This Estate Pinot Noir exudes layered aromas of spiced strawberries and cherries, honeyed golden raisins, and sweet baking spices with a silky, fruity, medium-to-full body, and an earth accented finish. Great balance of fruit, oak, and sense of place.
Vineyard designated, limited production, Estate wine
Two-acre vineyard, sustainably farmed
Made in the Burgundian style, this is an elegant, fruit forward and balanced wine that captures the essence of the Pinot Noir grape.
Piedra Creek Winery was conceived atop a small knoll in the heart of the MacGregor Vineyard overlooking the beautiful Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo, California. In 1984 Piedra Creek Winery became the smallest bonded winery in the Edna Valley, if not the state of California, originally producing only a couple hundred cases of estate sourced Chardonnay. The ultra small batch wines quickly gained notoriety. The grapes used would not come from a selected vineyard, nor from blocks within vineyards, but rather from only the best sections of the 55 acre Chardonnay vineyard. The result: only the best fruit would be used to make the finest wines possible.
Owners Romeo “Meo” Zuech and his wife Margaret are legends for introducing grape varieties from the Alto Adige, Italy region to San Luis Obispo County and Edna Valley. Together they planted Gewürztraminer, Lagrein, Dornfelder, Marzamino, and Teroldego. Margaret and Meo were the first to bring the Lagrein grape to the United States from Meo’s homeland in Bolzano, Italy.
Meo will also be remembered for his legacy in the aerospace industry. He was a specialist in metallurgy and developed six metal alloys used in building multiple NASA space vehicles in the early 1970s and 1980s. The alloys he developed were used in the Apollo 11 Mission and moon landing, and played a key factor in returning the space shuttle back to earth.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Blurb about the vineyard from winery: San Floriano Vineyard, its unique geography runs west to east which allows cool ocean breezes to funnel in to the valley from the north. Crisp mornings give way to long sunny afternoons making for a mild climate that is ideal for grape growing, and boasts one of the longest growing seasons in California. The soil too has a heavy maritime influence, consisting of chalk, loam, clay and dark humus, with sub-soil comprised of calcareous marine deposits left behind millions of years ago when the valley floor was under water.
San Floriano Vineyard is located in one of the coolest sections of the Edna Valley AVA, allowing the fruit to mature over an even longer growing season, enabling the development of thick skin fruit, and subsequent complex flavors and structure, perfect for winemaking. This boutique vineyard of only 2.5 acres boasts seven clones of grapes from three different varietals, carefully selected based on soil, climate, and terroir.
Three clones of Pinot Noir, two clones of Chardonnay, and two clones of Lagrein comprise the San Floriano vineyard. The vines are cared for and pruned to produce the highest quality fruit possible, and because the vineyard surrounds the winemaker’s home, tending to each plant has become an obsession, from bud break to vinification.
Practicing the belief that 90% of the wine is made in the field, and living within the same environment in which we grow our fruit, state of the art, sustainable, environmentally conscience-farming practices are employed at all cost.
Hi all, Rat here. We were stoked to be selected as rats for this wine, and as always, our thanks to the CM team! Apologies again for the delayed posting; circumstances made this a particularly difficult time to get a timely posting up for our report. Nevertheless, we are thankful to have had the opportunity!
We received the Piedra Creek on Tuesday, and were able to give it two nights to rest before tasting.
Thursday night we popped the cork on the bottle and were greeted with some sediment on the cork and inside the neck of the bottle:
Before pouring into a glass I wiped sediment out of the neck of the bottle and I carefully decanted the wine in order to avoid excessive sediment accruing in our glasses. This turned out to be completely unnecessary; there was no sediment elsewhere in the bottle.
The wine poured ruddy red, on par with many of the PNs that I’ve tried over time. The pic below was taken against the white page of one of my toddler’s books, so the color is reasonably representative of what I was seeing.
We immediately poured a glass from the decanter to get a p&p impression, and were greeted with a fruity, lush nose that was challenging to identify. My wife felt like she got some strawberry and peach on the nose, and the impression of peach was reinforced after tasting and after the wine had some time to open up.
The initial taste on this wine was quite mineral, especially limestone. It was pleasantly dry and fruit-forward. We were able to pick out stone fruit flavors in the wine, although not specifically the peach that my wife detected on the nose. I tasted something that I could only describe as “green” - I imagine that it was somewhere in the neighborhood of bell pepper, but the flavor was subtle enough that I couldn’t be certain. All in all, the initial glass was enjoyable.
