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.

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard, USA, California, Mendocino, Anderson Valley, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is great with black cherries, slight cola and a bit of roasted herbs.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black cherry fruit.  Very clean.  Still not yet at maturity, it may still have some upside.  Good balance with nice acidity.  Would work great with steakfish or fowl.  Rhys started commercially in 2004 and there wines have gotten better over time, but even the earlier ones seem to age quite well.  

2003 Walter Hansel Winery Pinot Noir The South Slope Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Purchased on release, this is holding up and in fact, drinking quite well at age 15.  It did need about 20 minutes to shed some bottle stink though.  Purple in color.  The nose has nice cherries, slight sour cherries, and some barnyard funk.  There is some Brett on the nose and palate showing as barnyard and slight band-aid.  On the palate, drying tannins.  Slightly sweet cherries.  And a bit of barnyard  comes through.  This is not drinking old, but probably never was a top level Pinot Noir.  Still, it has a nice complexity right now and seems in balance.  Would work well with fowl.  There

2013 Jax Vineyards Pinot Noir Y3, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Ruby/purple in color.  Cloudy.  The nose is sweaty socks.  Perhaps some macerated cherries.  On the palate, this is very soft.  Very sour cherries with some dank earthiness.  It is a style of Pinot that I like but this seems either mishandled or way past prime at this young age.  Not sure if this bottle was representative  It reminds me of some of the unclean Burgundies that were more prevalent 25 years ago.  That is not to say undrinkable or even bad, as this wine is certainly offering some nice and interesting notes, but more to say, what this might have been (or a pristine bottle is).

NV Graham Beck Brut Pinot Noir Chardonnay, South Africa, Western Cape, Wine Review

Beck sparkling wines are some of the best values in sparkling wines. This retails for around $17 and is a quality dry sparkling wine.  Light golden in color.  Lots of small bubbles.  The nose is all about the minerals with a dusty quality as well.  Ever so very slightly sweet on the palate.  Minerals and lemon oil.  Would go with a wide variety of foods.  Has some depth and complexity.  Really enjoyable.  

2014 Siduri Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Lucia Highlands, Wine Review

Ruby in color.  The nose has nice cherries with some floral notes.  A bit of spice.  On the palate, this has some depth.  Bright cherry fruit with an underlying mineral/char.  Still young but opens nicely.  Good finish.  Not a huge Pinot but certainly no wall flower either.  Should go with a good amount of foods.  Drink over the next ten years or so.