2005 Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir • Durrell & Parmelee-Hill Vineyards
California: Sonoma Valley
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine deserves this alert – and something stronger still. Clever spies will recognize the vineyard sources for this wine (Durell Vineyards and Parmalee-Hill Vineyard) as the same as those that go into a particular $100+ Cali Pinot Noir. We like today’s wine even better than those from that other winery…
FINAL AVAILABILITY ALERT!
With such limited production and such high quality, this wine is currently in short supply. This sale could be your last chance you have to experience this great wine
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Mission Codename: Pedigree
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Uncover the truth behind the greatness of Moser Scharding’s stellar 2005 Pinot Noir. Infiltrate the winery and capture a bevvy of cases for our Pinot-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Moser Scharding
Wine Subject: 2005 Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley
Winemaker: Paul Moser
Winery Backgrounder: Moser Scharding is the premium label from Napa wine superstar Cartlidge & Browne Winery. Given the reputation and quality of Cartlidge’s wines, The Wine Spies were deeply intrigued at the prospect of even better wines. Since its first vintage in 1980, C & B has earned the love and respect of wine drinkers worldwide. Their following is fiercely loyal and for great reason: Great wine!. Moser Scharding is the premium pet project of winemaker Paul Moser. The goal of his premium label is to deliver spectacular wines, made from the best California fruit, in a more classic French or Burgundian style. Mission accomplished, Paul.
Read Agent Red’s mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This pretty wine has the appearance of dark pomegranate juice with perfect clarity through its slightly darker heart. When swirled, the is tightly springy and it settles quickly, leaving behind chubby branching legs that start low on the inside of the glass
Smell – Immediately on opening, this wine delivers an absolute rush of cherry, strawberry, earth, raspberry, strawberry, and oak. After allowing some time to breath, these aromas persist but are softer and even more authentic. Underneath these aromas, are soft leather, mocha, anise and soft fresh violets
Feel – Lush and soft on entry, this wine becomes more full as medium tannins take hold at the edges of the tongue and inside the cheeks and lips, giving it a more full-bodied feel
Taste – Showing Burgundian and Cali character at the sale time, this wine is complex, flavorful and delicious, leading with the darker fruits of the nose, followed by lush ripe cherry, dried flowers and earthy minerals, leather and tobacco
Finish – Ultra long and ultra lush, this wine begins soft and then shows a slight dryness as dark flavors give way to brighter and more tart-sweet flavors
Conclusion – What a brilliant and exciting wine this Moser Scharding Pinot Noir is! Paul Moser highlights his skill and dedication with this exceptional release. His ability to select the best fruit and to turn that fruit into a deeply special wine has us doing cartwheels. Displaying perfect balance, this wine is the sort that you want to enjoy on its own – and, sometime later, with a great meal. The wine is so interesting and delicious that it makes for a great wine to discuss and dissect as you enjoy it. And, with enough finesse and soft acidity, this wine is a great companion to finer dining. This wine gets a very hearty Wine Spies recommendation. Drinking beautifully now, this wine will only continue to improve with age.
Yesterday I was able to catch up with Paul Moser, the winemaker and mastermind behind Cartlidge & Browne winery – and now his new premium label, Moser Scharding.
What follows is a transcribed extract of our short but powerful conversation:
AGENT RED: Paul! Thanks for having this quick call with me. I know how busy you are. Let me start by saying that I am crazy about your 2005 Moser Scharding Pinot Noir. Its fantastic!
PAUL MOSER: Thank you, Agent Red. I am so happy that you like it. This particular wine does exactly what a Pinot Noir is supposed to do. It makes the drinker go in and find it. That’s the reward. It’s not a full-throttle, California, stand a spoon up in it wine, like many California Pinots.
RED: So, what sort of wine drinker is this Pinot Noir for?
PAUL: Well, its not a beginner wine. For new wine drinkers, I would recommend a great Napa Cab. Those are easy to understand, maybe even more impressive. Pinot can be harder to grasp.
RED: Especially those that are more Burgundian, like yours?
PAUL: Especially! This wine is a wine for drinkers of more experience under their belts. That’s not to say that someone new to wine would not enjoy it. They do. It’s just that this wine has a more refined sensibility than they may be used to.
