Wednesday, June 3, 2009

2005 BearBoat Pinot Noir

Type Red
Producer BearBoat
Variety Pinot Noir
Country USA
Region California
SubRegion Sonoma County
Appellation Russian River Valley
Price $24 in Indianapolis, IN

The Little Wooden Guy present a pretty good Russian River Pinot for less than $30.

Night One

The nose opened, right after the cork was pulled, with some funk. A few minutes later,after it blew off, red fruit predominated, with several secondary aromas. Cranberries, cherry pits, and some barely ripe wild strawberries took the lead. Pine needles, sage, and a touch of cocoa hovered in the background.

The palate opens with a tsunami of unsweetened, and unsweet, red fruit. Have you ever had unsweetened cranberries? How about tiny wild strawberries, or those little clear native cherries? It's all in there, along with some marjoram and sage. A bit of cocoa and black tea make an appearance on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are both strong, the acids sharp, the tannins like new leather. They do seem to compete with each other and with the fruit, but might settle down on Night Two.

Stick around for Night Two, because this is a darned good Russian River Pinot, something you just don't find under $30 these days.

Night Two

The nose on Night Two is far more muted than on Night One. On Night One, it reached out of the glass to climb up your nose. On Night Two, though, you have to reach your nose into the glass to find everything it had to offer. It has plenty of red fruit, cherries, less cranberry, some sweet pomegranate, but it also has other aromas, including pencil lead, red licorice and cardamom.

The palate is also far more sedate than on Night One. On Night One, I called it "a tsunami" of red fruit. On Night Two, it is more like a slowly rising tide, loads of fruit, but softer, more full, and sneaking up on you. The fruit is more ripe, Bing cherries instead of native cherries, ripe strawberries instead of wild ones. Pomegranate is added to the mix, and cranberries add some tartness and acid to balance out the riper fruits. The cranberries become a little more dominant on the mid-palate, where they are joined by some graphite, marjoram, and cardamom. Tannins are still firm, but better integrated, offering a memory of leather, rather than a mouthful of it. The finish is quite long.


This is a $20 Pinot? No, you won't mistake it for a great Burgundy, but I dare you to pick it out from a table full of $50 California and Oregon selections.

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Steve said...

I know this might not fit your theme (which I heartily enjoy!), but when you're tasting these $20-$30 Pinots, I wish you'd compare them to a similarly priced Burgundy (like a Faiveley Mercurey).

I've seldom found any American Pinot Noir that I enjoy as much as a Burgundy at the same price point.

dhonig said...


Interesting thought. As a general rule, I try to let each review stand on its own, rather than compare one wine, or one wine region, to another. That said, I have to agree with your last statement, though to find either in the $20 price range (or even the $30, though they start to improve there) that you can enjoy is a rare treat.

Alan Kropf said...

I really dig your blog, this is my first time visiting and I really like the vision of trying a bottle 2 nights in a row, though I'm surprised it was more muted on the second night???

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New Hampshire Wineman said...

BearBoat2006 Pinot was quite good too!
I paid $14.99.
The axiom that "what is good to you, no matter the price, is good", holds true.
With the economy the way it is, we're fortunate to drink a "good" wine at all.
This is my first visit, and Newbie that I am, your descriptors are mind spinning, but thanks, as they force me to be more in-tune.
Dennis aka NHWineman