Home > California, Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands > With a Heavy Heart, Notes on Loring Pinot Noir

With a Heavy Heart, Notes on Loring Pinot Noir

A few days ago, I sent out some reasonably disparaging tasting notes, in the form of a tweet, regarding Loring Pinot Noir The Llama ‘03. These were, to date, my harshest words toward any wine I’ve bothered to mention which is because I review wine the way I used to review records. I would rather not take the time to review something I didn’t enjoy at all. And I’d like to think that this is why so many latter day wine reviewers seem to rate on 100 point scales that start at 88 points. I only write a truly scathing review if the finished product is so unpleasant that I want that amount of time of my life back (as well as the money spent). Every Loring Pinot Noir to cross my palate to date has left me with this feeling.

Nose of aging pumpkin and wet dog.

While I am neither sommelier, winemaker, nor grape grower, I have tasted thousands of wines, most specifically, I have taste wine made from Garys’ Vineyard grapes by almost every winemaker who has ever worked with them, going back to 1999. Wine from this fine fruit made by Lucia, Arcadian, Miner, Capiaux, Lorca (RIP), Novy, Vision, Antiqv2s, Roar, Copain, Morgan, Siduri, Tantara, Testarossa, Pessango, Ryan, and even the shockingly overpriced Kosta Browne are amongst the finest American pinot noir and syrah ever to pass my lips. In the right hands, this fruit is simply magic.

Like the label image, the wine is scattered.

In fact, I first started buying Loring Pinot Noir specifically because they buy grapes from some of the best growers in the country, but I have been perplexed by Loring’s expression of every vintage of Garys’ vineyard grapes. Before writing this, I consulted Loring’s own website where I found that they recommend these wines be enjoyed in their youth, which is a dubious claim that many wine producers use to better sell their most recent vintages. But perhaps in this case, it was true, and I decided to purchase a couple of bottles of ’07 Loring Pinot to taste, given that this was an outstanding vintage for Pinot Noir in that region and it’s still a relatively young bottle. Then I did the math on how much I’ve spent on Loring Pinot against the enjoyment gained and decided to just open the most recent bottle from my favorite vineyard that I already own.

Being St. Patrick’s Day (when everyone is drinking and you couldn’t pay me to enter Manhattan), I stayed home and opened a Loring Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard 2005 at 1:02pm to find a slight Burgundian funk barely apparent under the burning throb of alcohol. The palate had some nice components to it, but they seemed rather disparate, causing the mouthfeel to come off as somewhat biting. After significant breathing time, the alcoholic nose subsided a bit, to reveal some faint earth tones. The palate is still somewhat sharp and is showing little sign of noticeable integration, though some red fruit is present. It’s not a terrible wine, but given the quality of the fruit from Garys’ in ’04 and ’05, this one just isn’t worth the price. Everyone’s palate is different. Loring Pinot Noir just doesn’t jibe with mine.

If anyone out there enjoys these wines, I’ll gladly pass off the rest of my Loring collection with a reimbursement below original cost. Look me up.

Anybody Interested?

 

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