2000 Kalin Cellars Cuvee DD Pinot Noir [JG95+]
John Gilman, 95+ Points
"My goodness, where has the time gone? Here is a pinot noir from Frances and Terry Leighton that actually has its roots in the twenty-first century! It happens to be from the Demostene Ranch, home to Kalin’s finest pinot bottlings since at least the 1978 vintage (please see below) and it is flat out stunning. The deep, pure and beautifully developed bouquet offers up a complex constellation of red and black cherries, roasted gamebird, forest floor, beautiful spice tones (cinnamon, cardamom and cloves), woodsmoke, an exotic hint of eucalyptus and cedary oak. On the palate the wine is focused, complex and beautifully wide open and refined on the attack, with an excellent core of fruit, superb soil signature, still excellent, tangy acids, ripe tannins and a long, perfectly balanced and complex finish. This is still a relatively young wine on the palate (even at age nineteen!) and could do with a bit more time to relax in the cellar, but with decanting, it is awfully easy to drink today. But, witness the 1978 version listed below, it is still early days for this stunning bottle of pinot. This is one of the best vintages of the Cuvée DD I have ever tasted!"
About the Winery: Kalin Cellars is an artisanal, traditional enterprise at heart. Terry and Frances are literally the only “people between you and bottle.” (They don’t employ anyone to help out in the winery, and as a result never produce more than 7000 cases annually.) Terry is also a professor emeritus of microbiology at UC Berkeley and understands the science of winemaking better than most. They select specific strains of yeast to bring out the uniqueness of each vineyard site. They pioneered sur lie aging in America and were among the first to bottle their wines unfiltered, beginning with the 1981 vintage.
Like their peers in Europe, the Leightons’ methods can, at times, seem unorthodox. They’ve been known to release vintages non-chronologically. Kalin may have been the only winery to release most of the ‘92 Chardonnays before the slower-evolving ‘91s since, says Terry, “We release what tastes good...every wine we offer is a library wine.” The Leightons also believe that the American public is ready for sediment — sometimes a lot of sediment — in their wines. “If it doesn’t have crud in the bottle, it isn’t Kalin,” Frances told Richard Nalley in Departures Magazine a few years ago.
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