Posted by: Thomson Vineyards | March 8, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry. Everybody has is. It’s gender neutral. It doesn’t discriminate. It spans generations. It’s timeless, ageless and if somebody tells you the don’t have it – they’re lying.

George Thomson and David Iund at one time shared a football as kids. They were gifted the football simultaneously and told to share. Certain days of the week David retained the football on Cuttings Wharf Road. Other days, George retained it on Los Carneros Avenue. At times, whoever won the game on that particular day took the football home regardless of the schedule. Losers forfeit rights to playthings when they don’t win. At least that’s how it goes in our family.

David Iund & George Thomson standing on an bin of '09 Pinot Noir on its way to an *unnamed* winery who would be well served being roughed up a bit on the football field.

Since becoming the executive assistant to the executives, George and David, last year they’ve each respectively heaped generous amounts of things on my to-do list. As payback for one particular request, I simultaneously gifted them a licensed “Wine Storage” facility this Christmas…and told them to share. I said I didn’t care who had it on what days, or whether they divided it by days, months, or years. I simply told them to inform me of their decision and I’d make note of it. I haven’t heard back yet.

Sibling rivalry gets us all a little worked up around here. We aren’t afraid to stamp our feet at winemakers and tell them just how good our fruit is; we’ve had plenty of practice stamping our feet at one another and demanding that they meet us on the field to settle the dispute.

Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle rated Iund Vineyards, vineyard designate Pinot Noir among the top seven Carneros Pinot Noirs from the 2007/2008 vintage.

On the sibling rivalry front, as I sat in the golf cart during 2009 harvest watching Iund Vineyards fruit being hauled in, The Farmer declared, “Thomson Vineyards Pinot Noir is 10X better than Iund’s.” Which is rather entertaining considering they share equipment, share farming practices, share crews, even share clones, and also share an affinity for pie. Regardless of whose fruit is  better, this is certainly a win for the family.

And a special note to the winemakers out there who don’t want to play nice and share (READ: acknowledge the superior quality of Thomson and Iund Vineyards fruit and continue to debate me on price per ton). To you I say, “I’ll see you on the field…and I’ll bring the football.”

Carneros Pinot Noir
Lynne Char Bennett
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, March 7, 2010

2008 Castle Rock Winery Carneros Pinot Noir ($13): Castle Rock is a consistent high achiever in the under-$15 range. This is one of its seven Pinot bottlings, which comprise about 8 percent of all domestically sold Pinot last year. Straightforward strawberry and black cherry, with a touch of spice and enough acidity to handle pork roast. A nice lighter-bodied Pinot.

2007 The Donum Estate Carneros Pinot Noir ($65): This soon-to-be-released vintage from winemaker Kenneth Juhasz and grower Anne Moller-Racke, who planted the estate’s vineyards in 1989, has intense but elegant fruit. Ripe black cherry, licorice, fresh bay leaf and spice are balanced with food-friendly acidity and structure. A nuanced bottling.

2007 Harrington Wines Iund Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($40): Dave Iund has grown Pinot Noir from his eponymous vineyard for more than 20 years. This single-vineyard bottling offers subtly spiced cherry and raspberry aromas with mineral, slight savory and sweet oak notes; more ripe fruit on the palate, with tannins that should smooth within a few years.

2007 Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Sevens Bench Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($60): This seventh release from Hartford’s sole estate vineyard in the Carneros appellation has a shy nose of red cherry, mushroom with a touch of leather and sweet oak. More vibrant red fruit – rhubarb and pomegranate – plus sweet herb, licorice and leafy berry on the palate.

2007 Kazmer & Blaise Primo’s Hill Carneros Pinot Noir ($50): It has been a dozen years since Kazmer & Blaise produced its first wine, Primo’s Hill Pinot Noir. Though this bottling was somewhat controversial, proponents found savory bergamot, uplifted dark cherry and hint of smoke with silky mouthfeel. A distinctive, more earthy style. Limited production.

2007 Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($60): Larry Hyde’s iconic vineyard, planted in 1979, is one of the best-known in the Carneros appellation, and Patz & Hall has produced a Pinot from it for almost 15 years. Rich but not over-the-top oak entry is ballast for the generous berry fruit that expands on the back palate. Mint and moist soil add complexity; the long finish features a burst of acidity.

2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Four Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir ($56): Fruit from this bottling’s four estate vineyards includes some from heirloom Pinot Noir cuttings from neighboring Carneros vineyards. A leaner, more earthy style with mushroom, mineral, eucalyptus and slightly smoky, dried herb. Think duck as a pairing.

Panelists: Lynne Char Bennett, Chronicle staff writer; Jon Bonné, Chronicle wine editor; Joanna Breslin, owner, Bridge2Worlds Wine Agency.

This article appeared on page K – 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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