11th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout Blanc de Noirs and Brut Roses

11th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout Results
Scores: Women Judges
Scores: Women Judges Bang for Your Buck
Scores: Men Judges
Scores: Men Judges Bang for Your Buck
Sparkling Wines

Breathless Brut
Sonoma County, $25.00
750 cases produced
Female: Slight hint of salmon color indicating nicely proportioned pinot noir with this wines chardonnay component. Fine bead with lovely mid palate of mandarin orange & pink lady apple. Zesty and racy on the finish with well placed acidity that balances the fruit component on the palate with precision. Lots of room for this wine to evolve further. 92
Male: An elegant nose combines a nice balance of light toasty lees with distinctive green and red apple. Palate is fresh and alive with a combination of citrus, orange peel, and apricot. Finish is nicely proportioned to the palate with sleek acids that cleanse and refresh the palate. 90
Breathless Brut Rose
Sonoma County, $32.00
300 cases produced
Female: This wines dramatic ruby accented blush color leads to aromatics of raspberry, fresh strawberry and dried cherry followed by lighter notes of yeasty lees. Palate is nicely defined by a combination of young strawberry and cherry. There is just enough acidity to carry the depth of fruit. 89
Male: Dramatic color leads to lovely aromatics of fresh strawberry with back notes of cherry and raspberry that replicate nicely on the palate. Depth of fruit is balanced by well placed acidity and shows nice potential for further bottle development for this wine. 90
Breathless Blanc de Noirs
Sonoma County, $30.00
300 cases produced
Female: Well developed lees and toast combine nicely with red fruit, orange peel and earth. Palate shows a substantial Pinot Noir character balanced by distinctive citrus notes and baked apple. A lovely finish brings you back for more. 93
Male: A lovely salmon color displays nicely the serious Pinot Noir pedigree of this wine. Toasty lees and yeast meld with red fruit on nose. A lively and persistent bead. A fruit profile of nice complexity combines strawberry, fresh cherry and a touch of raspberry with red apple. There is a creaminess to the finish that is balanced nicely by lively acidity. The whole package. 91
Chandon Blanc de Noirs Pinot Noir
California, $22.00
Female: Lighter red fruits of cherry and young strawberry combine nicely with ripe apple on the nose. There is nice depth to the palate combining spiced red apple and fresh green apple followed by a touch of cherry. A nicely proportioned wine that finishes fresh and crisp. 90
Male: A golden straw with some lighter salmon tones lead to aromas of fresh baked bread and Bing cherry. Palate is generous and satisfying with spiced apple, cranberry and rhubarb. There is nice structure and ample acidity to keep it balanced and fresh on the finish. 90
Domaine Carneros 2008 Brut
Carneros, $27.00
Female: A lovely golden color with a hint of red fruit presence glistens in the glass with an active bead. Fuji apple and spiced pear followed by lighter cherry and fresh strawberry create a lovely fruit profile. There is a hint of lemon that nicely complements the long finish that cleanses the palate with its lively acidity. 91
Male: A sophisticated and complex aromatic profile is shaped by notes of spiced apple, dried cherry, and refined lees. Bead is lively and generous. A well proportioned mid palate profile offers up fresh apple and pear with fresh strawberry defining the red fruit presence. A richly generous finish is framed by lovely balance and a refined acidity. Beautifully crafted. 93
Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut
Cava, $19.00
1800 cases produced
Female: A beautiful, brilliant rose colored hue to the color. Forest floor and ripe cherry meld together with a touch of baked bread and candied orange peel on the nose. Slightly tart cherry combine with light strawberry on the palate. The finish carries nicely with a combination of acidity and minerality. 88
Male: A spiced raspberry compote with evidence of light lees, dill, and forest floor combine on the nose. There is a richness to the palate comprised of ripe cherry balanced by dried cranberries. It offers a long expressive finish with a touch of creaminess and light minerality. 90
Gloria Ferrer 2007 Brut Rose
Carneros, $42.00
2470 cases produced
Female: Strawberry, raspberry and watermelon combine with the noticeable toast and lees on the nose. Fresh blast of strawberry with cranberry notes define palate. Well made. 91
Male: An enticing combination of lees development and complex fruit showcase the aromatics and lead to an elegant palate of well proportioned and and richly layered red fruit. A long, well defined finish lingers and then cleanses with lots of crisp acidity. Superb quality. 94
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs
Carneros, $22.00
28000 cases produced
Female: A nicely balanced combination of toasty lees and strawberry with light apple define the attractive aromatics. A richly textured palate of red fruit and apple lead to a long finish precisely balanced by lovely acidity. 93
Male: A toasted brioche and yeasty notes combine nicely with a complex palate defined by fresh strawberry and raspberry with lite peach and citrus notes. A precise and complex finish with near perfect acidity creates a wine that is a joy to drink. 91
Gruet Blanc de Noirs
Lower Rio Grande Valley, $25.00
40000 cases produced
