This is a wine I bought at deep discount because it was perceived to be smoke-damaged. Forest fires hit the area during the 2008 growing season, and many producers, including Londer, felt that the smoke tainted the skins of the Pinot grapes. Rather than damage its reputation by selling a wine that did not meet the winery's standards, Londer sold what is ordinarily a $35 wine at substantially lower prices...and far outside its marketing area. Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is highly regarded and, as a result, most of the better wines never make it far outside of a limited marketing area. If you see a northern coast California Pinot on the shelf of your wine store, it will most likely be from the 2008 vintage.
This is my third bottle from a case of 2008 Londer, and I have served it to several experienced drinkers of Pinot Noir--none of whom was turned off by--or even noted--the smokey traits. The well regarded Meiomi Pinot Noir beside it on the table tonight has been open for a couple of days and may not be showing its best, but it is no match at all for the lovely aromas and flavors that are coming from the Londer.
True Pinot ruby color, much lighter than the Meiomi./ Beautifully fragrant nose of wild berries, flowers and spice. Again, lighter and prettier than the Meiomi./ Tender mouthfeel. Intense flavors, only a hint of smoke if you look for it very intently. Some Anderson Valley winemakers believe that the smoke taint will only get worse as the wine ages, but I'm not so sure.