What We Say 2007 Central Coast Pinot Noir
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from LaZarre Wines is truly a wine of elegance and finesse. If you are a fan of the great Pinot, this wine belongs in your cellar. In addition, our covert operatives know that this wine has been submitted for numerous awards and ratings, so get your allocation before the rest of the world discovers this tremendous wine.
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Mission Codename: Return of the Rock Star
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a limited allocation of the legendary Pinot made by Adam LaZarre
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: LaZarre Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 Central Coast Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Adam LaZarre
California’s Central Coast region, and specifically Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo County has become one of the state’s premier regions for Pinot Noir. The generally warmer climate, moderated by the coastal fog, its sandy and clay loam soil, and broad exposure results in Pinot of exceptional purity.
Adam LaZarre, while he is officially the winemaker for Villa San-Juliette Winery (and formerly from Hahn Estates and their affiliated labels) has been making super-premium, limited quantity Pinot for years and has elevated his skill to an art form. Always an operative favorite, this wine is well worth tasting.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful deep burgundy with a dark clear core that shows garnet reflections when held to the light. Along the edges the color fades gracefully from garnet to pink, and when swirled widely spaced fat lets ring the glass with a secondary ring of slow chubby legs that just hangs on the upper edge of the glass.
Smell – Youthful and redolent, with aromas of ripe and earthy red and black cherry layered over notes of cola and vanilla. Adding to the complexity, hints of mint leaves, toasted oak and a slight smokiness emerge that tempts you into taking a sip.
Feel – Seductively smooth on the initial attack this medium-to-full bodied dry wine has firm, but super-finely textured tannins and a youthful acidity that kick in mid-palate and reach the far corners of the mouth.
Taste – Soft, supple and complex flavors of earthy cherry great you immediately as you take your first sip. As this wine rolls across your palate flavors of complex exotic spice, subtle funky-earthiness and a touch of minty herbs emerge and are framed by a toasted oak and vanilla component that holds everything together.
Finish – Medium in length with lingering earthy cherry cola, spice and vanilla oak notes. This wine is extremely clean, perhaps almost too clean, in the sense that you tempted into taking another sip right away, or maybe it just tastes that good!
Conclusion – The 2007 LaZarre Central Coast Pinot Noir is a spectacular wine that shows all the polish, elegance, finesse and purity of any Premier or Grand Cru, but with the richer California fruit profile. Aromatic and inviting on the nose. Its structure perfectly holds the complex flavors and its clean finish begs for another sip. Enjoy this wine right away but if you can, stash a few bottles away for a few years to see how this one evolves. You won’t be disappointed. We paired this wine with a chicken in Pinot Noir reduction barbecue sauce crepe.
The call came in at 2AM, thinking to myself, this had better be good. Wiping my eyes, I answered the phone. The voice at the other end of the line, using a voice scramble, said to meet at the Playboy Mansion in 30 minutes, use name ‘Agent Orange’ to get in. While Hef’s place is just around the corner you just can’t show up without looking good. You never know who you might run into.
A speed record breaking shower, quick shave and I threw on my tux, grabbed my spy gear and rushed out the door. I arrived with just seconds to spare.
As always, the party was just getting started so I walked up to the extremely large doorman/bouncer and only said ‘Agent Orange’. Fully expecting a thorough ass-whooping, I tried to hide the flinch of my body as he reached out his hand.
“Right this way, sir…”, as he forcefully gestured me to enter the house. I was lead past dozens of people and carefully treaded over the many a tongue hanging out at the amazing beauty that surrounded me,.. the house silly – what were you thinking?. Thankfully, Agent Blush wasn’t there to supervise me. We reached the back yard and we walked through the gardens to the far side of the swimming pool which was full of lovely eye-candy.
Just before reaching the grotto I saw a familiar face, wearing his trademark dark sunglasses (even though it was now 2:45AM). With a big smile on his face, our good friend and winemaker extraordinaire Adam LaZarre reached out his hand and gave me a big hug.
“I thought you’d like this party”, he said as I nodded with approval at the exceptional scenery, just as I was about to ask why the late notice, Adam thrusted a glass of wine into my hand, almost splashing it onto my neatly pressed white shirt, and said “you MUST taste my new Pinot, It couldn’t wait”.
I took a long sip and trying to hide my excitement (which was already brimming, considering the location), put on the best contemplative face I could. Must not have worked very well, since he just raised up his hand in a ‘High five’ gesture and said “
REDACTED AWESOME!”. He continued, “Exclusive for your Wine Spies Operatives, if you want it, but don’t wait too long, The Rockstar is Back!, and I can’t hold it back forever you know.”
