POPULAR PINOT NOIRS AT SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANTS

POPULAR PINOT NOIRS AT SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANTS

 Below is a list of 25 pinot noirs that pop up on restaurant wine lists throughout San Francisco.

Mark-up over retail: $100 at the restaurant and the retail price is $45, then the mark-up over retail is 2.2x.

2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $20 at K&L Wine Merchants & $22 at Wine.com

Ratings: See below

  • $42 at Wayfare Tavern – 2.1x
  • $50 at Town Hall – 2.4x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

According to Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: ” Bright red. Fresh red berries and spices on the nose. Firm, slightly hard-edged redcurrant and cherry flavors gain flesh with air and pick up a subtle floral quality. Nicely brisk if a tad firm, with good finishing clarity and bite.” (Nov/Dec 10) And from Wine & Spirits: “High-toned cherry and strawberry fruit ride above this wine’s ample texture. There’s a touch of bitterness in the tannin to balance the fruit, finishing clean and tight in its youth. Decant for braised rabbit or other gamey meats.” (04/11)

 

2007 Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au Dessus Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $27 at K&L Wine Merchants – SOLD OUT & $34 via Wine-Searcher

Ratings: Stephen Tanzer 90

  • $65 at Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco – 1.9x
  • $84 at La Colonial – 2.5x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 87 Points – Drink or Hold: Grand year. Ideal growing season produced ripe, complex, balanced wines from all regions.

90 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “Light, bright red. Spicy red berries and cherry on the nose, with hints of underbrush and dried flowers adding complexity. Musky, tightly wound black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors are framed by dusty tannins and given spine by tangy minerality. Sweeter on the finish, which leaves candied cherry and rose notes behind. I really like this wine’s nervy character.” (Nov/Dec ’10)

2008 Brewer Clifton Mount Carmel Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $50 at K&L Wine Merchants – SOLD OUT, Premier Cru $50 & Zachys Wine and Liquor $55

Ratings: Robert Parker 92, Stephen Tanzer 93 & Allen Meadows 91

  • $105 at Boulevard – 2.1x
  • $115 at Quince – 2.2x
  • $150 at Gary Danko – 3.0x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Uneven year, but the best wines are complex and delicate.

92+ points Robert Parker: “The 2008 Pinot Noir Mount Carmel (14.8%) exhibits plenty of black cherry and strawberry notes with hints of lead pencil shavings, Chinese black tea, and earth. Dark ruby, medium to full-bodied, with a striking minerality, this is among the tightest knit and most structured and backward of the 2008 Pinots. One senses that everything is trying to burst the seams beneath its structured veneer. Give it 1-2 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 10-15.” (08/10)

2009 Brewer Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $30 at Artisan Wine Depot & $35 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: Robert Parker 92

  •  $60 at Farallon – 1.8x
  • $76 at Spruce – 2.3x
  • $92 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino – 2.8x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

92 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Pinot Noir is a highly expressive wine. Sweet red fruit, herbs, licorice, dried flowers and mint are some of the notes that emerge from this mid-weight Pinot. The 100% stems come through in the wine’s aromatic profile and high-toned finish. This is a terrific introduction to the house style and a fabulous effort at this level. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.

 

2009 Brewer Clifton Mount Carmel Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $50 at JJ Buckley & $55 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: Robert Parker 93

  • $130 at Benu – 2.5x
  • $135 at Waterbar – 2.5x
  • $140 at Gary Danko – 2.7x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines. 

93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: The 2009 Pinot Noir Mount Carmel impresses for its generous, radiant personality. Constantly changing in the glass, it shows off a multi-dimensional expression of dark raspberries, crushed flowers, licorice and spices. I especially like the way this blossoms through the mid-palate and onto the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.

2009 Brewer Clifton Ampelos Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $60 at Varmax Liquor Pantry & $57 at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

Ratings: Robert Parker 92

  • $120 at Wayfare Tavern – 2.0x
  • $140 at Gary Danko – 2.4x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines. 

Robert Parker’s Description: The 2009 Pinot Noir Ampelos comes across as quite energetic and tightly wound. Dark cherries, plums, sweet spices and menthol emerge, but only with great reluctance. Sweet floral notes and licorice appear later, adding complexity and nuance to the red fruit. There is marvelous integrity in the glass; the only thing needed is time. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.

