Saturday, November 6, 2010

Burgundy styled pinot from Flying Goat Cellars

As I’ve written before, Flying Goat Cellars is a small one man show operation in the so called The Ghetto in Lompoc out in the Santa Rita Hills far west. Here proprietor and winemaker Norm Yost crafts some of the finest pinots of the Central Coast. Norm makes his wines based on the philosophy that wines are made to be enjoyed with food – therefore his wines are refined and silky, never powerful, heavy and oaky. Since he doesn’t own any vineyards, all wines are made from purchased grapes from some of the coolest vineyard sites. With a tiny production of 2 500 cases per year, these wines are unfortunately relatively rare to see, but they are not as expensive as expected, and as they could be regarding the very high quality.

2006 Pinot Noir Salisbury Vineyards / 94 p
The Salisbury Vineyard is located only three kilometers from the Avila Beach out on the coast in San Luis Obispo, and is one of the coolest vineyards in the Central Coast. Norm buys the grapes from the highest vineyard blocks, which are planted with the clones Dijon 115 and Clone 2A. The wine is produced with classical methods in small open top fermenters, and it has been raised in small French oak barrels, of which only 20 percent were new. The color is pale cherry red and the nose open, intense and initially very burgundian like – then some more sweet scented raspberry aromas evolves. Still, on the nose it is remarkably close to a fine wine from Gevrey-Chambertin (the Rousseau style) or even the style of DRC’s Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Duvault-Blochet, but there’s no chalkiness or mineral notes as in the burgundian counterparts. The oak is perfectly well integrated, which again move your guesses in the blind tasting towards the old world style of winemaking. After ten minutes in the glass, the nose is even more complex and burgundian like, yet with the seductive sweetness – which is one the most charming parts of Pinot Noir.
On the palates it’s immediately sweet and lush, but acidity comes just in the second you fall in love with the sweet red fruit to tell you there’s also a good portion a lively structure here. If you concentrate, you might be able to taste some oak spiciness, or does that flavor derive from the soil? Tannins are silky and fine, the balance as good as can be, and the acidity is really refreshing. I just wish the aftertaste was longer …
To get the most out of this wine (and other Californian pinots), serving temperature is recommended to be around 15-16 degrees Celsius.
Drink it 2010-2014.

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