2006 Las Brisas Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Las Brisas Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Carneros
What We Say
WINERY EXCLUSIVE ALERT:
Mahoney allowed us special access to their winery – and we came away with a limited number of cases of their exceptional Las Brisas Pinot Noir, available only at the winery – and here!
QPR WINE ALERT:
This wine will surprise and intrigue you, with its fantastic Quality to Price Ratio (QPR). We don’t often offer such deep discounts on such great wines, so if you love great Pinot Noir, be sure to take advantage
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Mission Codename: Like the wind
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Mahoney Vineyards and retrieve their closely-held Las Brisas Carneros Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mahoney Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Carneros Pinot Noir – Las Brisas Vineyard
Vineyard: Mahoney Ranch Vineyard
Winemaker: Ken Foster
Backgrounder: The Carneros region, which straddles Napa and Sonoma Counties, is famous for producing incredible wines. Particularly Pinot Noir. We first fell in love with Mahoney Pinot Noir when we first met them last year. Today, we are thrilled to bring you their winery-only 2006 Las Brisis Pinot Noir. Today’s Mahoney Pinot is the finest that Agent Red has sampled. Take advantage of this very special offer. Today’s wine will never be available outside of the winery again. Read Agent Red’s tasting profile and mission report to learn what makes today’s wine so fantastic
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet, with sparkling edges and a perfect clarity through its slightly darker heart. When swirled, the wine shows a tightly springy surface that settles fast, leaving behind wide-spaced cluster of skinny legs that move streak down the sides of the glass
Smell – Lush and warm with bright red fruits of ripe Bing cherry, raspberry and smoky cranberry, with darker mixed berries, soft leather, soft spice and soft gunpowder
Feel – Round and silky up front, then wet and tender on the mid-palate where soft tannins gently grip in with a soft minerality
Taste – Balanced and delicious with ripe red cherry and strawberry leading the way. These flavors linger as smoky and dark mixed berries mingle with soft oak, softest spice, leather and minerals also make subtle appearances
Finish – A long and full finish that starts off sweet and then tails off to slightly tart, with dusky fruit flavors that go on and on
Conclusion – This is a fantastic Pinot Noir from one of our favorite Carneros Pinot producers. With this wine, Mahoney shows us a more richly complex Pinot Noir than we have tasted from them previously. I must say, that I was in love at first sniff. This wine shows plenty of great character, all enveloped within great fruit and a lush feel. This is a flexible wine that is a perfect solo-sipper – but is also extremely food friendly. We enjoyed our review bottles with a plate of fruit and assorted cheeses. The wine held up perfectly, complimenting – and being complimented by – our delicious snack. Neither overpowered the other. If you are a lover of really fine Pinot Noir, this wine gets a very enthusiastic Wine Spies recommendation!
Prior Mission Recap:
The following is a retransmission of our original mission to Mahoney Vineyards, in which Agent Red first becomes acquainted with the winery. On this previous mission, he discovered Mahoney’s Haire Vineyard Pinot. He like that wine, but loves today’s Mahoney Las Brisas Pinot Noir even more.
I make no bones about it, I sometimes find Agent White’s discussions on upgrading our W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) system, frightfully boring. The W.I.N.E. system is our proprietary and top secret system that, in simple terms, assists us in finding superior wines for our Operatives.
Making my way to the computer lab, I took a deep breath and braced myself for another of Agent White’s endless soliloquy’s.
Agent White was grinning widely. A bad sign to be sure.
“Ready to begin?” he asked.
“Uh, sure,” I lied.
“I’ve been working on a new algorithm that will make it easier to determine the likelihood that future vintages of particular wines will be better than previous vintages.”
“Wonderful,” I said. “Sounds great! Let me know know how that turns out.”
“Let S be any finite set, ƒ be any function from S to itself, and x0 be any element of S. For any i > 0, let xi = ƒ(xi−1). Let μ be the smallest index such that the value xμ reappears infinitely often within the sequence of values xi, and let λ (the loop length) be the smallest positive integer such that xμ = xλ+μ. The cycle detection problem is the task of finding λ and μ.”
I blinked at him, suddenly realizing that the blank expression on my face probably revealed my disinterest.
He went on: "I call this my Tortoise and the hare algorithm.
‘Hare’… ‘hare’… That reminded me of a well-regarded vineyard I had recently heard of, Haire Vineyard.
Perking up, I grabbed my spy-handheld and, pretending to take notes as Agent White droned happily on. I punched in “Haire Vineyard” and set the Nexus to work. In an instant, a few wines and wineries were revealed. I narrowed my search based on my own favorite search criteria and was presented with a single result:
Mahoney Vineyards. 2004. Carneros Pinot Noir. Haire Vineyard.