It was indeed awesome, in fact beyond awesome – perhaps one of the nicest Pinot I’ve tasted this year. As we sat there enjoying the party, we quickly polished off the stash of his amazing Pinot Noir. While I can’t get you into the Playboy Mansion, this wine is even better. Enjoy!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine
Insanely aromatic with dense, dark flavors of black cherry cola. A blend of some of the top vineyards in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
Intoxicating aromatics of clove, cinnamon, and wild berry. Black cherry cola and milk chocolate flavors that continue to expand at an insane rate after entry. Lush midpalate notes that seem sweet and glycerol as a tactile component of the tannins. There is a considerable amount of acid to support the fruit framework and pull the flavors into the back of the mouth for a period of time. This is a Pinot Noir, not Burgundian, not Californian. Just a Pinot Noir that has everything you could want from the grape. Enjoy. Rock on!
We often think of Pinot Noir as conforming to one of two distinct styles: Burgundian or Californian. So what defines either? I think I understand what people are referencing when the conversation comes up, but I don’t think that a delineation of these two “styles” is that easy to define, nor is universally applied. Generally speaking, when someone tells me a Pinot is Californian in style, I immediately understand without so much as a confirming taste that what they are saying, is that the wine is oaky, rich, and “clean” – cherry/strawberry notes without the more interesting complexities that whole cluster fermentation and reductive winemaking contribute to the aromatic and flavor profile. I hope that was as diplomatic a definition. I wouldn’t want to be on record as saying “stinky”.
In contrast, when someone tells me a wine is Burgundian, I usually take it to mean that the wine possesses aromas that are reductive, stemmy, or generally unusual and the flavors can only be described as austere. To me, that is untrue, disingenuous, and even insulting to the wines that actually originate in Burgundy. The fact is, only wines that come from Burgundy can be described as “Burgundian”. The terroir is so unique and the growing conditions so inimitable as to be almost completely irreproducible anywhere else in the world…save Oregon in certain years. Outside of that, Pinot Noir must and should be only known as Pinot Noir, without any other defining adjective outside of the descriptors that define the wine in question. Then all will be right in the world and I can get back to my favorite past time: bitching about the over-planting and subsequent over-production of Merlot. Oh, and drinking tequila. Yep. Don’t want to forget that. I love tequila.
How lucky to have made Pinot Noir in 2007. It is by all accounts the best vintage EVER for the variety on the Central Coast, maybe all of California. I can tell you with 100% certainty that the LaZarre wines of 2007 are by far the best I’ve ever made. Just remarkable. Intense. Deep. Structured. Complex. Complete. It is a blend of Sierra Madre Vineyards from the Santa Maria Valley and a famous San Luis Obispo County Pinot Vineyard that I can’t name because of contractual obligations. Nothing is simple with me. Sorry.
About The Winery:
I started LaZarre Wine Company in 2003 as a means to produce unique, small quantity releases of wines I find fascinating, particularly (but not limited to) Pinot Noirs and Pinot Blancs. As a successful veteran winemaker working for some of the most exclusive wineries on the Central Coast I get to work with some of the most remarkable vineyards in California but often have no vehicle that I can use to showcase their wines as they are normally just components in a bigger blend. LaZarre Wines gives me just such a vehicle, often producing vineyard designated or sub-appellation specific wines. Almost all are small lot and hand crafted with minimalist “winemaker intervention”. Just crush, ferment, and jam into the barrel. The strength of the wine lies in the vineyard – as it should be.
About Adam Lazarre – Winemaker
Adam LaZarre is also the man behind outstanding wines here at Villa San-Juliette Winery. Making the transition from Hahn Estates Winery in Monterey where he has been the head winemaker for the past 8 years, Adam has an impressive list of accomplishments under his belt. He has lead the nation in gold medal hauls three out of the last five years as well as Best-of-Show awards. In addition, he has been honored by the Sacramento Bee as Winemaker of the Year in 2005, and was named one of the Top Five Winemakers in 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Adam first fell in love with California wine while serving in the US Navy. At some point, his passion for the liquid became so consuming, that he enrolled in the Enology program at Fresno State University immediately upon receiving his honorable discharge. While in the department, he fell in love with the Central Coast wine growing region and chose to make it his home upon graduation. Although he has produced wines from virtually every major appellatin in California over the course of his two decade career, he truly enjoys above all else the challenges and rewards that Paso Robles wine making has to offer. While walking through the vineyards after first meeting with Ken and Nigel, it became apparent to him that Villa San-Juliette should be his new home. All of us here are excited to have Adam in charge of the team.
Winemaker: Adam LaZarre
Appellation: Central Coast
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Cases Produced: 188
Cooperage: 16 months, 30% New Center of France, 70% one year old Allier French Oak
Bottling date: June 27, 2009