Feb 7, 2012

A visit to Talbotts on River Road

We decided that while most folks here in America were preoccupied with some version of football we would sneak out and have a taste at some unsuspecting tasting room in central California along the River Road Wine Trail in the Santa Lucia Highlands. How would we select the lucky or maybe not so lucky establishment?
It was to be first on the right after the turn off. Just that simple and arbitrary. Who might that be, well the lucky Cellar door was TalbottVineyards. Originally known just for their Chardonnay (Specifically their signature Diamond T) they are now just as well known for their Pinot Noir. But really, should they be? Let’s find out!
As we slid into the parking lot we were determined to find out, was the reputation of quality really deserved or just a marketing masterpiece that had the Wine xyz magazines falling in line singing their praise. Lucky for you all, we at WineWalkabout are not yet famous enough to be recognized and as such, usually get what anyone would get, and that is what allows us to pass on what is most likely to happen to you, if you choose to go, where we have been. Or something like that.
So as it turns out there are two distinct tasting lists; the standard and the reserve. The price range is also distinctly different. But sometimes in life you get what you pay for. Simple as that; Good, better, best!

After being welcomed in to the tasting room and the tasting options clearly explained both of us decided on the premium tasting. Two Chardonnays and three Pinot Noirs.
First up the 2009 Diamond T Chardonnay. Made from grapes from the original Diamond T vineyard planted in 1982 on a mountaintop in Carmel Valley. A crisp clean wine with sharp apple notes with a subtle minerality and a balanced acidity. A 7+ and **(*** if you are wine club member). Next up the 2009 Cuvée Audrey. Soft yellow fruits with a nice subtle acidity, typical of a quality traditional Chardonnay. A solid 7 and **. Next it was on to the Pinot Noirs with first up the 2009 Diamond T Pinot Noir. A bright looking wine with rich color, light to medium body with nice cherry and plum notes with an easy finish. Solid 6 and **, ***with membership. This was followed up with 2008 Cuvée RFT, Pinot Noir. With nice bright color and a lovely full mouth feel and with notes of ripe dark fruit and spice and a soft well balanced finish. Solid 7 and **.  Last but not least was the 2009 Cuvée Sarah Case Pinot Noir. This wine is sourced from the Sleepy Hollow Vineyard and is the best of what this vineyard has to offer. A bright medium bodied wine with notes of cherry and plum, it has nice soft spice notes and a smooth balanced finish. A 7 and **.
Koala managed a sneak peek of the barrel and production facility which showed an efficiently used and spotlessly clean facility which may go some way to explain some of the well presented wines.

The young lady in the tasting room was knowledgeable enough to inform us of most things important about Talbotts history and current production information and articulate enough to keep our attention. We each purchased a bottle of the 2009 Diamond T Pinot Noir (VALUE- Kiwi was tempted to purchase the Cuvée RFT, but the price point was in favor of the Diamond T)) and a bottle of the 2009 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir(extra VALUE) which was later consumed whilst watching the aforementioned football game on DVR (so we could fast forward most of the game and watch the commercials) with bbq'd vegetarian polish sausage (you know, made with turkey).
So while we only uncovered what some may have expected, the wine xyz magazine editors can sleep well knowing that WineWalkabout's Kiwi and Koala validated their ratings.
So if you find yourselves in the River Road area looking for some wine to taste, we 'recommend' stop by Talbotts and tell them WineWalkabout sent you! Be sure to ask what the thing hanging over the back door is used for.



Kiwi & Koala

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