WINEormous blind Pinot Noir tastingSomeone suggested we do an all Pinot Noir tasting a few months ago. I rounded up some Pinots, set the date and then another idea was posed. Why not make it a blind tasting? The consensus was it was a great idea, so we followed through on it.

Our friend Al L. had recently moved into a new home and offered us his backyard. It was the ideal setting. The kitchen was filled with delicious food to pair with our mystery wines, and we got the tasting underway.

We started with the 2014 Lucas and Lewellen Goodchild High 9 Vineyard from the Santa Maria Valley. Tony gave it three and a half out of five stars and said it was nice. Pat liked the color, nose and finish. Jim found it well-balanced. Jean called it easy drinking. Ken got cherry and cola on the nose and strawberry and raspberry on the palate. At $35, it averaged nearly four stars.

Next was the 2015 J, with fruit from Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties. Jan considered it fruit forward. Kim found it a bit bland. Al G. liked the cherry nose. I loved the nose and finish. Ken remarked it had a classic Pinot nose. Yuki called it spicy and sweet. A few tasters picked up coconut on the nose. It averaged about three and a half stars and it sells for $20.

Our third Pinot was the 2014 Riverbench Clone 115 from the Santa Maria Valley. Jean said it was earthy and smooth. Pat liked the nose. Ken called it subtle with a sharp finish. Kat didn’t care for the finish either, an observation shared by many tasters. At $46, it averaged a three star score.

The 2011 Coquelicot Santa Barbara County Pinot was next. Pat enjoyed the color, nose and finish. Tony said it was a bit too light. Brian found strawberries and cream and black pepper. Ken picked up raspberries and said it was “ok.” Al G. found it lacking big fruit. It sells for $26 and scored about three and a half stars.

Number five was the Talbott Kali Hart Pinot from Monterey. This one got our tasters’ attention. Jean called it “the best so far” and enjoyed its balance. I loved the cola nose and pale color. Ken noted lots of cherries and scored it four point four stars.Laura thought it was better than most. Most of the group enjoyed it a lot, but a few didn’t care for it at all. It scored nearly four stars and will cost you $20.

WINEormous blind Pinot Noir tasting We ended with the 2014 Passagno Four Boys Vineyard Pinot from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Pat loved its nose, color and mouthfeel. Tony called it his favorite of the night. Jean said it was “best in class tonight and very drinkable.” Laura gave it a perfect five stars and said it was well-rounded. Ken called it a great Pinot. At $62, it averaged better than four stars.

Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts. WINEormous is the recipient of the Wine Tour Operator of the Year award for 2017 for the UK’s Luxury Travel Guide.