Tasting Notes: 2011 Bravium Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noirs

photoOn a lovely afternoon last week, Tala and I sat at “our” tasting room in the city (I say “our” because we store our wine there, but if we’re honest, anyone can join, and Brian McGonigle is really the boss…) over at San Francisco Wine Center. Have you seen this place? It’s amazing! What a great place to spend an afternoon – drinking wine and checking out the view. I can’t imagine how it’ll ever get old. Anyway…


We met there to taste through the not-yet-released 2011 Bravium Mendocino Ridge Signal Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noirs made by Derek Rohlffs of Bravium. When Winelandia was but a twinkle in our eye, Tala and I took a trip to Treasure Island to visit Bravium’s facility and pick Derek’s brain on wine, the wine industry, wine sales, winemaking – you get the idea. It was a great visit and he was incredibly considerate, forthcoming, and knowledgeable. Did I mention he sent us away with his four Mendocino Ridge Pinots to taste through and provide notes? He did. How lucky are we? And so, the stage is set for us on this afternoon.

Jackpot Block

We started with the Jackpot Block, and I’m glad we did. This wine was fun, fresh, and fruity. If I were to add another F, it’d be feminine. This bottle had the most acid of any of the four we tasted, and acidic reds are Tala’s bailiwick. It’s super bright and light-bodied, with loads of cherry on the palate. The aroma is perfumy, and we both found a hint of asian spices (maybe Chinese five-spice?), as well as some resinous, piney qualities that we enjoyed.

Sundance Block

The second bottle in our line up was the most aromatic of the four. We both found eucalyptus on the nose, some violet, white pepper, and some musky aromas too. It was very restrained and elegant in flavor – not a punch-you-in-the-mouth Pinot at all, but rather quite delicate. The finish here is medium-plus.

Dragonfly Block

Okay, this one was hands down both our favorite. It was deep and brooding, with intense cola and herb aromas, balanced flavors, and that silky texture that the best pinot noirs offer. This wine was savory, with great balance between texture, flavor, acid, and body, and I would drink it every day if I could be so lucky. In contrast to the Sundance and the Jackpot, both Tala and I found this wine to be masculine, and while the aromas were lovely, it was really all about the way it felt on the palate for both of us. Of the four, this one has the most aging potential.


Signal Ridge Vineyard

This bottle is a blend of the preceding three blocks, and we were easily able to pick out aspects of each wine. We found this wine to be balanced and rich, with some piney aromas, and a healthy dose of the familiar cherry. The texture on this wine was great – it was medium bodied and luscious, but not flabby or overbearing – the acid carried through. It was a great note to end on, for sure!

As soon as we can, we’ll update with release dates, prices, and where to buy. These wines are not yet available for the public, but will be shortly, so stay tuned if you’re interested!