2009 Brewer Clifton Cargasacchi Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $55 at JJ Buckley

Ratings: Robert Parker 94

  • $95 at La Folie – 1.7x
  • $140 at Gary Danko – 2.5x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

Robert Parker 94 points: Generous fruit, acidity and structure all come together beautifully in the 2009 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi. It is arguably the most complex of the 2009 Pinots here. Plush dark cherries, plums, mint and licorice are some of the nuances that flow in this powerful, intense wine. Layers of sweet inner perfume add complexity on the virile finish. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019. 

2008 Ceritas Escarpa Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $54 at Vinfolio – SOLD OUT

Ratings: International Wine Cellar 93 

  • $98 at Wayfare Tavern – 1.8x
  • $105 at Gary Danko – 1.9x
  • $119 at Michael Mina – 2.2x
  • $120 at Spruce – 2.2x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Reduced crop and uneven growing season; mixed quality, but the best are complex, fruity and delicate.

International Wine Cellar: Vivid red. Spicy red berries, cherry, anise and potpourri on the nose, all lifted by a smoky mineral topnote. Succulent and rich but juicy as well, offering nervy dark berry flavors and notes of candied rose and spicecake. Impressively fresh and focused pinot with excellent mineral-driven extract and building notes of tangy cherry skin and herbs. Finishes with silky tannins, refreshing energy and wonderful clarity. This is complex enough to enjoy now but I’d wait on it for a few more years. From vines planted on schist- and quartz-laced soil in 1978, which Raytek says gives “the sort of energy I want in pinot.”

 

2008 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $50 at K&L Wine Merchants – SOLD OUT

Ratings: Robert Parker 93

  • $95 at Wayfare Tavern – 1.9x
  • $97 at Waterbar – 1.9x
  • $100 at Farallon – 2.0x
  • $115 at Gary Danko – 2.3x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Reduced crop and uneven growing season; mixed quality, but the best are complex, fruity and delicate.

93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The flagship Pinot, the 2008 Pinot Noir Estate, comes from the finest hilltop parcels in his beautiful Russian River vineyard. Its dense plum/ruby color is followed by a perfumed nose of forest floor, and sweet black raspberries, black cherries and plums intermixed with a hint of Asian spice. Fleshy and medium to full-bodied with silky tannins, good acidity and purity, it demonstrates a commitment to intelligent winemaking. These wines are never over-oaked or extreme in any fashion. The 2008 Pinot Noirs continue Dehlinger’s nearly unbroken record of success with Pinot that started in the mid-seventies. The ever reliable Tom Dehlinger continues to turn out some of the most fairly priced wine in all of California. I’m glad to see he has added a tiny quantity of rose to his portfolio. As he said, it is his first ‘non estate’ wine in 25 years. Dehlinger’s Pinot Noirs have an enviable track record of aging well for at least a decade even in challenging vintages.” (02/11)

 

2008 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $30 at Artisan Wine Depot & NapaCabs, $35 at JJ Buckley$40 at Wine.com

Ratings: Robert Parker 91

  • $55 at Waterfront Restaurant and Café – 1.6x
  • $68 at Harris’ Restaurant – 2.0x
  • $72 at Farallon – 2.1x
  • $84 at Arcadia – 2.5x
  • $85 at Waterbar – 2.5x
  • $85 at Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco – 2.5x
  • $92 at Spruce – 2.7x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 91 Points – Drink or Hold: Reduced crop and uneven growing season; mixed quality, but the best are complex, fruity and delicate 

91 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The least expensive offering, the 2008 Pinot Noir Estate exhibits copious aromas of forest floor, strawberries, black cherries and hints of Allspice and herbs. Medium-bodied, beautifully textured and complex, it is ideal for drinking now and over the next 5-6 years.”

 

2009 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price:  $45 at K&L Wine Merchants & $47 at Wine.com

Ratings: See comments below 

  • $91 at Arcadia – 2.0x
  • $95 at Absinthe – 2.1x
  • $95 at Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco – 2.1x 

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 99 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

Description from K&L’s site: A violet-tinged Pinot Noir with aromas of Earl Grey tea, orange peel and summer cherries. In the mouth the wine is a bit more savory, with deep black cherry and blueberry flavors and lavender and bay essences framed by delicate tannins and bright acidity.

 

2008 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $40 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: Stephen Tanzer 89

  • $60 at Jardiniere – 1.5x
  • $92 at Spruce – 2.3x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Reduced crop and uneven growing season; mixed quality, but the best are complex, fruity and delicate.

89 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/Jun 10: “Saturated red. Aromatically complex nose offers red berries, cola and anise, along with a sneaky floral quality. Firmly built pinot, offering fleshy red fruit flavors and a bracing note of bitter cherry. Silky tannins build on the focused, persistent, juicy finish. This is drinking well now, especially with some aeration.”

 

2007 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $50 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: Wine & Spirits 90 & Connoisseurs’ Guide 90

  • $80 at Waterfront Restaurant and Café – 1.6x
  • $80 at Boulevard – 1.6x
  • $83 at Harris’ Restaurant – 1.7x
  • $95 at Kokkari Estiatoro – 1.9x
  • $105 at Gary Danko – 2.1x
  • $107 at Le Colonial – 2.1x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 93 Points – Drink or Hold: Grand year. Ideal growing season produced ripe, complex, balanced wines from all regions.

Winemaker’s Notes: A product of the exceptional 2007 growing season, this medium-weight Pinot Noir reflects the depth and diversity of great Anderson Valley winegrowing, combining excellent structure and acidity, with layered fruit and firm tannins. Sophisticated aromas of star anise, morel mushrooms and toasty oak segue to enticing ripe berry and bittersweet chocolate notes, underscored by hints of black licorice and truffle. A marriage of strength and harmony, this Pinot Noir should age very well.

2008 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $45 at wine.com

Ratings: See comments below

  • $94 at EPIC Roasthouse – 2.1x
  • $114 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino – 2.5x
  • $114 at Spruce – 2.5x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 80 Points – Drink or Hold: Uneven year, but the best wines are complex and delicate.

Winemaker’s Notes: With excellent weight, a succulent texture and beautifully balanced acidity, this Pinot Noir reflects the depth and diversity of great Anderson Valley winegrowing. The nose offers a sophisticated medley of aromas, including cranberry, anise, chocolate-covered cherry, toasty oak, truffles and wildflowers. On the palate, it is ripe, round and complete, with layered fruit flavors and barrel char notes that echo the complex aromatics.

 

2007 Handley Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $28 at K&L Wine Merchants – SOLD OUT

Ratings: Wine Spectator 87

  • $42 at Bix – 1.5x
  • $54 at Boulevard – 1.9x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 93 Points – Drink or Hold: Grand year. Ideal growing season produced ripe, complex, balanced wines from all regions.

Description from K&L: By now we know that cool, foggy nights and warm, sun-filled days are necessary for ripening ever-fickle Pinot Noir, which is why there are few places in California more suited to the grape than the Anderson Valley. Milla Handley’s 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is a glassful of proof, boasting complex blue fruit aromatics tempered with softer, floral undertones. In the mouth the dark cherry acidity holds court mid-palate, held together with silky tannins for a long finish. The subtle nuances of this wine will only improve with age.

 

2009 Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $70 at Wine.com – SOLD OUT

Ratings: Robert Parker 91 to 93

  • $125 at Bix – 1.8x
  • $135 at Wayfare Tavern – 1.9x
  • $140 at Spruce – 2.0x
  • $140 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino – 2.0x
  • $147 at EPIC Roasthouse – 2.1x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 99 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

Robert Parker’s Review: The 2009 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard exhibits abundant notes of raspberries, black cherries and underbrush in a medium to full-bodied, elegant, mid-weight format. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.

2009 Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $90 at K&L Wine Merchants – SOLD OUT

Ratngs: Stephen Tanzer $90

  • $175 at Waterbar – 1.9x
  • $200 at Gary Danko – 2.2x
  • $200 at Jardiniere – 2.2x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 99 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

91 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “Vivid ruby. Vibrant nose suggests candied cherry, rose petal and smoky minerals. A pliant, sweet fruit bomb in the mouth, with fresh flavors of red fruit preserves and flowers. A refreshingly bitter herbal note adds complexity to the persistent, penetrating finish. This is already delicious.” (05/11)

2009 Littoria Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $46 via Wine-Searcher & $38 Release Price

Ratings: Wine Spectator 93

  • $72 at Harris’ Restaurant – 1.6x
  • $105 at Benu – 2.3x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 99 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

Wine Spectator Review: Subtle plum, berry and spice, with a touch of pepper, form the core flavors in this medium-bodied Pinot, which is complex and delicate, ending with dark berry and mineral notes that retain their focus. Drink now through 2018. 487 cases made. –JL

