Talley Vineyards was first mentioned to me as being a great producer of pinot noir nearly two years ago. I first bought a bottle of their Estate Pinot Noir while in Napa Valley one year ago. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a mildly compromised state of sobriety, a circumstance complicated by the companionship of a new lady-friend, and excitedly drank my coveted Talley Pinot. Sadly, that bottle went down without much fanfare. Last night and with one year past, my lady-friend and I being better acquainted, circumstances permitted for a more proper evaluation.
Talley Estate Pinot Noir shows garnet with brickish hues near the rim of the glass while its center is deep beet red. The effects of nearly five years bottle age have softened the wine and created a seamless and aromatically generous pinot noir. The wine rewards with an attractive gamey character, warm licorice and acacia in the nose while its fruit backdrop is red and ripe in quality. Raspberry, strawberry and cranberry are sealed in a mellow oak envelope; this wine rewards generously with a soft and seductive nose. In fact, I came back to this wine again and again for its nuanced and captivating aromatics. This wine has it going on!
While the Talley Pinot can be enjoyed for its nose alone, the palate was equally rewarded. A masterful balance of extract to acid distinguish this wine as anything but ordinary, with tart cherry/cranberry flavors playing off soft oak and spice. A subtle ripe tomato broth-like character added depth to the standard pinot profile of red fruit. The mouthfeel was silken, maintaining balance between full and lean, while finishing very long indeed. This is very well-made wine.
This pinot was seamless, very well-integrated and an absolute pleasure to drink (and this is their entry-level offering!). In fact, Talley Estate Pinot Noir may be the standard-bearer for under $30.00 California pinot. Highly recommended!