Thu 28 Jul 2011
Early last week I wrote about two products from the Toad Hollow winery, the Unoaked Chardonnay 2010 and Erik’s the Red 2009. Today it’s the turn of two pinot noir wines, a “regular” pinot and a rosé. These wines were samples for review.
The Toad Hollow “Eye of the Toad” Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir 2010, Sonoma County, is not a saignée rosé, in which some juice is bled off from the tank before fermentation to concentrate the resulting wine (i.e., less juice to the same amount of skins). This is, instead, made from pinot noir grapes gently pressed and then pulled from the skins after a sort maceration that yields a fine-hued rosé color, a sort of melon pink infused with light copper with a hint of violet at the rim. While “Eye of the Toad” represents the winery’s name, it’s also a take-off on those traditional rosé-color descriptions, “eye of the partridge” and “eye of the swan.” What a completely charming rosé, one of the best I have tried this summer. Delicate aromas of pomegranate and strawberry are infused with touches of spiced peach, red currants and cranberries, with undertones of limestone. The wine is quite dry and crisp, a little tart even, and it delivers tasty elements of melon, dried red currants and an increasingly spicy, slightly herbal aspect, all grounded on limestone-like minerality. Clean, scintillating and refreshing. Perfect with salade Niçoise. Alcohol content is a gentle 11 percent. Very Good+. About $13, a Great Bargain.
I don’t want to over-use the word “lovely,” but, damnit, the Toad Hollow Goldie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, won’t allow me to use a different or lesser term. Aged in French and American oak barrels for 15 months, the wine is smooth, supple and satiny. Beguiling aromas of black cherry, red currants and plums, slightly spiced and macerated, open to hints of pomegranate and mulberry; give it a few minutes in the glass, a bit of time and swirling, and softly earthy touches of tomato skin, thyme and moss emerge. The wine takes on a smoky element in the mouth and more spice, becoming earthier, a little “darker,” yet never losing hold of its delicious black and red fruit flavors and its seductive succulence balanced by vibrant acidity. Try with grilled or roasted chicken (if it’s not too hot to fire up the grill or turn on the oven) or with a spread of charcuterie and mild cheeses. 14.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2012. Very Good+. About $19.