2005 Toad Hollow "Rod's Pride" Pinot Noir

MacBadger Would Be Proud

So I drank this wine quite some time ago. Last summer, to be exact. I’ve intended to write it up since then, but things get in the way. For instance, I wrote my notes on this wine in an actual notebook. With a pen. It’s a Moleskine. I like them so much, but since I began using Evernote and my iPhone and iPad, I almost never take pen and paper notes.

Plus, my handwriting is downright awful. Embarrassing, even. Your first-grader’s refrigerator door art autograph is easier to read. Doctors sign Rx pads with more clarity. Chickens don’t scratch so illegibly. But after a bit of time, I was able to transcribe the notes from my own private hieroglyphics into actual English, put them into Evernote, and now, I can share them with you.

I drank this wine on a warm day in Walnut Creek, California. Spent with friends and a brief visit with some of my most ardently wino family members (I’m looking at you, Mike and Nancy!), it was one of those good days. The Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival probably isn’t the kind of event that makes your radar, nor, in all likelihood, should it. If you live within 15 miles of the town, then you should probably make the effort, but I digress.

Scattered all over Heather Farms Park are tents. Some contain art. Others, craftworks of varying origin and value. And others still, contain beer or wine. The tents down on this busy, boisterous lawn (complete with the requisite local bands you’ve never heard of—even if you go to local music events) contain some decent juice, and are probably fine for most people. The very first time I had a viognier was at this event in (I believe) 2006 or so.

But some day, you have to graduate. To the premium wine tent.

I want to make it sound ominous and amazing, but it isn’t. What it is, however, is away from the din. Away from the overly-loud 70s southern rock cover band tortuously wailing through a rendition of… well, of something by Foghat, I guess. Away from crying babies, and the extra heat brought on by coupling grass and a distinct lack of shade.

And it does contain better wine. Like this wine. The “Rod’s Pride” Reserve Pinot Noir from Toad’s Hollow Vineyards. Pinkish-reddish in the glass, the wine’s color reminded me of the juicy surroundings of pomegranate seeds. The color is pretty prescient, as the nose is taken up by the lightly sweet, and yet robust fruit notes of pomegranate, cherry, and strawberry.

This is no subtle Burgundian, but it’s damn tasty. The wine is medium-bodied with a long finish and bright red fruit up and down the palate. Mostly the same as the nose, pomegranate, strawberry, and cherry. But also with a hint of mango, which I assure you tastes even better than it sounds.

I actually realize that, upon reading this back to myself, I’m making this wine sound like a fruit bomb. It’s not. It’s refined and elegant. But it is “new world” in the sense that you won’t find any of those Burgundian mushroom / forest floor / mossy notes here. This is a light, pink pinot noir in many ways. But it’s delicious, and long-finishing, and restrained.

And easily, easily recommended.

Verdict: 92/100>
Price Point: $47

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