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19 August 2005

Kalin Pinot: For Mature Audiences Only

Maturepinot_2Last week we delved into the Umami realm with Kalin Cellars Semillon (1995).  My friend, Steve-o went and did me one better by getting his hands on Kalin's Pinot Noir.  His impressions are that this Pinot Noir is surprisingly "big" on the nose and palette.  So much so that it was difficult to evaluate from a critical point of view.  I must concur.  This is one rich, intense motherpinot that doesn't lend itself to anything other than mind-expanding sippin'.  It is most definitely a Pinot for mature audiences only.

If you're not familiar with Kalin Cellars, read a bit more about them here and here.  The '94 Pinot Noir is sourced from Demostene Ranch of the Alexander Valley (Sonoma).  Apparently, this vineyard is home to the oldest Pinot Noir plantings in the region.  So what does Kalin do with old, gnarly Pinot vines?  Read on..

Kalinpinot_1The Skinny
Kalin Cellars Cuvée DD Sonoma Pinot Noir, 1994 ($46)

  • Somewhere between dusty red and cordovan in color with a wide rootbeer-colored rim
  • My nose was darn near overwhelmed by this vino.  It's filled with scents of earth, prunes, dates, dried herbs, mint, sasparilla/birch (as in birch beer), and caramel
  • In the mouth it is very intense.  There are "evolved" flavors of dried cherries, tobacco, orange rind, and spice.  It's a heavy-set Pinot Noir with slight tannins that gently coat the palette.  Kalin Pinot hits with a tangy attack, followed by a long rich finish - which may be just a bit hot (heavy in the alcohol department)

**** (4 stars out of 5)

The intense, slightly hot finish is my only complaint with this Pinot.  However, I think this is a minor quibble considering just how unique the wine is.  I'm now on to Kalin's Chardonnay....


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It is a potent little number, isn't it? That said, after reading about the 16.1% pinot over at Fermentations, Kalin's offering seems almost quaintly tame:

My SO and I also recently tried the Kalin 1996 Sauvignon Blanc, which tasted nearly nothing like Sauvignon Blanc - more like a CA chardonnay, with pear, fig and orange marmalade, lemon butter, honeysuckle, plus cream and smoky oak, hazelnut and caramel.

I attribute this to both its age (I'd certainly never had a 9 year old Sauvignon Blanc before) and the "CA-style" winemaking. It was a very enjoyable bottle, though certainly not what we expected. And definitely not easy to pair with food (particularly the usual suspects for Sauvignon Blanc).


I too read about the ginormous Pinot at Tom's site. Really, what's that all about? A Pinot w/ more alcohol than your average Zin??

I'm getting the feeling that Kalin's wines *need* the age. Otherwise they would bowl me over. I don't believe my wine shop carries the SB. But I am going to try the Chardonnay..


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