Friday, August 13, 2010

Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah from Red Truck Winery

“At Red Truck, we are serious about making great wine, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously”, states the back labels of the wines from Red Truck Winery in Sonoma. This may well be true, but I wouldn't call these wines great. Good and well made yes, but not more than that. Red Truck was created a a brand rather than a separate wine company by Fred and Nancy Cline of Cline Cellars in 2002 with the ambition to make tasteful wines in a reasonable price range, actually just like the wines of Cline Cellars. The success came at once, and production volume rose rapidly to 170 000 cases per year. Only three years later, Fred Cline sold 80 percent of this brand to Doug Walker and Dan Leese for 32 million dollars! Although Fred didn’t told me that, I suppose he found the offer generous and since he needed money to set up a another new wine company (Jacuzzi Family Wines) and break ground for a brand new winery for it across the street from Cline Cellars , the deal was too good to give up.

2008 California Pinot Noir / 80 p
Color is bright and cherry red, and the nose is open and quite aromatic with fine notes of red berries, predominately raspberries and redcurrants, and also a hint of rhubarb. At this price point, I’m positively surprised, although not overwhelmed. Also the oak integration is just perfect. On the palate it’s light to medium bodied, fresh and silky with a lively acidity – which most likely is adjusted, and if so, in a quite acceptable way. As on the note, the fruitiness is pure and slightly sweet, which makes a good balance with the acidity and tannins. The finish is quite short and a bit sweetish, and it lacks intensity to be a truly serious wine. Of course this is both acceptable and expected, based on the moderate price. It’s not a great wine you’ll pour to your pinotphile friends, still it’s absolutely drinkable and should be a good wine to introduce Pinot Noir to new consumers.
Drink it 2010-2013.

2006 California Petite Sirah / 79 p
As expected from Petite Sirah, even at this moderate price point, the color is dark, almost opaque. The nose is intense, packed with dark ripe berries like cherries, blackberries and even oven baked plums, but there’s also a more fragrant and lighter fruit quality, and it’s actually quite charming rather than complex. Right there, in the compote of fruit flavors, there’s also a fine note of cedar tree, as well as cherry stones, which is quite attractive. Compared with high end wines of Petite Sirah, this wine is much softer – but make no mistakes, you’ll still find a good and for the variety very typical tannic structure here – and the texture is more built on the lush and slightly sweet fruitiness than tannins and oak. Drinking it on its own, you’ll find some bitterness in the finish, but if the pinot above is good to drink as it is, the petite sirah is made for steaks or stews.
Drink it 2010-2014.

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