Buena Vista 2010 Pinot Noir, Otelia’s Selection

Almost a month ago, Notes covered the 2008 Otelia and it’s a pleasure to taste today the 2010 vintage.  I have a tendency to save Buena Vista offerings for big occasions, but this one fell into “grip it and rip territory” and figured it was a much better option than the French Pinot Noir I had (briefly) considered as an alternative.  Live for today, right?

OteliaThe 2010 Otelia arrived as part of our February 2013 shipment (interesting comparison to the 2008, which arrived as part of our February 2012 shipment) and was pretty notable itself.  Our tasting notes from the winery read, “The 2010 Otelia’s Selection Pinot Noir offers alluring aromas of cherry, black cardamom [note: this always reminds me of classic Cheers bar wars], plum, and Mandarin orange peel.  Cranberry and dark chocolate truffle mingle seamlessly with a delicious carmelized toastiness on the palate, while the wine’s balanced acidity and structure lead to a long, lasting finish.

This Otelia first kept company with a simple meal of ground beef and pasta, its red-berried goodness working as an effective complement to the salt and spice of the dinner.  The darker berries were evident on the nose, but I cannot say either my wife or I detected the orange referenced by the Buena Vista team.  It is indeed smooth, however, and definitely finds an easy finish in your palate.  Tonight the 2010 Otelia Pinot Noir will be served with barbecued chicken breast, crispy crown potatoes, and fresh corn off the cob.  I’m confident it will play well with the carbs and spices, engendering not heartburn but a fruity mouthfeel that results in smiles all around.  It has less of the earthy tone that I admire in Cabernets, but has the underpinnings of “velvet berries” that I often prefer in domestic Pinot Noirs.

We’re finishing bottle number 0367 of only 280 cases, and that exclusivity helps me–whether artificial or actual–feel like we’re onto something special.  Thanks to Buena Vista, you’re in good hands either way.  Be sure to enjoy one of these for yourself.

Buena Vista 2008 Pinot Noir, Otelia’s Selection

Buena Vista 2008 Pinot Noir, Otelia's Selection, Sonoma, California, USA.

Buena Vista 2008 Pinot Noir, Otelia’s Selection, Sonoma, California, USA.

The good folks at Buena Vista had sent the 2008 Otelia as our February 2012 club shipment, and we finally pulled it this hot and uncomfortable July weekend.  Here’s their thinking on its composition: “Named for the Count’s youngest daughter, the 2008 Otelia’s Selection Pinot Noir is plum in color, with wonderful aromas of dark fruits, black raspberry, chocolate, and white peppercorn that delights the nose.  On the palate, rich grilled flavors emerge with a core of currant, raspberry, and hints of coco [sic] bean.  The wine shows excellent balance with a nice tannin structure and smooth texture.

Part of the reason the Buena Vista Pinots strike such a chord in our house is because they are more dark fruits (e.g., black raspberry, currant) and earthy spices (e.g., peppercorn) as opposed to strawberry and vanillas that I find a bit too cloying.  The 2008 Otelia hits a whole of lot of marks for us and will for you too, if you can find it.  The winery seems to have moved on to the 2010, which too sounds fantastic but we have yet to taste it.

I’m savoring the last glass of the bottle just now as we usher in Sunday evening, but it was a key to a great Friday night meal of grilled steak (seasoned with pepper and salt if memory serves), fresh corn from the cob, and some potato salad.  Even though it was probably still 90+ degrees by dinner time, the Pinot Noir was enjoyable and worked well with the flavors of the grilled steak.  Definitely smooth and probably even better for you if you are pulling it from some place with better temperature control than we have in our basement.

Buena Vista 2010 Carneros Merlot

Buena Vista 2010 Carneros Merlot, Sonoma, California, USA.

Buena Vista 2010 Carneros Merlot, Sonoma, California, USA.

Over the last several nights, this bottle accompanied many a fine meal–including a home-made chicken scarpiello and a light, summer chicken salad.  This Buena Vista Carneros Merlot was possibly best, however, accompanying just a pizza from our favorite local joint.  Half pepperoni and half pepperoni – black olive, the pie seemed to work well with the cherry and peppery vibe of this 2010 red.  It really looks and smells the part too:  it’s unmistakably Merlot, a deep purple color that wafts dark fruits up at you even as you pour your first glass.

For more informative notes by ‘real’ tasters or even the winemaker you can click here any time.  The description of how this varietal came to bear is worth the read.  Someone with more expertise (or perhaps promotional inkling) gave this a 91 and I think that seems about right in comparison to other reds I’ve had occasion to enjoy.  Always love a Buena Vista and look forward to the next!