Female: Fresh picked strawberry combine with touches of apple and citrus on the nose. A nicely woven palate of strawberry followed by green apple. A solid presence of minerality and acidity complete this wine nicely. 90
Male: The red fruit character of Pinot Noir speaks nicely here as lighter strawberry and fresh cherry combine with restrained lees notes of light toast and spice. The aromatics translate nicely to the palate with some added tropical notes behind the red fruit. Palate is bright and fresh giving this wine a balance and finish that is truly enjoyable. 91
Handley Cellars 2006 Estate Brut Rose
Anderson Valley, $40.00
613 cases produced
Female: A nose of sweet orange blossom and ripe raspberry combine with toasted nuts and well developed lees. A richly textured palate of cherry and ripe citrus notes along with a yeasty component fill out the mouthfeel. Just enough acidity to carry the depth and weight of this unique sparkler. 90
Male: Dramatic lees and yeasty brioche heading towards an almost old world cremant style make this an alluring wine. Nicely textured mid palate of well developed red fruit comprised of ripe cherry and warm raspberry with toasted hazelnuts and a hint of honey. Acidity is still complementing the well developed character of this wine. Enjoy this wine in the next 6 months perhaps with ripe apple and pear with some robust blue cheese. 91
Isidors Choice 2009 Blanc de Noirs
Leelanau Peninsula, $22.50
500 cases produced
Female: Expressive aromas and a very lively bead invite you to taste this wine. Lemon zest, apple and a hint of cranberry create the fruit profile for a very nice balance of fruit and acidity which provides this wines long finish with a racy freshness. Well made and fun to drink. 91
Male: Aromatics lead with a lovely combination of ripe red apple and lighter lemon peel-grapefruit notes that are nicely touched by light yeast-brioche notes. Fruit profile from nose translates to flavor profile. Lean and restrained with great acidity. A truly outstanding effort from the upper reaches of Michigan. 88
Laetitia 2009 Méthode Champenoise Brut de Noirs
Arroyo Grande Valley, $28.00
459 cases produced
Female: Aromas of freshly baked bread with a touch of cinnamon. A unique palate of red fruit combines with spiced apple and blanched almonds. Lively acidity accent the precise, fresh finish. 92
Male: Toast and spice combine with ripe strawberry and lite fresh apple on the nose. Nicely layered and complex mid palate of cherry and raspberry are woven together before finishing fresh and bright with a touch of well placed minerality. 90
Roederer Estate Brut
Anderson Valley, $23.00
80000 cases produced
Female: A very refined bead leads to aromatics of apple and lemon zest accented by a sweet spice. The palate if full and satisfying offering up a nicely evolved combination of citrus and light cherry and youthful raspberry. Finishes nicely but would benefit nicely from a bit more acidity. 88
Male: Spiced apple and tangerine meld nicely with a toasty lees component on the nose. Nice depth mid-palate with noted citrus and dried cherries. The generous finish carries just enough acidity to balance out nicely. All in all a very nicely made wine. 91
Scharffenberger Brut Excellence
Mendocino, $20.00
25000 cases produced
Female: A persistent bead opens up to aromas of citrus, apple, and yeasty lees elements. Generous apple and a touch of cinnamon fill out the palate. Finish is fresh and lively with a very refined sense of old world sophistication. 90
Male: Bright Fuji apple and spice weigh nicely with a distinct lees presence to create a very attractive aromatic. Baked apple and lighter red fruit of young strawberry and dried cranberry define the palate. There is enough acidity that restrains the whole experience and carries the depth of fruit nicely. 91
Schramsberg 2008 Blanc de Noirs
North Coast, $39.00
12,750 cases produced
Female: All of the elements found in well heeled methode champenoise wine are found in the nose including lees and toast with hints of almond and toffee. Fruit profile speaks of ripe apple and spiced pears with a richly structured finish that balances nicely at the end. Blanc de Noirs with lots of Chardonnay character but you can't argue with the pleasure it delivers. 90
Male: Color is a rather pale almost golden straw. There is a generous lees and yeast component in the nose that is evidenced before the spiced pear and hints of young cherry. The palate is lush with a fruit profile that leans more towards chardonnay characteristics of Asian spice combining with baked apple. The finish is lean and restrained which carries the lush fruit profile to a clean finish. A very interesting interpretation of Blanc de Noirs but it works well. 91
Segura Viudas Sparkling Pinot Noir
Cava, $15.00
1000 cases produced
Female: A stunning color of shimmering deep ruby. Cranberry and pomegranate with earth and minerals form a unique aromatic sense. Lots of well placed acidity frame the ripe cherry/strawberry with a touch of clove and orange peel on the palate. A long finish that carries a distinctive minerality leaves a lasting impression to this wine. 90
Male: Subtle notes of perfumed red fruit, hay, and herbs combine with a soft lees presence to define a distinctive nose. Riper tones of cherry along with orange peel and tangerine combine on the palate. A very lively finish creates the final touch to this unique and very interesting sparkling wine. A lovely complement to nuts and cheese. 88
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