RED: So, who do you make your wines for, then?
PAUL: Another deep question! I would say that I make wines that strike a balance between my own mad stylings and what I know are wine-drinker preferences. Left to my own devices, I might go off into the woods and talk to myself as I make extraordinarily odd and eccentric wines for myself.
RED: And, have you achieved a proper balance?
PAUL: What do you think, Agent Red?
RED: I think that you have. You have crafted an extraordinary wine in this Pinot Noir. We here at Wine Spies H.Q. find it to be a brilliant balance between Burgundian and Californian. Where the fruit really does shine through, it does not muscle its way in. And, where that French refinement and restraint are there, this is no subdued wine. So, yeah, I’d say that you got this one just right!
PAUL: Thank you. I appreciate that feedback. I have always striven to reconcile the best-of fruity Cali against the refined elegance of French winemaking. When people point out the layers or depth in a wine, I really think this points to one thing: A general refined sensibility and elegance. I try for these in making my wines.
RED: Again, I think that you got it just right. Tell me, how did you come to winemaking?
PAUL: That’s easy. There was one defining moment for me. I was in college at Goergetown, in Washington D.C., a kid of 18 from California. There were several ‘alternative’ classes available, and I signed up for a wine appreciation class, thinking that I’d get some free wine out of it.
RED: Something happened in that class, didn’t it?
PAUL: I’ll say. I tasted a 1959 Chateau Lynch-Bages – and I was done for! That moment, that wine, that was a game changer for me. After that, I was obsessed! I would torment my local wine shop, buying up books and all of the wine that I could afford. I was hooked.
RED: After college, you went to work for Stanford University, right?
PAUL: You guys do your homework! Yes, I actually got very lucky. At twenty-two, the job sent me to France – to Burgundy and the Loire Valley – for two years, and it was an easy job. Every spare moment outside of work was spent working at various wineries. It was there that I got my grounding.
RED: Yet you somehow also stay true to your own California roots. At least you seem to have found a great balance between the two philosophies and styles of winemaking.
PAUL: Thank you, you pay me a great compliment, then.
RED: Thanks for your time, Paul. I am sure that our Operatives will be as crazy about your 2005 Moser Scharding Pinot Noir as I am.
PAUL: Thank you, Agent Red. Enjoy!
What the winery says
About This Wine:
With a brilliant garnet color and a stylish, elegant aroma keynoted on fresh cherry and violets bolstered by notes of spice cake and sweet oak, the wine is approachable and food-friendly. Its texture is supple and fat, its flavors have fine ripe fruit notes of black cherry and strawberry, with an earthy mocha note to fill it out. As with Pinot Noir in general, it pairs nicely with salmon; but it is equally delicious with grilled poultry or pork, and light pastas.
The 2005 wine was produced from fruit grown by Durell Vineyards in the Sonoma Valley, and by Parmelee Hill Vineyards, a ranch adjoining Durell on the east. The Durell grapes were harvested ahead of the Parmelee Hill fruit, as usual – the former on 2 September, at 25.1 Brix, and the latter on 6 September, at 25.3 Brix. Both lots were fermented over a ten-day period, pressed off, and put to barrel to undergo malo-lactic fermentation. Both lots were aged in new, 1- and 2-year-old French barrels, predominantly from the Dargaud-Jaegle cooperage. The two lots were aged an additional 7 months, after which they were blended and bottled in July, 2006.
Producing wines of good density and character over a long relatively cool growing season, the 2005 vintage can be considered a very fine one. Harvest was somewhat later than the very precocious 2004 season, yet by no means out of line with regional norms. What did set the 2005 wines apart for us was their wonderful elegant aromatics. This characteristic is no guarantee of a wine’s longevity, but gives the wine a special grace and charm usually missing from wines from warmer years.
About The Winery:
Moser Scharding wines are limited releases of a collaboration by winemakers Paul Moser and Rebecca Scharding Steinschriber. Paul and Rebecca have worked together producing the wines of Cartlidge & Browne for the last 10 years.
TA: 6.6 g/l
Production: 514 Cases