Pinot Noir: Redux

I just reviewed this wine a little over four months ago.  I normally don’t retaste and rereview wines in such short order, but we drank this one over Christmas while visiting my parents and I perhaps didn’t give it all the attention it deserved.  So here it is again, hopefully with a note that’s a little more in depth.  The wine in question?  The 2006 Alderbrook Pinot Noir.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and cost me $24.60 in a club shipment.

My first note on this one? Matt likes it. That’s worth noting given he usually doesn’t provide an opinion unless hounded!  On the nose I found cranberry, spice, cedar, strawberry, mint, herbs, some earth, chocolate, and cherry.  In the mouth I got flavors of cherry, cranberry, strawberry, nice oak influences, some herbs, a bit of earth, but mostly clean red fruit.  Overall, I would describe this wine as having very clean red fruit and being ready to drink now.

Tasty Pinot Noir

We were thinking about taking a night off from wine, but as we got settled with a roaring fire and a movie, we changed our minds.  Plus, we didn’t want to bring back home any of the wine we dragged up to Connecticut for the holiday!  We chose the 2006 Alderbrook Pinot Noir.  It had a real cork closure and cost us $24.60 in a club shipment.  I didn’t get the alcohol content before it went into the recycling.

On the nose I found strawberry, roses, flowers, red fruit, cherry, and a little spice.  Overall, I thought the nose seemed light and floral.  In the mouth I got flavors of tart red fruit, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, mint, earth, and spice.

Considering that I often find many CA Pinots quite large, I was surprised by how light, both in body and color this one was. It struck me as very delicate.

Zinning Again

Even though the 90 degree weather doesn’t seem to be supporting my theory that it’s actually fall here, I’m still digging the big red wines after a summer of lovely light whites and roses. Do for the evening, I picked a bottle of the 2006 Alderbrook Old Vine Zinfandel. It’s from Dry Creek Valley, clocks in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost me $19 in a club shipment.

The wine showed as a dark purple color with red tinged edges in the glass. On the nose I found blackberry, boysenberry, vanilla, pie, spice, pepper, and cedar. The nose smelled really jammy. I got flavors of vanilla, blackberry, raspberry, cherries, pepper, and licorice in the mouth.

Overall, I’d describe this Zin as fruity, jammy, and big. It had tannins to spare though, so it might benefit from a little more time in the bottle.

Thin Zin

A cool night here and there still calls for a hearty Zinfandel. Though I fear we have truly left those days behind now, as the AC had to come on last night lest we melt into the chairs or couches in our family room.

The wine for the evening was a 2005 Alderbrook Old Barn Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. The wine arrived in a club shipment, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 15.3% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found blackberries, currants, spice, vanilla, and a slight hint of red fruit. The nose did not really translate to the mouth at all. I thought this would be a nice fruity Zinfandel based on the nose, but instead I found it to be tannic and thin. It gave way a bit to some blackberry and red fruit, but overally it was far too thin for me. The fruit was not balanced with the alcohol content.

My Kind of Blend

The wine was a 2005 Alderbrook Confluence from Dry Creek Valley. It takes two grapes I really like and combines them in one blend, so what’s not to love? The wine is a blend of 60% Zinfandel and 40% Syrah, it has a real cork closure, weighs in at 14.8% alcohol by volume, and cost us $24 in a club shipment.

On the nose I got blackberry, currants, spice, pepper,vanilla, and blueberry. I could almost smell the tannins on this one. In the mouth the wine showed blueberry tart, blackberry, and earth. The fruit was really dark on this one, and very tart.

A very tasty blend.

Hiding in the Basement


Sometimes wine just gets lost in my basement. I don’t know how it happens, because I’m fairly vigilant about entering my shipments into CellarTracker as they arrive, but, as you know, the best laid plans….

So that is how it came to be that this bottle of 2004 Alderbrook Chardonnay somehow escaped me. It’s possible it’s been hiding down there for almost 2 years now. I found it the other night when looking for a Zinfandel that I SWORE was down there, but alas, I could not find. Perhaps I have wine elves that move things around just to drive me nuts. Whatever the case may be, this wine had a real cork, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and cost us $14.80 either in a club shipment or at the winery.

On the nose I found apple, pineapple, slight cream, and oak spice. In the mouth, the wine was crisp with a bit of oak. I got flavors of lemon and apple. This was a simple Chardonnay, not too oaky at all, which is good, I don’t much care for the oaky ones, and was an easy wine to drink on a weeknight.

Good Value Zin

The wine was a 2005 Alderbrook Old Vine Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. It weighed in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost $15.50!

On the nose of the wine I found jammy dark fruit, blackberries, raspberries, vanilla, and smoke. In the mouth (either I was a little tipsy or I really thought the wine was fruity, because I wrote fruity 3 times in a row in my notes…) the wine was very fruity. Flavors of blackberries, raspberries, and currants dominated in the mouth.

Overall, a fruity zinfandel with a bit of vanilla. Yum! Up there on the list of good Zins at this price point.

Que Syrah, Syrah

With our bbq pulled pork, purple mashed potatoes and broccoli, I decided that a big Syrah would be an excellent match to the spicy bbq sauce. I usually prefer a Zinfandel with my bbq, but I don’t have any left in my collection that I haven’t reviewed yet so Syrah it was.

The bottle was a 2003 Alderbrook Syrah that came in a club shipment. Again, I have no idea how much it cost. It was 14.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. The bottle was really heavy and had the largest punt that I’ve ever seen.

On the nose I found blackberries, bramble fruit and a hint of leather. In the mouth there were dark fruits, it was earthy and the blackberries really stood out. The color in the glass was a deep, dark red that barely let any light through.

I would definitely suggest decanting this bottle if you are going to drink it now. The flavors were wound quite tight to begin with and I think my evaluation of it with dinner suffered. About an hour after dinner though, this was a smooth wine with a long finish. If I had let it sit before dinner I think the flavors would have complimented the bbq well, but as it was, the flavors were just not showing well when we drank it with dinner. I would also suggest hanging onto this one for another 2+ years, I think it will be great in a couple years.

When the Moon Hits Your Eyes like a Big Pizza Pie…

We’ve had some company with us this week, so I decided to make some homemade pizza as a slightly fancier mid-week dinner. And with it, we started out with a bottle of 2004 Alderbrook Carignane.

The wine came in a club shipment and didn’t have a price, but the 2003 was $19, so I would guess it was around the same price. It was 14.1% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose there were plums, dark berries, spice, leather and oddly enough, the scent of a forest. The aromas just kept coming as the glass sat out. In the mouth the wine was incredibly smooth and is drinking really well, though the layers of flavors make me think it could age for quite a bit longer. In the mouth there were dark fruits, black cherries and blackberries.

Overall the wine had a great mouth feel and I wish we had more of it hanging around. I picture this with pasta sauce based dishes, the spice would be a good compliment to the sauce.

I was poking around the Alderbrook website this afternoon and discovered that Alderbrook is part of the Terlato Wine Group. I wonder if it’s possible that the one bottle of Terlato that we drank back in February came in a club shipment? It was a mystery to me as to where it came from since I am 100% positive that we did not go to the Terlato Vineyard and it has been driving me nuts ever since we drank it trying to figure out how it arrived in our wine rack. However, it might make sense that it came from an Alderbrook shipment since they are all part of the same group. I guess mystery solved, finally. Here’s to hoping that I will no longer have the lapses of my spreadsheet now that I am faithfully using Cellar Tracker.

Ah….that’s good.

I garnered immense satisfaction from the Pinot Noir we drank the other night. It was a bottle of 2005 Alderbrook Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and it was absolutely delicious. I have no idea what this cost, it came in the club shipment, but I assume it’s around $30ish given the total cost of the shipment. The wine comes in a tremendously heavy bottle (seems to be a trend this week), weighs in at 14.2% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On those nose of this one I get a delicious scent of raspberries, strawberries and cedar. Yum. Seriously, yum. In the mouth, fresh raspberries filled all my taste buds, followed by a slightly earthy feeling. After sitting out for a while I found notes of strawberries.

I really enjoyed how the wine developed as I drank it. The fruit kept coming, but overall this was a very light wine and I didn’t feel bowled over by the fruit or alcohol at all. It worked so well with our dinner, which was homemade chicken noodle soup (I’m making the most of winter dishes while I still can, though that damn rodent seems to have been wrong about winter ending since we are expecting 2-4 inches of snow today!). My final words on this one are lip smacking good.

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