Winery: Keller Estate Winery
Bottling: 2005 La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sub-Region: Sonoma Coast
Estimated Retail Price: $40
Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Bought for $35 at Fujioka’s Wine Times. We had some nice pinot noirs the week before and were hankering for another good one, so we made a last minute decision to stop by the wine shop.
Tasting Notes: On the nose were pretty notes of lavender and rose petals which were juxtaposed by earthy notes of soil and forest floor. Also making an appearance was that fun cola smell that makes pinot noir so distinctive. I don’t really care for cola anymore, but the nose on the wine is almost nostalgic for me and reminds me of a time period in my childhood where I drank gallons of it daily. I guess this is my adult cola.
In the mouth were some really firm, but clean tannins. This is also not a fruit driven wine, but rather, a more dirt driven one. Mushrooms, tree bark and wet leaves were the initial dominant flavors. As the wine opened up, only then did the flavors of cherry, dark pomegranate and a hint of cinnamon spice appear.
I’m going to get off-base a little now. Our taste (Susan’s more than mine) for pinot has evolved to a point where we’re really looking for something beyond a specific flavor or taste. It’s a little difficult to explain, but when we’ve happened across one that has resonated with us, we become obsessed with the experience and start to look for it again and again.
It’s funny, because with any other positive experience we have with other varietals we’re like “cool, let’s try another one to see what the next experience holds.” With pinot noir, when the texture, aroma and flavor align perfectly, it becomes a sensory experience that’s out of this world. We get fixated on that particular sensory experience and we continue to search for it until we find it again in another bottle. Based on our track record with pinots relative to what we’re looking for, something tells me that we should just spring for a case when we find one that we really like.
Because of this particular phenomena with us and pinot noir, our search for the next good one sort of becomes an exercise in futility, with more “ehs” than “yeahs!” and more disappointments than fulfillment. Just for the record, it was still a good wine.
Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: Because purchasing this pinot was a last minute thing, dinner at home was not the ideal pairing for the wine. What the heck though, we just wanted pinot. We had it with wilted arugula, roasted pears and pan roasted chicken breasts with a miso, mustard glaze/sauce concoction. Not a bad pairing, but a riesling would’ve been better.
Try this wine with savory and earthy dishes. Duck? Grilled vegetables? Salmon or ahi steaks with herbs?
Winery Background: I don’t know much about the estate or the proprietors. We bought this wine because I remember tasting it during a distributor function and liking it. Keller Estate’s production centers around pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and syrah.
The business is run by Ana Keller, a second generation family member and the wines are made by Ross Cobb, who spent some time at Williams Seylem and Ferrari Carano before landing at Keller. Cobb also makes wine with his father under the Cobb Wines label. If you have an old-world palate and an appreciation for Burgundy, this wine will probably agree with you. I look forward to tasting their other wines in the future.