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Wine Spectator’s Report On 2009 California Pinot Noir Has Record Number Of 90+ Scores

September 16, 2011

The numbers are in, and they’re historically impressive. In Wine Spectator’s report on California Pinot Noir, a whopping 55% of the 350-plus wines from the 2009 vintage had scores of 90 points or higher, including 15 wines that scored a classic 95 or better. It’s the category’s best performance ever.

“There is no such thing as a perfect vintage, but 2009 comes close to nirvana for California Pinot Noir,” writes Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube. “Without a doubt, it ranks alongside 2007 as the best vintage of this decade. But in terms of the number of great wines, 2009 is head and shoulders above any other vintage in California.”

Sonoma County remains the epicenter of quality and volume for California Pinot Noir, receiving a 99-point vintage rating for 2009, compared to 98 for Monterey, 97 for Anderson Valley, 94 for Santa Barbara and 91 for Carneros. Sonoma led the pack with more than 125 wines earning scores of 90 and above. But Wine Spectator stressed that quality was high across the board.

Standout winemakers in the rankings include Lynmar, which produced a dozen wines with 90-plus ratings, mostly from its vineyards near Sebastopol in Sonoma County. Littorai also had 12 wines at 90 and above, from the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley. Loring also had a dozen 90-plus wines from vineyards scattered throughout the state, while Kosta Browne had 11 wines at 90-plus, coming from Sonoma and the Santa Lucia Highlands. Other stars include Siduri with 10 wines rated at 90 and above and A.P. Vin with eight.

The 2009 California Pinot Noirs are also noteworthy for the number of exceptional values, with many top-ranked wines retailing at under $30. Those include Loring Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands (93 points); Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (93 points); Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highands (92 points); Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast (91 points); Siduri Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (91 points); and Alta Maria Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley (91 points).

Of the 15 Pinot Noirs from 2009 that scored 95 and above, four led the vintage with scores of 96: Donum Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Russian River Reserve ($85); Donum Pinot Noir Carneros East Slope ($85); Kosta Browne Pinot Noir California 4-Barrel ($72); and Rochioli Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Little Hill ($72). Eleven wines received scores of 95: A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard ($48); Dehlinger Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Goldridge Vineyard ($45); Failla Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Keefer Ranch ($45); Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Kanzler Vineyard ($72); Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($52); Martinelli Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Zio Tony Ranch Grace Nicole ($60); Peter Michael Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Ma Danseuse ($95); Peter Michael Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Clos du Ciel ($110); Rochioli Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Sweetwater Vineyard ($72); Rochioli Pinot Noir Russian River Valley River Block ($72); and Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Pisoni Vineyard ($54).

The California Pinot Noir review appears in the October 15 issue of Wine Spectator.

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