Wine Tasting Notes, 2008: Toulouse Vineyards, Mendocino

toulouseA road trip to Mendocino this week provided an easy to excuse to visit Toulouse Vineyards, which has quickly become my favorite winery in the area. Luckily for me, I happened to catch Toulouse at a great time — just a few days before a new vintage was slated to be released (although these wines were still available for tasting and purchase). I had last visited Toulouse in late March, and I found their wines to be the model of consistency. For me, Toulouse captured the very soul of winemaking: small, artisanal, exquisite. Even their rosé was delicious.

Vern Boltz makes the wine over at Toulouse, and he also puts the labels on the bottles, which happened to be his enterprise during my most recent visit. The winery — even by the quaint standards of Mendocino — is a boutique operation, so the case production at Toulouse remains extremely low. Quality, on the other hand, remains at an all-time high: the 2007 Toulouse Pinot Noir ($42) is tremendously vibrant, intense, and complex, and it will likely become a front-runner among the top Pinot Noirs in California. I purchased two bottles, which is something I rarely ever do at that price-point.

But as much as I loved the 2007 Toulouse Pinot Noir, the strength of the entire Toulouse portfolio is what makes it a destination winery. The tasting room offered a flight of six wines in total, including the 2008 vintages of Estate Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Rosé of Pinot Noir (each priced at $24). All of these wines are terrific, and I recommend each and every one of them, without hesitation. Toulouse also had some remaining bottles of its 2006 Pinot Noir (now $39), which was a wine I had also tasted back in March. I liked it as much as I did back then — it’s a great bottle. But that 2007 Pinot Noir is something else again.

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