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WTN: 2001 Rochioli Pinot Noir


Carolyn Tillie
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By all accounts, this is a wine that people have clammered to get and is well-reputed.

By boss purchased four bottles and, not liking the one he opened, gave me the other three.

Shawn and I opened one this evening and are beyond unimpressed. What has been described elsewhere as jammy, fruit, syrah-like, dusty, and earthy we found to be wanting. While there was some fruit on the nose, the overall aroma was that of fresh cow manure which only increased through decanting. The earthiness was not the pleasant Burgundy-style of earth that we like in French wines (and many don't care for by drinking too many New World, young wines). The flavor itself was not that bad, but nothing spectacular with no body or finish.

Did we get bad bottles???

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Carolyn,

From my experience, you got exactly what they make. I have been underwhelmed by Rochioli for years. Not only is their wine not up to their hype, they are the most rude, unpleasant and frankly obnoxious people I have EVER ever met in the business. Every year, I make a "working vacation" trip to Napa and Sonoma for a week or so, to catch up with old friends and try new products and restaurants etc... Being in the trade, I am always most careful to book my appointments well in advance, through the proper channels. Three years ago, I wanted to visit Rochioli to really see what all the "hype" was about first hand.

I showed up precisely on time for my appointment at Rochioli. Walked into the tasting room, letter of confirmation for tour and trade tasting in hand. Stood for literally FIFTEEN minutes in a not crowded room (three behind the counter and perhaps five visitors) before a woman, said "Can I help you?" I said my name, my appointment time and handed the confirmation letter to her. She said "just a minute." and disappeared for ten more minutes. She came back saying "Sorry, but so-and-so isn't here today to give you a tour. We only have Sauvignon Blanc to taste, you can buy one bottle." She deposited a small glass with one ounce of SB in it in front of me and walked off. I left the glass untouched on the counter. When I returned to Austin, my first call was to my Rochioli distributor, cancelling my annual allocation of a "generous" 6 bottles...

With an extra hour to kill, I showed up at Dry Creek Vineyards early, and my great buddy and wonderful pal Don Wallace and I spent a wonderful couple of hours in the barrels and into his grappa, and then lunch.

For the money, there are so many more great Pinots from California than Rochioli, that you can actually BUY, and which are made by wonderful, generous, gracious and well mannered people who will sincerely appreciate your business.

IMHO, leave Rochioli for the more money than taste crowd....If anyone knows the folks at Rochioli personally, feel free to pass this on to them.

Cheers,

Rob

By all accounts, this is a wine that people have clammered to get and is well-reputed.

By boss purchased four bottles and, not liking the one he opened, gave me the other three.

Shawn and I opened one this evening and are beyond unimpressed. What has been described elsewhere as jammy, fruit, syrah-like, dusty, and earthy we found to be wanting. While there was some fruit on the nose, the overall aroma was that of fresh cow manure which only increased through decanting. The earthiness was not the pleasant Burgundy-style of earth that we like in French wines (and many don't care for by drinking too many New World, young wines). The flavor itself was not that bad, but nothing spectacular with no body or finish.

Did we get bad bottles???

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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