2009 Littoria Les Larmes Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $38 Release Price

Ratings: Wine Spectator 93

  • $70 at NOPA – 1.8x
  • $108 at Spruce – 2.8x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 97 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

Wine Spectator Review: Cherry and berry jam, watermelon and strawberry aromas are more restrained on the palate, as mineral, dried sage and complex berry flavors build depth. Drink now through 2020. 329 cases made. –JL

 

2008 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $36 at Merry Edwards Winery

Ratings: Wine Spectator 86

  • $72 at Town Hall – 2.0x
  • $78 at Wayfare Tavern – 2.1x
  • $79 at Arcadia – 2.1x
  • $95 at Gary Danko – 2.6x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Uneven year, but the best wines are complex and delicate.

Wine Spectator Review: Very dry, herbal and earthy, showing a strong mineral and pebble edge, with graphite and dried berry notes. Medium- to full-bodied, ending on a chewy, tannic finish. Drink now through 2016. 4,450 cases made. –JL

2008 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $42 at Merry Edwards Winery

Ratings: Wine Spectator 87

  • $84 at Anchor & Hope – 2.0x
  • $86 at Boulevard – 2.0x
  • $86 at Farallon – 2.0x
  • $90 at Bix – 2.1x
  • $92 at EPIC Roasthouse – 2.2x
  • $110 at Gary Danko – 2.6x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Uneven year, but the best wines are complex and delicate.

Wine Spectator Review: Fresh aromas of strawberry, raspberry and huckleberry are firm and spicy in this medium-bodied red, yet it gains depth and length, ending with a wet pebble and mineral edge. Drink now through 2016. 4,950 cases made. –JL

 

2008 Mount Eden Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $46 at K&L Wine Merchants – SOLD OUT

Ratings: Wine Spectator 91 & Stephen Tanzer 93

  • $86 at Acquerello – 1.9x
  • $98 at Le Colonial – 2.1x
  • $110 at Farallon – 2.4x
  • $118 at Spruce – 2.6x
  • $118 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino – 2.6x
  • $135 at Gary Danko – 2.9x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 91 Points – Drink or Hold: Uneven year, but the best wines are complex and delicate.

91 points Wine Spectator: “Fragrant, delicate plum and black cherry fruit is pure, focused, complex, elegant and full-bodied. Very Burgundian in its weight and purity. Drink now through 2018.”


2009 Pisoni Vineyards Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $65 at K&L Wine Merchants & Beltramo’s

Ratings: Robert Parker 91

  • $125 at Salt House – 1.9x
  • $129 at Michael Mina – 2.0x
  • $135 at Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco – 2.1x
  • $150 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino – 2.3x
  • $150 at Spruce – 2.3x
  • $160 at Benu – 2.5x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 98 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines. 

91 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Pinot Noir Pisoni is a big wine with powerful tannins that frame a core of dark, black fruit. Today it is the structural elements that dominate the wine’s balance, but this could merit a higher score if the fruit begins to emerge. My sense is that the new oak (65%) may be a bit on the high side. The Pisoni was made from four separate blocks and vinified with 20% whole clusters. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.” (08/11)

 

2008 Sea Smoke Ten Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $115 via Wine-Searcher & Release Price was $80

Ratings: Wine Spectator 86

  • $110 at Waterfront Restaurant and Café – Less than retail
  • $170 at Farallon – 1.5x
  • $225 at Alexander’s Steakhouse San Francisco – 2.0x
  • $245 at Harris’ Restaurant – 2.1x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 91 Points – Drink or Hold: Uneven year, but the best wines are complex and delicate.

Wine Spectator: Road tar and melted licorice notes are firm, dry and savory, full-bodied and grainy. Intense and persistent, but shy on finesse and delicacy. Drink now through 2017. 2,500 cases made. –JL

2009 Tyler La Encantada Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $50 at Tyler Winery

Ratings: See comments below

$98 at Slanted Door – 2.0x

  • $100 at Bourbon Steak – 2.0x
  • $110 at Gary Danko – 2.2x
  • $125 at Benu – 2.5x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

Winemaker’s Notes: Certified Organic fruit from the most windswept planting I work with; always a small crop, and in turn, a truly powerful wine. Rhubarb, cola, vibrant acid, black cherry, high toned red fruit, chalky tannin, sandalwood, leather, and earth.

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