2011 Talley Estate Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir
The 2011 Pinot Noir Estate wafts from the glass with exquisite aromatics and weightless, articulate fruit. Bright, nuanced and wonderfully delineated, the 2011 is all about understatement. Clean, saline notes support the bright finish. The partial use of whole clusters works very nicely here. This is a drop-dead gorgeous wine from Brian Talley.Drinking window: 2013 - 2018 I found much to admire in Brian Talley's 2011 Chardonnays and Pinots. The Chardonnays are all bright, pointed and intensely marked by the year, while the Pinots appear more defined by site. Either way, the wines are drop-dead gorgeous. Proprietor Brian Talley and his winemaker, Eric Johnson, describe 2011 as more consistent for Chardonnay than Pinot, which experienced a very poor set. Talley fans will also want to check out the entry-level Bishop's Peak wines, which are reviewed separately in this issue.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid ruby-red. Fresh red berry and rose scents show impressive clarity and energy. Sweet, pure and elegant in style, offering lively raspberry and spicecake flavors and a seamless, silky texture. Shows excellent focus and alluring spiciness on the finish, with fine-grained tannins adding shape and gentle grip. This graceful pinot is already delicious.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Arroyo Grande is a pretty, balanced wine that has beautiful fruit and solid complexity. Sweet red cherries, strawberry, dried spices and plenty of underbrush round out this medium-bodied, supple effort that should drink nicely for 5-6 years. Drink now-2019. These knockout efforts are made by Brian Talley and were some of the most impressive Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs I tasted during my more than two week trip through the central coast. In addition to their estate offerings, their Bishop’s Peak releases reviewed here come from purchased grapes throughout the central coast and offer good typicity and drinkability for not much buck.
According to Talley Vineyards, they were spared the late spring frost that stymied Central Coast vineyards in 2011, however, "fruit set was reduced by wet spring conditions and yields were about 30% below average. One of the coolest summers on record resulted in long hang time and grapes with high natural acidity." The Estate blends 85% Rincon Vineyard Pinot Noir with 15% Rosemary's Vineyard. The Wine Advocate's Anthony Galloni is also a fan of this farmers-turned-vinters outfit: "Talley remains one of the great estates in California that has yet to be fully discovered. As a result, prices remain exceedingly fair considering the quality of what goes into the bottle. Stylistically, Talley prefers the more taut, mineral side of Chardonnay, while the Pinots tend to emphasize perfume over sheer size. Native fermentations, little new oak and minimal SO2 are all part of the gentle treatment these wines receive in the cellar." (8/2008)