As I read about the wine, I nodded and made “mmm, hmmm” sounds. The wine seemed fascinating and I logged a mission request with HQ.
I’ll spare you the rest of Agent White’s discourse. Needless to say, if it hadn’t been for his lecture, I never would have found today’s really superb Pinot Noir.
The Carneros region has consistently wowed me with its quality wine production – particularly Pinot production. Today’s wine is a beautiful example of delicious Carneros Pinot.
- end prior mission recap -
Afterword: We hope that you enjoy today’s wine, Mahoney’s 2006 Mahoney Vineyards Las Brisas Pinot Noir. It is delicious!.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
You can taste Mahoney wines at Oxbow in Napa, California, which is shown in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards and Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2009 Grand Harvest Awards
Silver Medal – 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal – 2009 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition
Silver Medal – 2009 Indiana International Wine Competition
About This Wine:
This vineyard’s name acknowledges the dependable and beneficial winds that blow through the Petaluma Gap effectively cooling the vines and prolonging the ripening period. This Pinot Noir exemplifies the purest expression of ripe red cherry fruit and spicy notes, displaying lovely texture and a harmonious sense of integration with the oak. A perfect compliment to entrées of grilled portobello mushrooms, pork, lamb or pasta dishes, and when enjoyed à la carte, this wine never fails to impress.
2006 Vintage Notes:
Regional flooding kicked off the 2006 year and heavy rains continued into spring. Bud break was delayed a few weeks, but June brought about more typical weather patterns and a mid-July heat spell helped the vines catch up to their normal ripening pace. A cooler than average August allowed the fruit to ripen a bit more slowly while developing an enhanced level of perfume and density in the fruit.
About The Winery:
Mahoney Vineyards is the culmination of 35 years of experience growing and producing wines in the Carneros region spanning the cool southern reaches of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Francis and Kathy Mahoney invite you to enjoy the uniqueness of their wines, carefully crafted in small quantities from the very best of their 160 acres of estate vineyards.
About The Founders:
Armed with the enthusiasm of a 25-year-old and confidence in California’s potential to make world-class wines, Francis Mahoney set out in 1971 with his bride, Kathy, to grow Pinot Noir and make wines that would rival red Burgundies. Undaunted by Pinot Noir’s reputation as a difficult grape to grow and vinify, Francis accepted the challenge.
He researched the elements linked with great French Pinot Noirs, noting that the Burgundians were captivated by the concept of terroir, the combined influence of climate and place on a wine. Francis found an area similar to Burgundy in Los Carneros, the appellation which lies across the southernmost portions of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Often obscured by fog and swept by breezes from San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Carneros offered cool year-round temperatures ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Francis planted Pinot Noir and began 30 years of clonal trials to better understand some of the hundreds of clonal variations of the variety. In 1972, he built a small, functional winery and set about using his best tool, a palate honed in the cellars of Burgundy during his tenure as a wine importer. The profile of superb Pinot Noir remained always in his memory, now expressed in the wines of Mahoney Vineyards. Click here to read more about Mahoney or view a timeline of his career.
About The Winemaker:
Francis Mahoney appointed Ken Foster, veteran Pinot Noir winemaker, to oversee production at Mahoney Vineyards in June, 2002. The winemaker/production manager from David Bruce winery in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, Foster had been making wine there for 15 years, helping change the focus of the winery from Chardonnay to Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Ken focused on small-lot production, emphasizing gentle handling and separation of small wine lots for potential vineyard designate as well as appellation-labeled wines.
Foster’s hiring further strengthened Mahoney’s Pinot Noir program and wine quality enhancements instituted by previous winemaker, Scott Rich, including use of small, open-top fermenters, new oak barrel regimes and small-lot processing. “Ken is the perfect person to drive our quality to new heights,” Francis remarked. “He brings a wide range of experience and a commitment to exceptional winemaking.”
Foster joined David Bruce in 1987 to work crush after undergraduate studies in geology sparked his interest in translating the qualities of a particular site into wine. During his tenure, he gained experience with Pinot Noir drawn from fifty different vineyards and a dozen appellations. “At Mahoney, it’s great to have vineyards within a 15-minute drive of the winery so I can stay on top of grapes as they develop. I also can draw on Francis’s rich history – his pioneering clonal trials and his more than three decades of experience.”
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir grown at the Las Brisas vineyard in the Carneros Appellation of Sonoma
Fruit at Harvest:
Picking Dates: Sept 19-25, 2006
Brix (average): 26.15º
T.A.: 6.75 g/L
Fermented at: 80˚- 90˚ F
Cellar Aging: 15 months in 60 gal. French oak
T.A. 0.55 g/L