We've sung the praises of Mount Eden wines for years, and haven't been alone - a few years back, the Wine Spectator published an article online entitled "Is Mount Eden California's Greatest Vineyard?"
So it was no surprise to read recently that the Wine Advocate said of this wine, "At $35 it represents one of the very finest buys in Pinot Noir from anywhere, including the hallowed vineyards of Burgundy."
We acted fast and ordered every case we could, cleaning out the North Carolina distributor, and snagging the last remaining cases at the winery! Arriving Friday, please reply to order.
Domaine Eden Pinot Noir 2010 - $33.99 net - 93 pts Wine Advocate - see review below
I first tasted this wine in May at the In Pursuit of Balance tasting in New York, and after revisiting recently, I can attest this wine lives up to its billing. The combination of earthy, floral, spicy components, dense succulent fruit, and smooth texture make it the complete package. And it achieves this balance by going to the extremes.
Huh? Balanced AND extreme? Yep, actually makes perfect sense, and just yesterday the Wine Spectator's Matt Kramer posted a great piece advising that to buy the best wines, Rule# 1 is "go to extremes."
And Mount/Domaine Eden is the perfect example, combining extreme geographic location, low yields, soil type, and elevation. It's marginal, extreme locations like their Santa Cruz Mountains, and Burgundy's Cote d'Or, which push Pinot Noir to perform at its utmost complexity.
Domaine Eden is Mount Eden's "super" second label, utilizing an adjoining mountaintop vineyard planted in 1983 (purchased by Mount Eden in 2007), as well as fruit from their younger estate vines.
Sitting at 1650-2000 feet above sea level, their vineyards see great shifts in day- and night-time temperatures, helping achieve complexity in the grape's chemistry and maintaining a bright, balancing acidity. The poorer, stonier soils in the mountains also make the grapes struggle in the noblest manner, producing extremely low yields of berries that are smaller in size but greater in character.
With a few swirls, the wine offers elegant rose petal aromas, bright red cherries, and a hint of fresh herb and earthy notes. The floral, fruit, and spicy earthy characters flow together seamlessly, none dominating, yet all taking a turn.
That sense of impeccable balance continues as you taste it...more fresh red raspberry, red plum, and darker cherry flavors emerge, and so do clove and vanilla, reflecting some aging in older French Burgundy barrels.
Like many other of the "IPOB" producers, Domaine Eden ferments with yeasts native to the vineyard, which helps communicate that elusive sense of terroir. For me, that comes out here as subtle mint plus a mineral vein running throughout. They're also using 20% whole clusters, which add a textural structure to the wine, and provide some earthier tobacco, black pepper, and olive character to the wine.
I know it's going to be hard to lay your hands off this, and you don't really need to. Give this a bit of air, and you'll see why we love this. But know this is a rare California Pinot at this price that will improve with some cellaring. That bright, mineral-driven acidity, compact fruit, and structure from the clusters provide the ideal recipe for aging.
Pure class and extreme balance, from one of California's original "boutique" wineries, all at a Best Buy price. We've only got a shade over 10 cases of this go around, please reply to order! Arrives Friday.
"A fabulous introduction to the Domaine/Mount Eden Pinots, the 2010 Pinot Noir is flat-out beautiful in the way it captures the essence of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the house style. Sweet dark cherries, flowers, mint and herbs caress the palate. There is a purity of fruit that is stunning in its beauty. Partial use of whole clusters (20%) gives the wine much of its fragrance, but ultimately the Domaine Eden bottling is all about class. At $35 it represents one of the very finest buys in Pinot Noir from anywhere, including the hallowed vineyards of Burgundy. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020."