I recently ran a class at Cook Philadelphia on the wines of Sonoma, and was fortunate enough to be able to feature, among others, the always excellent Pali Wine Co. These three, all in the low-$20s, represent not just excellent wine, but also remarkable value: Finding good Pinot Noir at these prices is rare; discovering such well-crafted ones as these, in this price range, is astounding. Below are my tasting notes for three of their current releases, all must-buy bottles.
Pali Wine Co. Chardonnay “Charm Acres” 2010, Sonoma Coast
Crisp apple, green melon, and cold papaya on the nose initially; with air and less of a chill, aromas of spicy seckel pear, hot rocks, and a touch of heather come forward. The palate shows balance and expressive fruit edged with the warm vanilla of the 25% new French oak, which brings sweetness more than spice--a nice touch alongside the tropical fruit of the palate, as well as the candied apple, balanced acid, and sandalwood. Irresistible now.
Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir “Huntington” 2010, Santa Barbara County
Aromas of very appealing cherry cola, brown spice, and a vague hint of tarragon at the edges. The palate is silky and well-balanced with acid, which provides nice lift to the dark and deep red cherry, wild strawberry, spiced red plum, compressed watermelon, pastry shell, and sweet, almost nut-tinged wild-berry conserve. Drink now - 2016.
Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir “Riviera” 2010, Sonoma Coast
Attractive transparency to the crushed strawberry color here. Aromas of scorched earth, just-dug-up mushrooms, birch bark, root beer, dried rose petals, and darker fruit--black cherry especially--dominate here. Flavors of toasted vanilla, distinct Indian spices, smoke, earth, black licorice, oolong tea leaves, and mushroom follow through to the spiced and dark-fruited finish. Complex and masculine, with a finish that lingers. Drink now - 2018.