Comparing two CrossBarn Pinot Noirs

July 6, 2015

As promised, more of the Hobbs CrossBarn this week. Let’s start with the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014. For those who enjoy Chards with few oak notes, the 2014 pours pale golden, opens to herb, maybe nectarine and lemon aromas. On the palate slightly acetic for my taste, with apple notes and a leesy offset. The finish was pleasing with mineral notes and hints of apricot. Time and swirling helped. Priced under $25, 87 points. All regulars know I’m not a big fan of the more austere Cali Chardonnays, preferring the oaky, buttery style. If I were buying CrossBarn Chard I would buy the 90-point 2013.

Next up were two CrossBarn 2013 Pinot Noirs, the Sonoma Coast and the Anderson Valley. Although both were enjoyable, I preferred the Anderson Valley and think it the better value. I also think you should wait to buy it. It’s medium cherry purple-colored, and the nose announces with cherries, pie spice and moss aromas. The palate continues the cherry theme with soft tannins and barrel-driven smoky oak notes. Smooth, clean finish. A little time will improve it; $92 points under $32. I had a difficult time with the Sonoma Coast because it probably needs more time. This showed in the darker hue, the elevated tannic but fruit-sweet finish. Plenty of dark berry fruit, bramble and oak says,”Time needed.” I will revisit Sonoma Coast 2013 because I’m curious how it will come together. At $35, I think the danger of failure advises budgeteers like us to look elsewhere. It is entirely possible I’m passing on a delicious wine when it reaches maturity.

Ulacia Txakolina is derived from Hondarrabi Juri, a varietal wine found primarily in the Euskadi (Basque country of Spain. French Basque is named Iparralde). If you visit Euskadi, you will see the folk raising a pointed flagon on high and drinking the wine as it pours down from arm’s length. No easy feat and wear an old shirt. Usually done in places like those that serve “yards of beer.” Thank you to Emilio for providing the sample. Euskadi has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other place in Europe. I’m unsure if that means anything though, because Basque country is sparsely populated with about 2.138 million living in 2,793 square miles, or 766 per square mile. By comparison, 2,576 plus or minus live in Milton. Anyhow, if you find some of this wine, you will see a bit of spritz in a very pale green-colored wine that opens to apple and grapefruit aromas. It is bone dry with grapefruit, quinine and honeysuckle on a refreshing frame of acidity which balances the fruit. The finish is very clean with decent minerality and floral flavors. A lovely $15 food wine worth 88 points.

Two additional tidbits to chew on. Tapas are called pintxos in Spanish Basque. The gastronomic societies in Basque countries are named Txokos and they are usually men only, restricting women from joining although some make an exception once a month or once per year for ladies to attend. Most Basques, both men and women, love bar hopping enjoying a pintxos and a tixqito (small glass of wine) in several bars before going home for lunch and dinner.

Weingut St. Urbans-Hof Nik Weis Selection 2014 is a great value under $110/case or $10/bottle. Label reads Urban Riesling. Weis is the winemaker at St. Urbans-Hof, one of Mosel’s premier labels. He produces this from local small vineyards’ grapes. Urban Riesling is a wonderful way to initiate yourselves to German Mosel. Opens with a typical Riesling nose. On the juicy palate, peaches and honey supported by bright lemon and lime acidity. The fruit provides the appearance of sweetness but the acidity carries the day. Very refreshing and great with typical beach summer fare, 89 points.

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