2005 Chula Vina Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Chula Vina Vineyard
California: Monterey County
What We Say
SPECIAL ALERT: Cima Collina and The Wine Spies are teaming up to fight breast cancer! For every bottle that you purchase today, * Cima Collina will donate $1* and The Wine Spies will donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thank you Cima Collina and thank you, dear reader, for your support!
TOP SECRET SPECIAL: This wine does not carry the kind of discount that our Field Agents are used to but know this: This is an extremely high-value wine, even at its full retail price of $28. To help our agents save a bit of their hard earned spy bucks, were offering this wine with Free Shipping on orders of THREE or more bottles. Use the promotion code SPYSHIP during checkout.
Mission Codename: Playing hard to get
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure Cima Collina’s stellar single-vineyard Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Cima Collina
Wine Subject: 2005 Chula Viña Pinot Noir
Winemakers: Annette Hoff
For more than a month, Agent Red had tried and failed to bring us Cima Collina’s vineyard-designate Chula Viña. Wine Spies HQ gave him one final chance to land this exceptional Monterey County Pinot Noir from fabled lady winemaker Annette Hoff. Read the mission report below to see how he finally managed to snare this great wine!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful plumy pink with clear sparkling edges
Smell – Dark cherry, toasty oak, starfruit (unusual in a Pinot Noir but certainly there!) and a mild spiciness
Feel – Very wet and somewhat cool with wonderfully soft tannins at the front of the tongue
Taste – With flavors of cherry and dark red plum, this wine has a perfectly balanced sweet fruit and tartness without the massive gunpowder that keeps some people away from California Pinot Noir.
Finish – This wine has a nice long finish with fruit-to-tart that tapers off slowly
Conclusion – Wow, am I happy that I finally scored this GREAT Monterey Pinot Noir! It blows my mind that this is a $28 wine (Wine Spies price, $23!). I blind-tasted it right alongside a $43 Monterey Pinot from another winery (I promise, we’ll never sell that wine here) and, hands down, the Cima Collina was better. With our Free Shipping on 3 bottles offer, I recommend that you stock up.
Annette began her winemaking career in Napa Valley under Winemaker Bill Dyer at Sterling Vineyards. In 1994 Hoff was chosen to oversee the winery’s in-house, yet self-running experimental winery. She move south in 1996 to Carneros and Saintsbury Vineyards where she took the enology position and confirmed what she’d always known: Pinot Noir was her first love.
Her fondness for Pinot drove her west, far west, in 1998 when she went to New Zealand to undertake a study of that country’s approach to Pinot Noir production working at various wineries in a freelance fashion. But it was only a few months when Estancia called and asked Annette to become the winery’s Pinot Noir Winemaker in Monterey. So, she headed west, back to the states, where she discovered a region she became convinced could be Pinot Noir and winemaking heaven. In 2004 Richard Lumpkin went looking for a winemaker as passionate about the Monterey wine region as he had become. He found Annette and asked her to manage Cima Collina and make the wines. It was the chance to apply her knowledge of winemaking and enthusiasm for artisan wine from the ground up. Annette released her first Cima Collina wines in 2005.
Not every mission goes as smoothly as I would like them to. While this particular mission did not go horribly awry, it did take me an awfully long time to complete.
I first learned of Cima Collina wines from an Asset of mine, a private informant that has alerted me to more than a few great Monterey-area wines. This Asset, we’ll call him ‘_Monte_’, sent me an alert on my SpyComm device and told me to rush to try what he called Cima Collina’s ‘perfect pinot’. Included in the alert was all of the intel he had gathered on the wine, the winemaker, the vineyard and the winery. Everything sounded impressive and I trusted Monte’s judgment, so I headed to their tasting room in the village of Carmel-by-the-sea, a few miles south of Monterey.
