The owner wine maker of the No. 1 pinot noir, Sharpe Winery

Pinot Summit 2012 Tasting – Winning Wineries


We want to compliment Vance Sharp, winemaker, for his Pinot Summit 2012 “best in show:” Sharp Cellars 2009 Keenan’s Cove pinot noir.  Both of us wine fans rated his wine No. 1  in our blind tasting.  Granted we only rated 21 of the 42 wines.  But we tasted his wine again in the evening at the grand tasting.  If anything, it was better then. With only 75 cases produced of this $48 pinot noir, get it now.

Our Favorite Wineries at Pinot Summit 2012:  Sharp Cellars, Coughlan, RN Estate, Bonneau, T.R. Elliot, Morris Ranch

Best In Show Pinot Summit 2012 – Sharp Cellars

Sharp Cellars 2009 Keenan’s Cove Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, $48.00. 75 cases produced.

Female reviewers: Spunky raspberry and strawberry jam, dried cherry, and forest floor notes on the nose with rhubarb and spice back notes. The wine is just as lively in the mouth with strawberry, rhubarb, licorice, and black currant. A touch of black pepper and crumb cake notes kick in mid-palate. Clean and balanced. A terrific food pairing wine. 92 points.

Male reviewers: A classic Sonoma Coast nose showing forest floor, raspberries and vanilla. The palate is silky smooth displaying raspberry, fig and gingerbread notes. Great mouth feel. Wonderful finish with light spice. 91 points.”

Now for the really good news.  Affairs of the Vine has posted the tasting notes and point ratings for all 460 pinots that were entered in the competition.  Download and save this incredibly valuable resource. And here are the tasting notes about just the winning wineries from the official results web site.

Blind Tasting Results – Pinot Noir

On to the blind tasting results.  We’ll focus on just the pinot noir, ignoring the sparkling wine and “best bang for the buck” rankings.  There were two groups of judges, each divided into male and female sections: professional judges and us amateurs (whom Affairs of the Vine is kind enough to call Wine Lovers).

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The Pros picked: Alysian, Gloria Ferrer,
Barbed Oak, RN Estate, Davis Family

Female Blind Tasters Winning Wineries Pinot Summit 2012

1. Gloria Ferrer 2008 Pinot NoirCarneros, $22.00, 14433 cases produced, (95 points)
Sweet and pretty raspberry jam, milk chocolate, herbs, and cherry aromas please the nose. Elegant and pure with layers of cranberry, red cherry, anise, and a touch of cola. Very racy raspberry, milk chocolate and malt on the finish. A perfect food pairing wine!

2. RN ESTATE 2009 Kruse Vineyard Pinot NoirPaso Robles, $48.00, 125 cases produced (94 points)
Bright garnet color in the glass. Violets, roses, and dark cherry aromas that open to cherry cola with a hint of oak peeking through. Complex and lovely ripe fruit on the palate. good tannins and acidity. A real crowd pleaser.

3. Barbed Oak Vineyard 2009 ZARA’S BLOCK Barbed Oak Vineyard Pinot NoirBennett Valley, $29.00. 246 cases produced (93 points)
The color is like a dark and clear like a midnight sky. The nose is fruity displaying dried cherry that replicates on the palate. Intense flavors. Great aging potential.

Male Blind Tasters Winning Wineries Pinot Summit 2012

1. Alysian 2008 Allen-Rochioli Blocks Rochioli Vineyard Pinot NoirRussian River Valley, $65.00, 159 cases produced (95 points)
Boysenberry, rhubarb pie, rose petals, vanilla, cherries, strawberries, cola, and white pepper… a very complex nose. Raspberry, cinnamon, cedar, smoky strawberry compote…and that just begins to define the palate. Excellent mouth feel. Long, long finish. Would love to pair this with a myriad of foods. Incredible aging potential. This is a baby just starting to show it’s stuff.

2. Barbed Oak Vineyard 2009 Zara’s Block Pinot NoirBennett Valley, $29.00, 246 cases produced (94 points)
Lots of fruit, cola, and dark berry aromas. Toasty notes accent the beautiful cherry core. The finish is long…”This 2009 Odyssey takes you for a long ride.” Big jammy fruit that never seems to end. “This is what New World Pinot should be.”

3. Davis Family Vineyards 2009 Soul Patch Pinot Noir (It’s not clear to us whether this link is to the correct wine.), Russian River, $42.00, 525 cases produced (94 points)
Great color gradation in the glass. The classic and layered Pinot Noir nose shows bright strawberry, cola, plum, cinnamon, other brown baking spices, cedar, vanilla, violets, and crazy as it sounds, a touch of pumpkin. Layered and complex on the palate. Bright refreshing red fruit, black cherry, earthiness, herbs, and cola. Great acidity. Long finish. Perfect pH. Pretty. Should age well.


The Crowd picked: Sharp Cellars, Barbed Oak, Dunstan, Stephen’s, Grey Stack, Coughlan

Female Blind Tasters Winning Wineries Pinot Summit 2012

1. Sharp Cellars 2009 Keenan’s Cove Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2. Dunstan Wines 2009 Estate Durrell Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
3. Grey Stack Cellars 2009 The Fisherman Four Brothers Pinot Noir, Bennett Valley

Male Blind Tasters Winning Wineries Pinot Summit 2012

1. Barbed Oak Vineyard 2009 Zara’s Block Pinot Noir, Bennett Valley
2. Stephen’s Cellar & Vineyard 2008 Estate Pinot Noir, York Mountain
3. Coghlan Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills

Our Grand Tasting Favorites

As mentioned earlier, our favorite was the Sharp Cellars 2009 Keenan’s Cove. Our notes simply say, “Amazing.” Second was a tie between Coghlan Vineyards and RN Estate Vineyards.  Coghlan is in Los Olivos.  We tasted their wine during our southern California trip in February.  They were pouring three pinots: 2009 Dioxide, 2009 Sapphire, and 2010 Fluorite.  All three were terrific.  RN Estate handles grapes from the Fiddlestix vineyard as well as anyone we’ve run across.  Both the 2009 and 2010 vintages are excellent.

Others we liked include Bonneau Wines 2009 Sangiacomo with pronounced black cherry elements, T.R. Elliott’s 2009 Three Plumes (Russian River Valley), and Morris Ranch Winery’s 2009 Middle Block vineyard (clone 115).  Be warned: Morris Ranch’s website contains little more than basic contact information.

Our Favorite Wineries at Pinot Summit 2012:  Sharp Cellars, Coughlan, RN Estate, Bonneau, T.R. Elliot, Morris Ranch

All in all, a terrific event.  We plan to do our best to return in 2013 for the Eleventh Pinot Summit.  Thanks to Barbara Drady (@wineevangelist) for organizing this event in such a spectacular fashion.


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