Thursday, October 14, 2010

Clos Saron's Great 2006 Home Vineyard Pinot Noir

Gideon Beinstock, Clos SaronWhen I visited Clos Saron in the Sierra Foothills two years ago and first tasted the 2006 Home Vineyard Pinot Noir, I noted its restraint and purity but mentioned that it needed time, as the tannins and the finish were not yet resolved.

The wine is now emerging — blooming, really — and it's clear that I didn't understand then how good this would become.

I tasted this over two recent days, but even from pop and pour the wine is sappy, pure, elegant, mineral, light but deep, structured, long, transparent, and complex — everything pinot noir is supposed to be. Gideon Beinstock is a winemaker who emphasizes terroir by showing restraint on the oak and the sulphur (only 30 ppm added at crush, none at bottling), and this wine shows specific, rocky, spicy tannins courtesy the granite and old volcanic ash soils from whence this came. As for the flavors, they're not overboard on the cherries; rather, the Home Vineyard shows lovely citric acidity, orange notes, rocky minerals, and a complete presence throughout the mouth, front to back. It also has just 13.4% abv — the northeastern-facing vineyard is in a cool corridor at 1600 feet. The fruit is still young, the acidity is robust, so this has a long way to go.

If complex, long-lived pinot noir a la The Eyrie and Rhys turns your crank, you need to add Clos Saron to your list.


Anonymous said...

I see you have found the Pinot haven that resides in the north east Sierra Foothills at Clos Saron. I completely agree with your assessment on the class, quality, and future evolve-ability of their Pinot. It really is curious to note an ~5-degree drop when you get near their home vineyard location, a micro-climate ideally suited to Pinot indeed. How do you compare the HV to their Texas Hill Road bottling? Gideon had "sold-out" of the '06 HV on my first visit, though, of course, he does keep a reserve for his open-house tastings, etc.
- z_willus_d

Wicker Parker said...

Read about my 2008 visit to Clos Saron at -- notes on the 2006 Texas Hill are there. Basically, I found it to be bigger and a bit less elegant (I believe the vineyard is south-facing), but just as the HV wasn't quite ready yet then, so too was the TH not ready. I'd be interested to taste it now, for sure.

Anonymous said...


That was a very nice writeup on Clos Saron and your summary reflects well my experience driving home to Sacramento - I must do this again if I can, and in my case I could. Gideon was an incredibly insightful host, gracious with his time you get the sense he really enjoys the vineyard tours, talking about his vines, and waxing on about his philosophy of wine.

I was so enamored by my first visit that I offered to help in any wine-related capacity should he need it, and lo I did receive an email about a year later. I had the "opportunity" to break my back in the vineyard helping to harvest and crush the 2010 Carte Blanche grapes, an exceptional white by my standards.

All in all, Clos Saron, Renaissance, Gideon and his family represent something special in the wine universe. What they are doing may be myopic in the larger scheme of CA producers, but it is certainly unique.