Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pinot Noir Wines From Sonoma, Anderson Valley

The opportunity to taste and compare two wines of the same variety and vintage - from the same winery - gives a wine geek a chance to describe the similarities and differences between the wines. In the case of the two CrossBarn Pinot Noir wines from Paul Hobbs, there is more alike than otherwise.

Both the 2013 Pinots - from one Sonoma County, one from Anderson Valley - look the same, smell almost alike and are nearly indistinguishable on the palate. Both hit 14.1% abv, both are on the brawny side and both sell for $35.

On the CrossBarn website, the label is described as “renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs’ innovative winery dedicated to crafting wines of stunning quality and exceptional value using sustainable vineyard practices and traditional winemaking techniques.” These two wines are well-made, and are done in the California style of Pinot - a little bigger than life.

The CrossBarn Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2013 has a dark hue and displays plenty of raspberry, cranberry and black cherry flavors, with a big earthy note and moderate spice - clove and nutmeg. Red plums, cherries and raspberries adorn the palate, with a nice, tart edge and a well-defined tannic structure joined by a mouth-watering acidity. It comes on bold - not something I look for in Pinot - but it settles down quickly and finishes elegantly, with fruit lingering quite a while.

The CrossBarn Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2013 is a bit darker in color than the Sonoma, with a darker nose, too. Black fruit replaces the red and an even earthier note comes forward. There is a similar type of oak spice present, as well. On the palate, flavors fall in line with the Sonoma Pinot, with red fruit prevalent and less tartness. The initial contact is not as brash, and the wine carries itself with some degree of elegance. It is still a California Pinot Noir, though, so don't expect it to be too delicate or dainty. It does flex its bicep a bit.

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