Monday, December 06, 2010

Rating: *** 2005 Chez Ray Pinot Noir (P5), Carneros, Sonoma County CA

Original Review, April 2007: This wine is from the Brehm frozen grape series. Early tasting notes from our tasting party are here. Wine is medium brick in color. The nose pushes smoky fruit. On the palate, the tannins are most noticeable, a smoky fruit comes second. But the fruit is very shy. The acidity is bracing and the wine is powerfully dry - kind of like taking raspberries, removing their sugar, then drying them. We're still waiting for the sun to shine on the fruit in this one. I'm not sure that aging will do it. Two and a half stars out of five.

Updated Review, Sept 2008: Color and aromas are consistent with 2007 tasting. Interesting in the palate, though... the middle is still smoky and charred, but surrounded now with a sweeter, almost round berry fruit. Still acidic, but now it's at least wearing clothes. Moving to three stars because it has regained promise for the future.

Updated Review, Nov 2008: Color consistent. Aroma picking up a bit of smoky basement overtones. Fruit still building. Recommend another couple of years and/or blend with a too-fruit-forward wine - perhaps the Lodi Zin. Hmmm...

OK, just tried the blend: 2005 Pinot Noir plus 2005 Lodi Zinfandel, 65/35. Color: pale red. Aroma: basement with a fruit lift. Palate: still stingy, puckery tannins, now with a hint of fruit. At 50/50 blend: Color: paler red. Aroma: fruity with a charcoal twist. Palate: Light fruit middle at first, follows with a touch of charry acids. Pleasant, but seems to have lost the pinot noir character. Thus, I would stick with the 65% pinot noir/ 35% zinfandel as the preferred mix.

Updated Blend, June 2009: Tried a 65% P5 2005 Pinot Noir with 35% Z5 2005 Russian River Zinfandel - similar to the blend above, but with the Lodi zin substituted with the Russian River zin. Color: medium red. Aroma: bright zin vegetable. Palate: Tight acidic fruit in center, but sweetening just a touch at the edges. Better than P5 alone; not as nice as Z5 alone.

Updated Review, five years from vintage date, December, 2010:  Color has stayed consistent, medium brick.  The aroma is charcoal-broiled fruit.  So is the palate, though it moves more to charcoal-crusted red currants and raspberries.

Following long decant, three days kept cool in a partially-filled bottle under vacuum:   Same aroma, although - remarkably perhaps - the palate has seemed to develop some fruit underlying all this scorched earth.  Some promise with either more air or time.  Even longer decant, three more days kept cool without vacuum:  The charcoal on the aroma is fading now, leaving more black fruit residue.  Smoother still on the palate - this one wants a LOT of air.

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