Otter Cove Winery
2006 Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Cedar Lane Vineyards
California: Monterey County: Santa Lucia Highlands
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Spy Thai
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Place Monterey County winemaker, Richard Oh, under close surveillance and determine the quality of his wines. If Wine Spies-worthy, return with a quantity of Otter Cove wines for our Operatives to enjoy
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Otter Cove Wines
Wine Subject: 2006 Pinot Noir
Winemakers: Richard Oh
While undercover on a recent mission in Monterey county, I stopped for lunch at the Siamese Bay Thai Restaurant. On entering I quickly spied the wines on the wine rack and I noticed that each table had a placard touting Otter Cover wines by the glass. I sat, ordered lunch and found the Otter Cove Pinot to be so good that I requested a formal mission work-up from Wine Spies HQ. Below, you will find my complete mission briefing.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Crystalline rose with clear edging and shimmering pink highlights
Smell – Cherry, bubblegum and the softest-subtle gunpowder, with clove and spice
Feel – Initially wet and warm all over the mouth then a nice tannic bite at the tip of the tongue
Taste – Leather-smoked dark cherry with strawberry. Fruit-forward but with a classic Pinot Noir Character
Finish – Medium dry with sweet & sour cherry at the back of the mouth
Conclusion – Another great Monterey Pinot, this time from small but great producer, Otter Cove and winemaker, Richard Oh. I was very pleasantly surprised by this wine and I recommend that you try this pinot side-by-side with a Napa or Sonoma pinot if you want an education on the differences. I enjoyed this wine with Thai Basil Chicken, and again a day later with cheesy penne pasta with tomato sauce. Fantastic!
On my recommendation Wine Spies HQ issued me a mission directive to place Richard Oh, winemaker and owner of Otter Cove Wines, under direct surveillance. I had done enough deep background work to know that this mission would be a fairly easy one to accomplish.
Richard Oh’s Otter Cove Wines can be found at several great Monterey area restaurants and I learned that Richard himself could often be found frequenting one particular restaurant, The Siamese Bay Thai restaurant in Downtown Monterey.
I had my advance team stake the place out and I found that Richard took lunch there most Thursday’s and usually at the peak times, when there was usually a wait for a seat. I used this knowledge to my advantage and, on a Thursday, waited in my car, across the street, waiting for Richard to arrive. After he went inside, I followed a few minutes later.
The restaurant was packed. Noticing that he was seated alone at a table for two I gingerly asked him if I he would mind sharing his table with me. He politely obliged and when the waiter took my order, I added, “And please bring me a glass of the Otter Cove Pinot Noir”. Richard did his best to hide his amusement and I tried my best to ignore that.
The wine arrived and I sniffed deeply. Despite the big aromas of Thai spices in the air, the wine came through and it smelled great. I swirled, looked and sniffed some more. Richard, doing a great job of acting nonchalant, seemed to be growing anxious for me to take my first sip. I took my time, sniffing, swirling some more.
“Aren’t you going to try the wine?”, he Asked.
Looking somewhat absent-minded, I said, “Oh. Yes, in a moment. I am enjoying the smells.”
“Wine drinker, are you?”
“Sort of,” I lied.
When I finally took a sip, there was no lying in my reaction. I loved the wine and I made the fact plainly obvious.
“What do you think?”, he asked me.
“You make great wine, Richard.”
“Why, thank you… Agent…. ‘Red’ I presume?”
It seems that my advance team had accidentally revealed themselves a few days earlier – and that Richard Oh, master winemaker, had anticipated my arrival.
If Richard were not so good at his own craft, I’d recruit him to work in ours. He’d have made a great Wine Spy!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
Cedar Lane Vineyard is located in the Arroyo Seco AVA east of Greenfield in the Salinas Valley. This cool and windy site with sandy cobblestone soil grows wines of unique character. It is owned by three local families and farmed by neighboring fourth generation Salinas Valley farmer Michael Griva. Attention to detail and working with the winemaking customers if the hallmark of this team. The vineyard is planted to small blocks(less than 3 acres each) of several varieties with numerous clone and rootstock combinations within each variety. This spice rack approach allows for great complexity and helps the basic character of the vineyard predominate in the resulting wines.
The location of the Vineyard is Top Secret, but the great restaurant where the above mission took place is not. The Siamese Bay Thai Restaurant can be seen in this satellite photo
Wine Spies Technical Analysis:
Bottling Date: July 20, 2007
Months in Barrel: 10 months
Release Date: October 20, 2007
Time In Oak: 10 months
Varietal: Pinot Noir
What the Winery Says
Owner and Winemaker Richard Oh
We produce wines with Monterey County grapes. We were able to bring some great tasting wines to Monterey and beyond. We pride ourselves with quality products at a great price. We are a local group of wine makers and consultants seeking to bring great joy to others by producing what nature gave us. We can’t think of a better way to share stories, dinner, tastings, laughter, love, and romance than over a bottle of wine… Otter Cove wine, that is.
2006 Pinot Noir, Monterey
The grapes are from Cedar Lane Vineyards, Monterey. They are aged in French oak barrels for 10 months with 30% new oak. What a great wine from start to finish. It’s medium body with nice spices and cloves. The finish with its velvety suppleness will leave your mouth wanting more.