Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tasting in the Anderson Valley: Bink Vineyards

Bink's tasting room is in a small shopping center right next to Goldeneye and down the road from Toulouse. Winemaker Debbie Schatzlein and her partner Cindy Paulson have a small number of vineyards in the southern part of the valley near Cloverdale. It's warmer there so the Pinot Noir is a bit fuller and riper but perhaps a bit less multi-faceted than those from the northern part near Goldeneye and Toulouse. The climate must be very good for Syrah, though; the 2003 and 2006 Syrahs presented were beautiful, the highlights of the tasting for me.

2010 Bink Pinot Gris: The wine was cold fermented to preserve the zesty fruit qualities. But it still has a full bodied Pinot Gris style more typical of Alsace than northeastern Italy. For $16, it a good wine and a good value. I enjoyed a bottle of this Pinot Gris with a Chinese meal in Redding as well as at the winery. It was a beautiful match for the spicy Mandarin dishes.

2010 Bink Sauvignon Blanc: Bink purchases its Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Yorkville Cellars, located in the Yorkville Highlands at the southern end of the valley. This wine is also zesty and crisp with aromas and flavors leaning toward grapefruit, jalapeno and minerals. It's less shrill than most New Zealand Sauvignons, however; more like a Pouilly Fume from the Loire.

2007 Bink Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir: aged 22 months in French oak, partly new, this is accurately described on the tasting sheet as "a mouthful of black cherries." Full bodied for Pinot. Red berries, flowers and vanilla.

2003 Bink Hawks Butte Estate Vineyard Syrah: my favorite of the tasting. Deep and dark but not inky. Berries, black plums, cassis and the subtle herbal notes that are common in Northern Rhone Syrahs but rarely are found in New World wines. Light touch with the oak--barely noticeable. A very attractive cool climate Syrah.

2006 Bink Hawks Butte Estate Vineyard Syrah: an even better wine from a superior vintage. Deeper and stronger than the 2003 but still a bit closed at this stage. This is a wine I would buy and lay away for 8 to 10 years.

2007 Bink Melange--Hawks Butte Estate Vineyard, Old Chatham Ranch: a blend of Cabernet, estate Merlot and estate Syrah. I expected a wine similar to an Aussie Cab/Shiraz such as Penfold's Bin 389, but, at this stage, Melange is lighter bodied and has more of the green bell pepper smells of Merlot. Also some currants and spice with soft tannins that make it easy to drink. Not my style.

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