We have a winner for you today! 91 points. Juicy. Zesty. Full-bodied. Plush. Round and creamy. Those are just a few of the superlatives that past vintages of this Lot 923 have garnered. The source winery is based in Napa, and they are a powerhouse—they have access to some of the very best vineyard sources in all of California, especially in Monterey! And CH Wine Fans, the thing we’re not supposed to say (the thing our Sonoma friends don’t want to admit) is that Monterey might be California’s most “undersung wine region” for growing world-class Pinot Noir grapes—that’s a direct quote from the uber-lux magazine AFAR.
So, what’s the big secret? Shhh…it’s Monterey Bay’s “Blue Grand Canyon.” The positively frigid waters of Monterey Bay’s off-shore mile-deep canyon cause frigid winds to funnel inland at such profound intensity and speeds that trees are permanently bent southeast! But those cooling winds also make for perfect conditions to grow great Pinot grapes—they develop thicker skins to combat the winds, and the wines are fresh, fragrant, and powerful, with racy acidities, which is exactly how we’d describe Lot 923. Throw in heaping doses of juicy black raspberry and plum, a cache of herbs and baking spices, and plush textures. Sounds just like the heavy-bitting benchmark wines of the region from Chalone, Pisoni, Talbott, and Wente! Only some of their top wines run up to $75 per bottle.
Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.
Wine Tasting Video Highlights:
00:18 On Monterey County Pinot Noir
00:32 The Color of Lot 923
00:50 On the Nose
01:29 On the Palate
02:14 Wine and Food Pairing
02:42 Where in your cellar?
Tasting Video Transcript:
00:00:08:01 – 00:03:24:15
Chris Lafleur says
Hi, Everyone. Welcome back to the CH Wine Tasting Room. I’m Chris Lafleur. You’re super sommelier. We’re going to be tasting Lot 923, a Monterey Pinot Noir. So let’s go ahead and have a look. Monterey, of course, really pretty. If you’re in San Francisco, it’s worth taking a trip down to go whale watching. I don’t know if they’ll let you take a glass of this on the boat, but you can always ask no harm in that.
Spilled a little wine cause I got excited. But that’s how good this wine is. So immediately it’s. You can see it’s really beautiful. It’s like, crystal clear. I can see my ring right through it from my hand. And it’s just beautiful light, red color. You probably want to call it like light, light ruby or maybe even a touch garnet because the rim is changing so much, but it’s also one that you want to hold up in the sunlight to see how it sparkles.
It’s incredible on the nose. Oh, okay. It is fully dominated by red fruit. There’s a great note of cranberry here, some strawberry, a little bit of raspberry. It’s very effusive. Some Pinot Noirs that I get to taste have a touch of black fruit. But this is completely driven by red. There’s a little bit of earth here. It’s coming through to me a bit as mushroom, maybe like some chanterelles, very expressive and also a touch of fresh turned earth, like the detritus on the forest floor. There’s also a little bit of cedar here, but that’s not to imply that this wine is driven by oak. This wine is completely driven by its fruit character, and this is a nuance of this particular wine.
Let’s taste it. This is becoming too much of a tease. Mm hmm. Oh, I went to go spit, and I forgot because I was tasting and it was so good. I swallowed it. It’s very, very good on the palate. It’s electric. It’s a few of my my palate is like the saliva. It just keeps coming. It’s so my mouth is watering is what I’m trying to say.
This wine is so good. My mouth is watering dramatically. It’s a great wine that’s fruit continues to dominate again. Red fruit, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, covering the palate here with a bit of that forest floor note and a touch of the cedar lingering. But really the fruit is driving the bus on this wine. It’s nice and tart. This is incredible.
I think that if you’re going to have this at your dinner table, this is something to put with your salmon. Not a lot of red wine. You’re going to pair with your fish, so. Well, but this is so light that it’s going to handle it very easily. And also, it’s a great wine to have with friends. If you’ve got some friends over and you want a Pinot Noir, that’s worth talking about.
And as the conversation goes, you continue to find new things. This is the one great notes of Cedar. Like we said, a little bit of earth. With a wine like this. Your friends are going to talk about it for days. Which leads us to where does this fit in your cellar? Well, ideally close to the front of the cellar so you can grab a bottle whenever you’re entertaining guests.
This is a wine that you probably want to get a couple of. So not only can you show your friends once, but show your other friends the next time and then have a bottle to yourself without having to share it. This is an incredible wine that’s got some versatility here, and I think it’s got a little room for age, maybe not too much.
I would say that in six months this is going to be a different wine in a positive way, but too much time might lead it to start to feel a little bit dumb. So have it now and then have it again. So if you looking at the website and thinking how much you should get, the answer is more than one.
And ideally for me, more than six. With that, I’ll let you go and purchase this and I will see you at the next glass.