After an hour and a half in the decanter we came back to the wine. During this time the wine had gone a little bit flabby, but we were now able to make out dried fruit on the nose. I picked out raisins and cranberries and my wife picked out figs.
The mouth continued to demonstrate strong limestone content. The mouth feel, which was a bit thin previously, opened up into a lush, soft, coating sensation. Additionally, there was a flavor that caused salivation as I drank the wine; it was a sort of tanginess that I couldn’t quite place but which was not unpleasant.
We were left with the sensation after our second glass that the wine shouldn’t have been decanted; left to open up in the bottle it might have retained a bit more complexity. Also, we have the strong impression that this is a “drink in one sitting” wine; corking a half full bottle to drink the next day might lead to a disappointing experience on follow-up. That’s not a problem in this household though.
We also don’t think that this is a cellar-able wine; I suspect that sitting on this wine for more than a year or two might lead to disappointment based on our experience. That said, my knowledge of wine chemistry is limited so I’ll defer to experts if they disagree.
One final note: as we were preparing to head out for an extended period we were cleaning out the fridge; this meant that we were unable to pair the wine appropriately. We suspect this wine would have been amazing with light fish, turkey, or other PN-appropriate foods.
As far as a final impression, this wine is a steal at the case price as an everyday drinker, but it’s not for us. Our menu is often driven by the whims of our toddler so pairing to a PN can be difficult.
@opiate2002@salpo We opened a 2018 Rivers-Marie Sonoma Coast Pinot the other night and it really needed the decanter. Tight as a drum at first! But it’s so rare to benefit from decanting a PN that my wife said “what? decant a Pinot?”
Looks like what you thought was sediment were actually tartrate crystals aka wine diamonds that can form when a wine has not been cold stabilized during production. They are harmless and don’t affect the taste of the wine.
@klezman@opiate2002@salpo Slow decant, nothing more than a slow and easy pour into the decanter same as I would if decanting for sediment. As opposed to a splash decant where you are basically tipping the bottle upside down for a fast and aerating trip into the decanter.
We were intended to be Rats #2, alas we received a shipment notification that a bottle was incoming the day we left town for a short family vacation.
Returned home this evening so sadly unable to add our $0.02 - even if we manage to still get the bottle, it’ll be too late.
I feel compelled to note that UPS has really become an even larger pain of late. Even though we’re members of their My Choice program they no longer let me reroute or hold it anywhere without paying a fee. Can’t even have it held at the closest Customer Center anymore! Unfortunately made intercepting this shipment impossible.
@sdilullo FWIW, I noticed something similar on the UPS website for one of the recent shipments (no free option to reroute to Customer Center). I called their number to basically complain and there was a menu option at one point to reroute (for free). Not sure if it’s still there, but might be worth trying their number.
@sdilullo Can confirm UPS is getting worse. FedEx is so much better when trying to re-route. CM isn’t helping much either. My Pedroncelli mixed whites shipment notification was late and the tracker said only that the label had been printed. Next thing you know UPS alerts me that the wine will be delivered the next day. We were on a spring break trip but fortunately we were able to receive it on the second try.
@jwNC good point - I was in fact able to recently have a wine club shipment redirected/held for free by talking with UPS customer service.
This rat bottle was especially bad. They didn’t even leave a single door tag yet the website says the final delivery attempt was made. Had I not been notified by Casemates that a bottle was inbound I’d have been blissfully unaware.
Yes, that. They no longer need a signature because of Covid but they have to “verify” that an adult is home. So, instead of actually knocking at the door and leaving a door tag if there’s no answer, they generate an “attempt made” status which simply means “There was no car in the driveway”.
Sadly, I’ll do you one better. We had the rare LA rainstorm the day I was expecting a delivery. Lo and behold, while molarchae and I were both at home, they somehow couldn’t deliver. Generated a “missed attempt”, at which point I got the email. Thing is, no knock, no door tag, nothing. I called them to have them try again, but that was a waste of time and energy. It showed up the next day, no drama, when it was back to the regular sunny LA weather.
Yeah, UPS sucks.
