Tasting Report: 2009 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir

Friday, February 24, 2012

Radio-Coteau (rā’ dē ō - kō tō’) adj. A colloquial expression suggesting “word of mouth.” Region: Northern Rhone.
Literal Translation: broadcasting from the hillside.

I can't say for sure where I first heard of Radio-Coteau but I'm glad I did. It may have been @DrncPno on Twitter that planted the first seed which in turn encouraged me to buy a bottle of their 2006 La Neblina Pinot Noir. Paired with a simple mushroom pizza on a Friday night that wine was simply amazing. Not an off note in the bottle. Purely delicious.

Their focus is on Pinot Noir from the North Coast of California (Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley). They also produce Chardonnay and Syrah.

Their wines sell in the $40-$55 range which is one of the things I love about California Pinot Noir: You can buy wines from top producers at entry-level Napa Cab prices.

Stylistically, I think their wines are similar to Dehlinger's: Balanced and pure yet unabashedly new world. Proprietor Eric Sussman spent time as an associate winemaker at Dehlinger - as I learned in this excellent informative piece from Terroirist - so perhaps the similarities are more than coincidental. Both Dehlinger and Radio-Coteau produce Pinot Noirs with Goldridge fruit.

I hopped on their mailing list last year tried a couple of Pinot Noirs from the highly regarded 2009 vintage. They were as distinctive as they were impressive. Here are my thoughts:
  • 2009 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir La Neblina - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (2/19/2012)
    A beautifully balanced yet powerful and flavorful California Pinot Noir. The wine is unfined and unfiltered yet beautifully radiant in the glass. Wonderfully aromatic immediately upon opening with classic aromas and flavors of bright cherries, black tea, sweet spice, and cola. Silky mouthfeel and long finishes that stays with you long enough to want to take another sip. Tremendous stuff and a very good value at $42. Highly recommended. Enjoyed it quite a bit more than the 2009 Radio Coteau Alberigi which was dominated by orange peel. (94 points)
  • 2009 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir Alberigi - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (12/4/2011)
    There's a lot here to like but the orange peel aromas and flavors were overly dominant for me at this point which makes it hard to go nuts about the bottle I tasted from. (91 points)

    And here is my note for the 2006 I mentioned earlier:
  • 2006 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir La Neblina - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (9/18/2010)
    Really enjoyed this bottle. What struck me about it as being memorable was that it didn't have an off note or aroma in the entire bottle. And the amplitude was spot-on as well. Classy stuff. Enjoyed thoroughly with a mushroom pizza. (92 points)
Posted from CellarTracker

Their 2010s are just being released to mailing list members. Like other Sonoma Pinot producers they're saying the vintage was challenging but successful. In general I'm buying 2010 California Pinot Noir, but trying to be selective. 2009 was a tremendous vintage and there's still inventory around. And there's always another great vintage right around the corner.

For more information on Radio-Coteau visit their website and sign up for their mailing list. You can occasionally find their wines at retail as well.

Question of the Day: Have you tried Radio-Coteau? If so what did you think? If not, what are some California Pinot Noir mailing lists you'd recommend?

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