VinVinoWine Tasting of new California Pinot Noirs Nov. 2011

Vin Vino Wine – a Palo Alto Tasting of California Pinot Noir


Vin Vino Wine has an impressively full calendar of wine tastings of their retail stock. I attended a “New California Pinot Noirs” tasting on November 15, also available Nov. 16. I went for the full 8 wine flight for $40.  These were all very nice, elegant type California pinot noirs, with only one stinker — Brewer-Clifton. My impression is that the owner loves Burgundy pinot noir, and curates his California pinot noirs to be within the comfort range of the store’s core clientele: Burgundy lovers.

Well-Curated Imports Tended by Wine Savants

You may wonder why we visited this retailer, given their emphasis on French imports.  After all, California Wine Fan is about local California and Northwest wines, especially pinot noir.  Well, there are many independent retailers throughout the SF Bay area with this same modus operandi — a heavy emphasis on imports.   Yet they all do have a California-Northwest angle now and then.  This is what California Wine Fan wants to recognize and commend when we find it.

VinVinoWine shelves loaded with fine imports

VinVinoWine shelves loaded with fine imports

Like the owner at Vin Vino Wine, we appreciate “elegant”  styles of California and Northwest pinot noir, but are also very interested in richer, bigger interpretations of the grape, stopping way short of Parker-esque pinots of course. Robert Parker would not be comfortable with the American pinots you will find at Vin Vino Wine.

To their credit and profit, Vin Vino Wine listens to their customers.  I can say their typical customer is over 50 years old, makes mid to high six-figures and has a primary interest in consuming and learning about French wine.  Basically I am talking about a grey-haired boomer, a francophile demographic profile here.  But, hey, that is who lives in Palo Alto anyway.  No one young and millennial can afford to live there.  And, technically, I  fit the profile (at least in terms of age).

Network with the Boomer Regulars

The establishment clearly has regulars.  I arrived there about 4:30 on a Tuesday.  There were at least 8 separate coteries of regulars imbibing while I was there.  This visit was an occasion for me to try out for the first time an alpha version of a wine tasting notes application for my ipad in a real live situation.  Some of the guests became curious as I and my attractive guest poked silently at our ipads during tasting.

VinVinoWine wine deals

VinVinoWine wine deals

I was bemused when a  curious customer finally asked if I was looking up on the internet with my ipad the  ratings of the wines me and my guest were tasting. Wouldn’t that unduly influence us?  I said “No, we were recording our own ratings/impressions of the wines in a little custom tasting notes database. In fact, we were likely to publish them on the internet ourselves.”  So when you come to a tasting at Vin, Vino, Wine during prime time,  be prepared to network with the regulars.

An Enjoyable Expertly Conducted Tasting

I enjoyed my first visit here inspite of all the boomers. After all, the tasting manager  at that hour was a young, vibrant, wine savant. I thought the old guys were there at least partially to chat about wine with this charming, commanding blond.

I’ll be watching the Vin Vino Wine calendar for other tastings.  I apparently missed an interesting tasting of French burgundies against American pinot noirs held earlier this year.

Bottom line: I  recommend  buying a bottle of the Pey-Marin Trois Filles 2009.


My Corks Rating ( 1 lowest, 4 highest)

Retail Price
Best Price Tasting
 2 1) 2010 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” (The Forager)
$ 20.00
$ 17.00
$ 3.50
 2 2) 2009 Pinot Noir “Sonoma County” (Banshee)
$ 22.00
$ 18.70
$ 3.75
 2 3) 2009 Pinot Noir “Verna’s” (Melville)
$ 27.00
$ 22.95
$ 4.50
 2 4) 2009 Pinot Noir “Nevertell” (Cold Heaven)
$ 38.00
$ 32.30
$ 6.00
 1 5) 2009 Pinot Noir “Santa Rita Hills” (Brewer-Clifton)
$ 38.00
$ 32.30
$ 6.00
 3 6) 2009 Pinot Noir “Trois Filles” (Pey-Marin)
$ 40.00
$ 34.00
$ 6.50
 2 7) 2009 Pinot Noir “Russian River” (Freeman)
$ 42.00
$ 35.70
$ 6.75
 2 8) 2009 Pinot Noir “Rancho La Vina” (Samsara)
$ 48.00
$ 40.80
$ 7.50

Short Series (1-5) $21.00
Full Series (1-8) $40.00

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