One week of agonizing respiratory infection is finally over and I can now enjoy my tea and wine properly again. I have been craving for the softness and suppleness of Pinot Noir. However, it was not meant to be.
When I purchased the 2004 Adelaida Cellar Pinot Noir, somehow I missed reading the "Paso Robles" designation that comes after the "Santa Lucia Mountain Range". I feel that Paso Robles is not the right place for the Pinot Noir variety -- the area is too hot -- and it shows in this bottling.
On the other hand, I have had a number of Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, a viticultural area within the cool and beautiful Monterey County (80+ miles north of Paso Robles), and they have always been superbly balanced on the side of being feminine and earthy. Some of the more memorable wines are from the well known Pisoni vineyards.
2004 Adelaida Cellar Pinot Noir, HMR Estate vineyard, Santa Lucia Mountain Range, Paso Robles (14.2%, $27)
Deep and vibrant garnet color. Beautiful nose of ripe cherries, red berries, salty plums with hints of earthiness and dark chocolate. Full bodied, opulent and intense. Seems too overdone and alcoholic for a pinot noir and the wine seems to have been singed by excessive heat in the vineyards. Finishes with bitter dark chocolate. Ripe, grainy tannins. A complex and layered wine, but it tastes more like a syrah (pinot on steroids?). Not my kind of pinot. 2 stars (mg).
I feel that Paso Robles hot(ter) climate affected this wine detrimentally. It simply is too bombastic for a Pinot Noir. It could have easily passed as a Central Coast Syrah or Grenache wine if tasted blindly.
From the winery's website
Pinot Noir HMR Estate 2004
The historic HMR Vineyard is located in the hills west of Paso Robles at an elevation of 1,700 feet. Planted in 1964, it is the oldest pinot vineyard throughout the entire South Central Coast of California, encompassing San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, its unique microclimate benefits from cooling marine breezes. The Burgundian-like, fractured calcareous soils give the wine a complex element of terroir-focused flavors.
HMR wines have received much acclaim for over three decades. The "Maestro," Andre Tchelistcheff loved the wines from HMR, particularly the Pinot Noir. Since 1994, Adelaida Cellars has owned this prized vineyard, one that truly has earned its place in the annals of California wines.
A few swirls reveal the classic mélange of cherry fruit accented by Asian spice and exotic tea aromas. The HMR Pinot Noir is a more feminine pinot characteristically due to the influence of its limestone infected terroir. Like a French Volnay, its restrained delicacy of fruit makes it a perfect companion for grilled salmon, braised rabbit or Coq au Vin.
I beg to differ with the winery's "feminine" characterization. Tomboy-ish is probably closer to being right.