is only bottle in a 375ml format, so ageing is not a long term option.  Still, these will certainly last another five to seven years and probably more.  

2005 Sineann Pinot Noir Schindler Vineyard, USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is drinking very well right now.  Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, sour cherries, a damp forest floor and slight baking spices.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has a juicy texture.  Black cherry fruit, slight sour cherries with a bit of forest floor.  Deep, complex and layered.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This is at peak and this will be there for the next five to seven years before slowly fading.  It goes well with roasted fowl and vegetable dishes.  

2017 Jax Vineyards Pinot Noir Y3, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$34.00USD

Light ruby in color.  The nose has bright cherries and a slight earthiness.  On the palate, this is light bodied.  Thin with tart cherry fruit.  There is some earthiness on the palate as well.  Long finish.  This is easy drinking and refreshing.  Drinks fine without food.  It will work with light foods too.  Drink over the next couple of years.  

2012 Scherrer Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This reminded me of a "classic" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from twenty years ago.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, a bit of cola,, spice and a slight funk.  Pretty.  On the palate, this has sweet black cherry fruits.  Moderate tannins.  Good acidity.  Some depth and complexity.  Lot of energy.  This is in a great place right now.  It should be at this level for another 5 to ten years.  It will go well with roasted fowl or meats.  

2009 Thomas Pinot Noir Dundee Hills

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This is in a good place right now and drinking well.   Deep ruby in color.  The nose is tight at first but with air shows cherries, sour cherries and an underlying earthiness.  Good balance.  Lively acidity.  On the palate, the sour cherries dominate but the underlying earthiness is still present.  A nice complexity as the layers unwind in the glass.  Seems very clearly of Oregon.  Long finish.  This will go well with fowl dishes.  No hurry, it should easily do another decade and closer to two.  

NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grand Cellier, France, Wine Review

Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir.  It was disgorged on October, 2017.  Light golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose has minerals, slight lemons and a bit of spice/oak.  On the palate, this has good acidity.  It has a lemon hard candy quality to it, that I find enjoyable.  Lots of energy.  Long finish.  This should drink well for the next five to seven years.  It will pair well with most foods.  

2012 Graham Beck Brut Zéro, South Africa, Western Cape, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

Graham Beck makes some great values in sparkling wines in South Africa.  This was the best one yet I have tasted.  It is a blend of 77% Pinot Noir and 23% Chardonnay.  The zero refers to the fact that no sugar is added to the wine to help a secondary fermentation.  Copper/gold in color.  The nose has some toast, and citrus/lemons.  On the palate, this is very clean.  Nice acidity.  Lemony with underlying minerality.  Long finish.  This is drinking well now and should continue for another seven to ten years.  It will go with just about any foods.  And, it is a great value.  

2006 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame, France, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

Always nice to revisit this wine.  This time it was in a tasting with other sparkling wines and tasted blind.  It started out quite tight and took some time to open up.  It continued to open up all night long.  it was the groups wine of the night though not mine.  Light golden in color.  The nose has a lemon/citrus quality to it along with minerals and slight ginger.  On the palate, the citrus carries thru with nice minerality.  Good acidity.  This is just starting to enter its peak period and  should be good for another decade or more before slowly starting to fade.  With the (better) 2008

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