Bottle Notes, Pinot Noir

Pick My Next Bottle: 2005 California Cult Pinot Noir

2005 California Cult Pinot Noir

The September installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2005 California “cult” Pinot Noir (see the July installment for background on this series). I plan on opening the winning bottle on September 29th, and publishing an in depth bottle note on October 1st.

The contenders for this month are Rochioli West Block and Williams Selyem Flax Vineyard, both from the Russian River Valley, and Kosta Browne Garys’ Vineyard from the Santa Lucia Highlands on California’s Central Coast.

The 2005 growing season in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, one of California’s prime regions for pinot noir, was far cooler than it had been in previous years, resulting in a longer, later harvest. This led to light, complex, austere Pinots as opposed to the rich, ripe flavors often associated with the Russian River Valley. Conditions in the Santa Lucia Highlans were similar, with cool conditions and an extended growing season.

  • ’05 Kosta Browne Garys’ – Rich cola, raspberry and sassafras aromas give this an unusual aromatic twist. Then picks up perfumed wilted rose and black cherry flavors. Intense and focused, this is tightly wound, but has all the right ingredients for excellence. Best from 2008 through 2013. 264 cases made.  93 points from the Wine Spectator.
  • ’05 Williams Selyem Flax – A brilliant young Pinot that magically combines instant drinkability with ageworthiness. Silky and supple, the wine has broad, deep raspberry, cherry, cola, cocoa and spice flavors that are wrapped into sweet, fine tannins, leading to a long, complicated finish. Just gorgeous from the first sniff to the last sip, and should age well through 2015. 96 points from the Wine Enthusiast.
  • ’05 Rochioli West Block – Medium red. Exotic, intensely perfumed red berry aromas lifted by a touch of rose and a peppery nuance. Wild strawberry and raspberry flavors show impressive cut and energy, with building sweetness on the finish. Lingering suggestions of licorice and tobacco add depth. This is really sexy. 93 points from Stephen Tanzer.

Which 2005 California Cult Pinot Noir should I open?

  • Kosta Brown Garys' (41%, 22 Votes)
  • Williams Selyem Flax (30%, 16 Votes)
  • Rochioli West Block (30%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 54

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to hear why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the October installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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17 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle: 2005 California Cult Pinot Noir

  1. Tom, my reasoning is that people tend to speculate that KB wines are big fruit bombs that will not age well. I’d vote for giving the KB more cellar time in hope of disproving that notion. The WS and Rochioli have longer track records, I believe…

    1. Thanks for voting Mark. The jury may still be out on the how well KB ages but for my money some of their early vintages are still showing well. That being said I am hanging on to a bottle of 05 Rosella’s to open at some point in the future.

    1. You and me both. With the 2010 vintage KB did their first appellation Pinot from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Have not opened mine yet but have heard it is outstanding. Thanks for voting!

  2. I went with the KB based on the conventional wisdom which would say it may not last as long as the others. That “wisdom” could be wrong but you know that KB is good young, so why wait? The other two are exciting bottles but surely can still go for years.

  3. Williams Selyem Flax because this incredible wine hit every note I look for in a Pinot Noir; silky, sexy, & supple tannins with just enough bite & a long complicated finish. If I want power I will open a Bordeaux or Barolo.
    Tough choice however. i 1st thought the KB would be more attractive, & on a different vintage very well might be. Great wines, would love any of them!

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