While I pride myself on a good sense of direction, Carmel initially proved a difficult place for me. The town uses no street addresses! Instead, people navigate their way around by heading to ‘addresses’ like, “The West side of San Carlos, between Ocean and 7th, in the Paseo Courtyard, behind Kocek Jewelers”, which happens to be the Cima Collina tasting room. Well, after a few mis-turns, I finally found the tasting room, which also houses a lovely gallery where the works of local artist are on display. On tasting the wine, I was immediately impressed and knew that I should procure an allotment for our Operatives. I got the business card of the manager of the winery, and was on my way.
Rather than place the winery under further surveillance, I decided to take a more direct approach and simply ask for the wine. Sounds simple, right? Well, after extended rounds of phone-tag, I decided to visit Cima Collina at a then-upcoming tasting event in downtown Monterey. There were many wineries at this particular event and when I found the Cima Collina table, it was mobbed. After fighting my way to the front, I introduced myself to the Winemaker and explained my plight. She was sympathetic and told me to keep trying. She explained that her wines were very popular and that they had been inundated with purchase requests. So, I kept trying. And kept missing. Then at another wine event, I met the hard-to-pin-down manager himself. Because he was so busy at the event, he asked me to keep trying him.
More of the same ensued and then, finally, just yesterday we actually spoke on the phone – and we simply and jovially arranged to secure some of this fabulous Pinot Noir for our Operatives. Busy wineries don’t get that way without a reason. A busy winery is usually a sign that something special is going on. In the case of Cima Collina, it was all about their fantastic Chula Viña Pinot Noir, and this one is my favorite!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Chula Viña vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo
a tip of the spyshades to new Operative Agent L.W. for spying our new mapping system!
Wine Spies Technical Analysis :
Vineyards: 100% Chula Viña Vineyards
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 10 Months in French Oak Barrelt, 27% new
pH : 3.5 0
TA: 6.7 5
Bottled: August 24, 2006
Production: 1891 Cases
Winemaker: Annette Hoff
Suggested Retail Price: $28
Release Date: November, 2006
What the Winery Says
Awards & Reviews
98 Points – JustWinePoints.com
Cima Collina 2005 Pinot Noir Chula Vina Vineyard – Monterey County $28
87 Points – Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine
Cima Collina Pinot Noir Chula Viña Vineyard Monterey County 2005
It carries a touch of juniper in its dark cherry, richly oaked aromas and is medium-full in body with a noticeable edge of latter palate acidity tightening its finish without cutting off its mid-volume flavors
About Cima Collina
Cima Collina produces artisan wines from small Monterey vineyards. The idea of an “artisan wine” is the partnership with growers who meticulously cultivate vineyards, the insistence on using only carefully chosen fruit, and the creation of wine on a barrel-by-barrel basis.
The focus on Monterey vineyards is an acknowledgement that this region is now and will continue to produce wines that are interesting, compelling and unique. Many factors conspire to make this a truly gifted region for growing grapes, from the cool maritime climate, well-drained soils and the energy of our winemaking colleagues a dynamic renaissance is currently underway in our region.
We invite you try the wines of Cima Collina as well as the other wines of the Monterey Wine Country we are confident will meet your highest expectations.
The Chula Vina Vineyard is located on a protected bench in the eastern hills overlooking the Salinas Valley. While the cooling fog keeps Chula Vina fruit from ripening too quickly, its protected location assures the strong ocean-influenced winds do not stunt the vines’ progress. In combination with the warm afternoon sun, these factors provide a setting for the cultivation of stunning fruit. Grapes ripen slightly quicker on this side of the valley attaining a robust, complex character.
Everything about this wine was handmade in our minimalist approach. After an initial sorting, we fermented the grapes in small, open-top bins that were punched down two to three times daily to extract color, flavor and complexity. The wine was pressed off into oak barrels of which 27% were new. There it rested for 14 months before bottling.
Purely Pinot Noir in character, the wine shows off black cherry and plum aromas that return in the flavor. Notes of toasted cedar, smoke and spice are well integrated into the wine. The balance and complexity of this new wine is achieved in large part from its velvety tannins and apparent structure that we believe is a critical component of fine Monterey Pinot Noir.