ne can taste these three limited bottlings side by side time and time again and not find one that is less than special. In so many years, this one has been our favorite, and so it is again this time around. It is entirely and convincingly inviting for its deep and dramatic ripe black cherry fruit and its creamy rich overlays of oak and dried flowers, and its rich, velvety, coating mouthfeel together with its admirable sense of balance and its promise of ageworthiness propel it to the very top rank in this all-time best issue of Pinot Noirs.
The 2001 Pinot Noir Octagon Vineyard is a 225-case offering produced from the Joseph Swan Pinot Noir clone. The name refers to the fact that this vineyard surrounds a spooky, octagon-shaped house sitting on a knoll overlooking the Dehlinger winery. Plum, cherry, strawberry, and underlying forest floor notes are accompanied by a fleshy, sexy Pinot with outstanding ripeness as well as elegance and sweetness.
Medium dark red. Subdued but pure aromas of plum, blackberry, raspberry and earth. Juicy on entry, but less fleshy now than some of the earlier samples. Began quite dominated by its tannic structure, but opened nicely with aeration to show a silkier texture and strong berry and spice flavors. Perhaps not quite as precise as the High Plains but may ultimately to have more stuffing to buffer its tannins. Finishes with chewy, ripe tannins and very good subtle persistence. 90(+?) points
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2013 Solomon Hills "Solomon Hills Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $40)