A blind tasting of fruit-forward and more reserved style Pinot Noir
At this blind tasting we sought to contrast a classic fruit-forward California Pinot with a Burgundian-styled producer. Both wines are made in Sonoma County in the Russian River Valley, but after spending seven years in the bottle they presented very differently. A group of four of us tasted these wines and our tasting notes can be found below
In some respects this tasting is a straight-up comparison between a fruit-forward and a more reserved style of wine producer. I would classify Kistler as an elegant fruit-forward producer, who takes full advantage of the rich terroir and climate of the Russian River Valley, while the lesser-known Donum Estate produces equally elegant but a more reserved-style of Pinot. In the tasting notes below I hope the reader will get some sense of which wine presents better after seven years, which still retains good structure as well as body, fruit and finish. Both wines were opened for approximately 30 mins, but neither was decanted. While I enjoyed both wines, my personal favorite was the Donum Estate. You can find our tasting notes below:
Donum Estate Russian River Valley - 2009
The nose presented as reserved but had hints of sweet fruit. The wine was dark in color and was complex and well balanced. Tasting the wine brought tastes of warm leather, hints of cherry fruit and dry wood. It started out softly but expanded rapidly on the middle palate with lots of dry fruit and had a long finish. The wine was smooth and silky with a body that reminded you of the attention to detail that went into making this wine. Over time the wine developed a fuller body which was even dryer than at its start. I was encouraged about the wine’s body and structure, and it certainly seemed to be drinking at peak now, this was also confirmed by a very minimal presence of any significant amount of tannins. The wine cost approximately $90/btl and was made from 100% pinot noir.
Kistler Cuvee Catherine – 2009
The wine presented with some good hints of steely fruit, with hints of oak. The strong cherry fruit hits you right up front but presented somewhat one-dimensional. While the wine became a tad thicker over time in the glass it also became more fruit-forward, with a bit longer finish. Still the structure of this wine seemed to elude me considering its producer and it may have needed more time to open up. The wine was dark in color, appearing almost inky and was the much darker of the two wines. While there many factors to suggest this wine still had considerable time to evolve this tasting did not encourage one to continue to cellar for this particular vintage. The wine cost $95/btl and was made from 100% pinot noir.