After having the last 2 vintages of the Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir, I was definitely curious about the winery. So, when I came across this wine from the same folks, I grabbed it.
The Belle Glos wines come from Joseph Wagner, who chose the name Belle Glos (pronounced BELL GLOSS), to honor his grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, a co-founder of Caymus Vineyards.
On to the wine – the nose is a cool mix of black tea, black cherry and licorice. The flavours are a juicy mix of that tea, lots of ripe cherry cola and and some black licorice on the medium-long finish. Sounds good, right? Well it is.
This is a HUGE Pinot… It checks in at a ripe 14.6% booze and makes most Pinots look wimpy with its roundness. It literally fills the mouth with its juicy goodness.
If you like your wines soft, ripe and juicy… and you’re a fan of Pinot, I pretty much guarantee you’ll like this wine.
$39.99 at LDB stores here in BC.
The 2004 vintage of this wine was one of the highlights of my wine year. I loved it I drank it back in September. So, last night when I decided with a friend of mine to have a “Pinot Noir night”, the 2005 Belle Glos was an easy choice to accompany the DePonte Cellars Pinot Noir.
Man, oh man, this is good stuff. It was darker than the DePonte Pinot, with a decidedly “meatier” texture. There was a darker look and nose to the wine along with a bit more of a tannic bite to round it out.
OK, so what was it like? The nose was full of dark and syrupy berry and plum fruit with a touch of cinnamon spice and leather. The flavours? Lots of the intense dark berry and plum fruit with a great lingering, toasty finish. It was just as good as I’d hoped it would be.
The single vineyard sits at the intersection of Clark Road and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley – hence the name. The old vines (1972) produce the intense flavours I associate with the wine: Old vines + good winemaking = tasty, tasty stuff.
A wine like this makes it tough to go back to the value wines.
$50 here in BC.
Last weekend, I had my 20th high school reunion… it was ODD, so odd – surreal really. Lots of faces I remembered and many I should have, but didn’t along with others I never really wanted to see again. My buddy Graham and I have known each other since those days, so we decided we’d go and use it as an excuse to get a few bottles of really good wine, hang out and drink them in the midst of all the suburban mingling and maybe run into a few people we both liked back in school.
First up was the 2004 Belle Glos Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir. The Belle Glos label is owned by the Wagner family of Caymus Vineyards fame. Caymus acquired a portion of the historic Santa Maria Hills Vineyard in the 1990’s. The vines there had been planted to Pinot Noir in 1972-1974, makin’ them OLD by California Pinot standards.
I had really wanted to try this wine for a while… It’ a gorgeous package – from the great minimal label with script font to the somewhat phallic wax-dipped top. It looks like an expensive wine.
Inside the bottle, the age of the vines really showed. It was inky dark with a sweet cherry, blackberry, tar, cinammon and brown sugar nose. This is a big wine. The palate fulfilled the promise of the nose with some good tannic backbone, which stood up fantastically to the pizzas we had picked up – I know… I know. You’re thinking “Pizza with Pinot???“, but this actually stood up in my test sips. I did save the majority of the wine for after I had eaten. Each sip had a great medium-length finish with dark berries and maple sugar lingering on my happy tongue.
Both Graham and I were blown away by this wine. It almost earns the 5-star rating. It’s on the cusp, but I reserve that for wines that offer just a bit more… something magical. This one’s close to that, but it rates a solid 4.5.
If the price was less than the $49 CDN it is, I’d buy this all the time. Damn good.
Now if reunions were only as much fun as the wines.
On the recommendation of a friend of Rachel’s, I picked this up at the main LDB store out at 41st and Cambie here in Vancouver tonight. I brought it home and paired it with a BBQ’d butterfly pork chop with a cherry, balsamic and wine reduction sauce. Mmmmm…. Yep, it was tasty.
OK, so back to the wine. This is a bit of an Old World Pinot. It’s got that great pale red Pinot colour along with a nose that has ripe red cherry, earth and a green tea-cherry syrup edge. A taste gives up all that the nose hinted at along with a nice long finish with some firm, but not harsh tannins that are a touch stemmy.
It’s a good wine, folks. Again, I’ll point out that it’s a bit of an Old World Pinot with some New World fruit tossed in. If you love the Belle Glos, this might be a nice introduction to the French style of Pinot.
Now, down to the skinny… Would I buy this wine again? Yep. It’s a bloody nice sip.
I know… I know. Lists are stupid and all, but you have to admit they’re kinda’ fun and it made me go back over the last year to see what I had loved… This was going to be a top 5 list, but damn, I’ve drunk too many tasty wines over the past year.
So, in no particular order, here we go:
- H. Billiot Brut Réserve Grand Cru à Ambonnay NV
- 2001 Rust en Vrede Shiraz, Stellenbosch
- 2002 Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills
- 1999 Saint Cosme Côte-Rôtie
- 2004 & 2005 Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (I’m counting this as one, but really, they’re separate wines)
- 2001 Rosemount GSM South Australia
- 2004 Matetic Pinot Noir San Antonio EQ
- 2003 Coates Organic McLaren Vale Shiraz
- 2003 Anghelos Marche Rosso
- 2003 Robert Biale Old Crane Ranch Zinfandel
There we go… There were others that almost made/should have made the list, but these were the 10 I narrowed it down to.
So many wines, so little time.No comments
Gorgeous - that’s the first word that comes to mind when describing this wine. It’s full of intense dark cherry fruit and has an edge of Zinfandel-like briar… The warm and prickly (slightly boozy) finish has bits of leather and black licorice and goes on for ages.
This wine is from Chile. For those of you out there who might say, “Chile??”, I say just give some of the great wines they’re making a try. Yes, they make some wines that kick ass down there and no, they won’t give you a headache any more than wines from anywhere else (flashbacks to my days listening to crazy theories from customers in the wine stores). Good wine is good wine. ‘Nuff said.
One note: this wine definitely needs some air before you start sipping and making noises of ecstasy. I had it open for an hour before I filled my glass and it just kept getting better the more time it spent in the decanter.
Like I said, this wine is gorgeous… It actually has a lot in common with the Belle Glos I reviewed last month. Hell I may have actually liked it more, and that’s saying something – Crazy good.
~$45 in private wine stores here in Vancouver.
Maybe it was the whole Sideways phenomenon, but the price of great Pinot seems to have accelerated over the last number of years. That being said, with wines like the Belle Glos you can certainly see why. Given this, the search for value California Pinot Noir continues.
I found this one at the newly opened “Signature” liquor store in Langley and decided it was worth a try. I gave it about three hours air and grabbed the Reidel Pinot glass.
The wine had a medium ruby color and the initial swirl looked promising. The nose was smoky with some red cherry and a bit of cranberry. The mouth was a little nondescript at first but built as time passed; strawberry, some floral notes and a little heat from the 13.8 % booze.
The finish was perhaps the most surprising for this wine. A really smooth finish of soft oak with some nice savory spice notes. The tannins were really soft despite only being a 2005 vintage.
This was a nice straightforward Pinot Noir with some nice flavors. This is a good value find.
$22.99 at BC Liquor Stores.