Here are my winery notes. Pardon the typos.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Well, Sonoma to Plymouth is two hours of driving but it was worth it as the first ever Noceto Winemaker’s dinner was that night at Taste. I went back to the bakery from Tuesday and picked up two fantastic boxes of baked goods and awaited the arrivial of the relatives and friends. We had coffee and baked goods as a tailgate and on the trip to Amador. I took Hwy 50 from Sac and then got off at the exit for Latrobe Road. We were taking that through the rolling hills to Old Sacramento Road, but the sign was down and we went to Hwy 16 then 49 into Plymouth. No bother at all. I recommend Latrobe to Old Sac Road to go into Plymouth. It’s better and more scenic than Hwys 16 and 49.
We drove out immediately to Noceto. I had hoped for an early start and sneaking into Dobra Zemlja’s quickly first, but it was too much to ask for. We got to Noceto at 11 as planned and went into the Tasting room. Bobby, the middle child of Jim and Suzy Gullett, was waiting and asked as I walked in, “Are you the Steve Jones from Cellar Tracker and the subinsignia guy from Woot?” I answered warily, “Well, it depends what I wrote.” We all got a chuckle and Bobby poured us a Pinot Grigio as he called Kevin O’Neil who was to be our guide. We got to talking about the new PG and also sampled the Rosato as Kevin made his way to the Tasting Room. We took our glasses as he arrived and made our way out into the vineyard. Kevin gave us a tour of these classic grape vines as we marched our way up to the winery. What an education in grapes! We talked bout the vines, water retention, the phyloxeria in the neighbors’ grapes that caused replanting, harvesting, crush, pruning, etc, etc. It was really fun to listen and ask questions. As we got to the winery, Kevin described the crush and fermentation processes in detail. My family and friends we enthralled. And then we got into the barrel room.
Kevin got out the wine thief and looked for wine for us to sample.
2008 Rick Johnson northern block. It was rosey and fruity while the second sample was dark and closed; the second was from the South vineyard, right next door. There was a very striking contrast. This is the sangio that goes into the Reward Ranch bottling.
2008 Noce Knoll was next. Dark and supple, this huge wine is a great one made in the tradition of its’ Brunello cousins. It is going to be a great one!
2007 Rick Johnson blended wine was sampled next, with a nice nutty aroma and beautiful flavors.
2007 Dos Oakies barrel was next, another intense, beautiful great big wine.
2007 Hillside was elegant in its’ youth. Kevin commented he felt this Hillside block made wines that would age like fine Pinot Noirs.
2007 OGP Zin was the next barrel, actually three barrels. Here he wanted to demonstrate variation between barrels. The first was deep and complex. The second was all fruit while the third was in between. He put the first in with the third remaining in our glasses and the wine transformed into something even better. Then the second went in with the other two and all 8 of us said, “Wow!” Surely no scientific but certainly close to that and fun.
2008 sangio from Hollister, CA, a new component to the Normale. It is very close in fruitiness but lacked the spice that comes from some Noceto blocks. That will be factored in when bottled in a just over a year or so.
So we made our way after this back to the tasting room. We were a little in awe at this point but we were treated very well due to the Gullett’s generosity. So here are my tasting room notes:
2008 Pinot Grigio. Intense, fruity, rich. A spectacular addition to the line. 88+ points.
2007 Rosato di Sangiovese. Bright and rosey colored, the sangio flavor comes through a perfect summer quencher. 87 points.
NY Nutz! Red Wine. Barbera and sangiovese blended into an Itlainesque style of every day wine. Perfect for quaffing. $99 a case for Big Nut members- what a deal. 87 points.
2006 Noceto Regular “Normale” Sangiovese. Bright ripe cherries and musky earth with good hints of spice make the 2006 a winner and perhaps the best regular bottling I’ve had. This is a winner. 89-90 points.
2006 Misto Sangiovese. The chianti field blend, with malvasia and trebbiano white grapes mixed in. What a great little wine with complexity. Lots of the Hillside block in this one. Beautiful and truly in a chianti style! 90 points.
2006 Hillside Sangiovese. Soft, spicy and elegant. A beautiful rosiness along with their trademark sangio flavors. 91+ points.
2006 Reward Ranch Sangiovese. Rich, dark, fruity. Exceptional wine. 91 points.
2006 Riserva Sangiovese. Beuatiful juice. A wine that is musical in it’s rich yet subtle flavors. 91+ points.
2006 Dos Oakies Sangiovese. Soft but intense. A super and ig sangio that was truly amazing. 92+ points.
2006 Marmellata Sangiovese. Named for marmalade in Italian. This is hugely fruit forward and flavorful. I always love this and the Dos Oakies. 92 points.
2005 Linsteadt Barbera. A nice barb that is drinking well and flavorful. 89 points.
2006 Lindsteadt Barbera. Another wow wine. Darker, richer, more intense. A really nice barb! 92 points.
2006 OGP Zinfandel. Better than the 2004, too. Big, luscious, wonderful wine. 93+ points.
2006 Mistura 180 Degrees Selection. Now Petite Siurah and Alicante BOuschet make up 55% of this wine to make the flavors more recognizable, but the 45% Portuguese varietals are always fun and interesting. Dark, brooding, interesting. Great fruitiness and flavors. 91 points.
Almirante Port. Named by a fellow Big Nut, this “Admiral” of ports is truly great. 92 points. A tanwy is being aged up the barrel, too. Woowee!
2006 Noce Knoll. We missed this somehow and went back. It is not released and not ready yet. Dark and brooding, the flavors are not settled. No score yet.
2008 Frivolo. If you don’t like this moscato then you would have to be dead. Flavorful light and just fantastic. We drank the 2007 for our toast at our wedding last year. 89+ points.
I wanted to go back and retaste but we were starved as it was after 2 PM by now! What great hospitality. We were really humbled by the Noceto folks. They spent over 3 hours educating us and allowing use to get a truly inside view of the winery. Many thanks to them!