2018 Avaler, Pinot Noir, Sonoma County.
Wonderfully open, pure and delicious, the newest addition to the value lineup at Avaler, is their Sonoma County Pinot Noir, which is sourced from two sites, one in the Russian River and one in the western Sonoma Coast and is a high quality and limited production wine that is compelling from start to finish. Avaler, a price conscious label of small production wines started by two friends, winegrower Jon Phillips of Inspiration Vineyards and winemaker Dylan Sheldon, who is regularly featured here with wines crafted under his (and his wife Tobe’s) Sheldon Wines label, a micro winery in the Santa Rosa area that does an amazing set of eclectic bottlings from sparkling Tempranillo, Graciano and Petite Sirah to Sangiovese and his much beloved Grenache. Most recently, I reviewed the Avaler “R Own Cuvee” that is a Rhone inspired red that has almost 20% Viognier blended in with Grenache and Syrah in a wine that is Cote-Rotie meets Cotes du Rhone with lush California fruit, it’s a fun wine, but I really adore this new Pinot they are just about to release. The 2018 Avaler Pinot Noir is racy fresh, but still richly flavored and satiny on the palate showing black cherry, plum and strawberry fruits along with a light toasty note, sassafras, earl grey tea, blood orange and a hint of rose petals and smoky vanilla.
Dylan and Jon made only 128 cases of this easy to love Pinot Noir using 80% neutral French oak and just one or 20% new barrel, with an elevage of just eight months to keep things as pure as possible, while allowing complexity and silky texture to develop. The grapes were careful picked here with 60% being Calera clone from the Russian River, which gives the ripe lush character as well as a nice spicy edge and 40% being Pommard clone from the Sonoma Coast that seems to give a sense of coolness, mineral and structure with a layer of seductive earthiness in the back ground, and at 13.8% natural alcohol this is a finely balanced wine that will also please a crowd with its opulence. With air this ruby/garnet hued Pinot gains the added dimension and detail just mentioned and while super tasty now, there is good reason to believe it will evolve for quite a few years, though as nice as it is, it is not likely too many will want to wait. This will be a good holiday meal, no guilt, quaffer from a vintage that is set to offer up some spectacular wines, as Sheldon puts it, affordable delicious wines should be on your dinner table every night, and that’s what this label does, they are tiny lots of good drinking wines made by good people, it’s a good time to Avaler up.
($28 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive