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East vs West: Cool Climate Palates and California Chardonnay

One very interesting aspect of the wine tasting profession is the notion of a regional palate. The difference is clear to those who judge at competitions that use tasters from all over the world, or even just from different parts of North America, from east to west coast. There is a definite propensity for those who taste mainly wines from the west coast, whether it is the Okanagan Valley in BC, Washington, or California, to prefer lower acid, “bigger,” more fruit forward wines. West Coast palates also tend to be far more tolerant of higher alcohol wines.
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2009 Von Holt Suacci Vineyard Pinot Noir

The color is a bright, clear ruby. On the nose, a small hint of funk is a corona to dried cherries, sage, and a bit of brown sugar. The palate leads with the dried cherry and a bit of dried cranberry, all with a wet black dirt undertone. Sage shows up on the mid-palate along with some river rock minerality, then the most interesting thing happens—just at the end of the wine in your mouth, really in the transition between mid-palate and finish, there is a pronounced, but ephemeral, flash of flavor, like sticking your tongue in a plate of crushed black pepper with a little red pepper and just a few finely chopped bits of jalapeño added to the mix. Then it is gone, instantly. The finish is of moderate length. Drink with cedar planked salmon. Highly Recommended.
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2007 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Bright garnet in color, the nose reminds us of freshly fallen autumn leaves, dark cherry and a hint of cola. On the palate, we tasted more cherry, red raspberry and earthy mushroom with toasty oak. Pleasant minerality with a medium finish, this is a very nice young wine that possesses plenty of structure for aging. A more detailed review about this wine and the winery is available here on Another Wine Blog.