Top 2005 Pinot Noirs


I think it’s fair to say that Pinot Noir is the most exciting area of winemaking in California today. The Pinot Noir category is churning up new producers. Newer Pinot producing regions are strutting their stuff. And, various styles of Pinot Noir are lining the shelves, one next to the other, from the more elegantly styled to the blockbuster powerhouses. It’s really a time of great experimentation and change when it comes to Pinot.

This is why it’s so exciting to receive the "Pinot Passion Awards" in Greg Walter’s Pinot Report. This newsletter won the James Beard Award last year for it’s searing focus on Pinot, comprehensive coverage of the wine as it is interpreted in the new world and for its fine writing. The Pinot Passion Awards are the newsletter’s annual list of the best American Pinots, Best Value American Pinots and most Passionate producers of Pinot. This is the 4th annual Pinot Passion Awards by The Pinot Report.

TOP PINOT NOIRS (only five of the full 12 listed here)

1.2004 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Cargasacchi Vineyard ($48)
125 Cases – 97 Points

2. 2003 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($28)
790 Cases – 96 Points

3. 2004 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Green Valley Keefer Ranch ($48)
300 Cases – 96 Points

4. 2003 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Savoy ($45)
440 Cases – 95 Points

5. 2004 Roessler Cellars Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch ($36)
186 Cases – 95 Points

What’s interesting is that if you include he 6 "honorable mentions" along with the 12 top Pinots listed you see no single appellation dominating the list. Eight of the 18 are from Sonoma County, but are divided between Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Ten years ago you might find two or three wines at most that were outside of Sonoma County.

TOP VALUE PINOTS (only 5 of the top 12 listed)

1. 2003 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($15)
16,300 Cases – 94 Points

2. 2004 Mirassou Pinot Noir California ($11)
25,000 Cases – 91 Points

3. 2004 Five Rivers Winery Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County ($10)
25,000 Cases – 88 Points

4. 2003 Turning Leaf Pinot Noir Sonoma County Sonoma Reserve ($10)
40,000 Cases – 89 Points

5. 2003 Gallo of Sonoma Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Reserve ($13)
30,000 Cases – 92 Points


1. Micheal Browne, Kosta Browne Winery
2. Lynn Penner Ash, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars
3. Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa

1. Josh Bergstrom, Bergstrom Vineyards
2. Bill Brosseau, Testarossa Vineyards
3. Patrick Melley Russian Hill Estate
4. Vanessa Wong, Peay Vineyards

The full report offers detailed descriptions of all the wines as well as profiles of the Masters and Rising Stars. This is the issue of the Pinot Report I look forward to most every year. A one-year email subscription to the Pinot Report is $75. If you love Pinot and are looking for a trusted source for the most interesting bottlings you need to subscribe to this newsletter.

2 Responses

  1. Anthony Ianni - February 22, 2006

    I been on Brian Lorings list for the past few years. I have becomed alarmed at the amount of alcohol in beach bottling. IMO the wines are somewhat out of balance. They do not possess the finesse of his earlier vintages.

  2. Bogus Gold - February 23, 2006

    Wine Snapshots

    I’ve been neglecting the wine-side of the blog lately. That’s more to my chagrin than any of yours, because wine is a relaxing and fun hobby for me. Politics – which far more people want to read about – makes me tense, occasionally angry, and generally…

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