As a coda to the saga… I went to the Customer Center today to pick up the wine club shipment I had successfully redirected and - lo and behold - the Rat box was there (in fact it’s the only package they initially brought out when I gave them my name/address).
The clerk told me they should have left door tags - and yet somehow over the course of 3 delivery attempts with different drivers, I didn’t get a single one.
For 20 bucks a year ups will reroute to a ups store ,I know that sucks because it’s to their benefit to drop off a bunch of packages in one place and never have any redeliveries but its better than waiting around all day for any package that needs a signature.
@jabernik oh, yeah…when you place the order you have to check the little box that says my delivery address is different than my billing (credit card)
Of course, this has cost me hundreds! of dollars more in wine orders because of the added convenience.
You’re lucky that your UPS store lets you get away with that! My understanding is that they are under no obligation to accept the package in your name to their address unless you have a mailbox with them. At least that’s what I was told by my local UPS store owner.
As most are franchise operations, policies and pricing seem to be quite variable, from what I’ve researched.
Fortunately, for me, a local store had a new owner and was accommodating; likely a few bottles helped out. So far it’s only cost me bottles. The $5/case they wanted after the Christmas surge in '19 likely would be more economical, but not as social.
@chipgreen@jabernik@rjquillin RJ you are sooo right. A year ago they WERE charging me $5 per case (depending on who was working the front) and only because it was alcohol, they said. I just thought UPS changed their policy with WCC or something. Guess I’m just a “regular” now.
@kaolis Hey buddy. Sorry for the late reply. One of the wines that comes to mind but haven’t seen on here in a while is the District 7 Pinot from Monterey. I think central coast and Pinot go hand-in-hand. Based on this (over simplification… LOL) if I see a Pinot from the central coast esp further south like this, I am more inclined to be adventurous and take a chance. At 242 cases, it’s a small batch production artisan wine which means much more complexity and layering is retained making it a more interesting wine. Notation of clones also helps as well as managed ABV levels. This all tells me there’s a very good chance this will turn out to be one of those cases you’ll be glad you sprung for.
@chipgreen@kaolis@winesnob Very different opinions. We liked it. Not as good as Oregon Pinot’s, but not garbage either. We did not get the offensive tastes like so many people had. Maybe we were just lucky. I have had way worse wine for more money.
@chipgreen@kaolis I think it’s important to taste in proper context. At $94/case that District 7 deal was a slam dunk! I remember enjoying it over the course of a year. It certainly is no $25 or $30 Pinot but it sure eclipsed most respectable wines at that price point. Also one thing I’ve noticed is most people don’t adjust their palates when tasting a Pinot from the central coast. They are completely different animals compared to what the average palate is used to - bigger, jammy, spicy, tannic, fruity, oaky, wines. In general central coast Pinot is better suited to a tuned, quiet palate (dare I say intermediate to advanced) as they are generally more subtle and nuanced. For example I’ve heard people call a Sanford and Benedict Pinot, flat, plain and watery. If that isn’t blasphemy, I don’t know what is. But I get it. It’s not uncommon to hear mixed feedback about central coast Pinot, simply because everything is expressed in mere whispers. That’s why the northern California regions typically dominate the market, because they are generally loud and hence appeal to a broader audience.
To really demonstrate what I’m talking about, take some time to find and explore say, a Syrah or even better yet, a Zinfandel (if you can find it) from Santa Barbara County. You will find them almost unrecognizable in their expression. I’ve had big Sonoma Pinot that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a Syrah from Santa Barbara. The climate plays a big role in this.
Oh my goodness. Oregon holds a special place in my heart. I am yet to taste a bad wine from there (*artisan Pinot). I hope to spend some time up there this year.
Yes I’ve found the expression further up north is less leather, less mushroom, less barnyard funk, more light crisp, subtle and mineral. I for one absolutely prefer my Pinot (and wines) leathery, funky, etc but I also realize that just isn’t for everybody. I can appreciate that.
@chipgreen@kaolis@winesnob I live very close to the Willamette valley. In the 90’s, the wineries did not charge tasting fees. Please let me know if you come up this way. I would be very glad to meet you and drink some wine. In July, the Yamhill Valley AVA is having a massive tasting. In Pre-COVID, it was 40 different wineries offering multiple tastings for cheap. I like funk and I like District 7, but I bought Suzor on Berserker day and love the style.