Tasting Report: 2009 Roar Pinot Noir

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garys', Rosella's, Pisoni... While exploring top California Pinot Noir producers you'll inevitably bump into a short list of vineyards that supply folks like Kosta Browne, Loring, Siduri, A.P. Vin, and Miner with grapes. When you dig a little deeper you'll find that Gary and Rosella Franscioni are the owners of these vineyards and they produce wine under their own label: Roar.

The vineyards are within the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA in Monterey County California, which has become one of my favorite regions for Pinot Noir. The Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley, and the Sonoma Coast are up there too, but I'm really enjoying the bold fruit-forward Pinot Noirs from SLH.

The Franscionis have been farming in the area for over 100 years before getting into wine. They planted Rosella's Vineyard in 1996 then decided to make their own wine in 2001. It's amazing how quickly Pinot Noir quality has risen in California.

The name Roar comes from sound winds make as it tears through their vineyards. Roar recently released their Spring 2010 offer to folks on their mailing list. Their Pinots sell for $40-$50.

The winemaker here is Ed Kurtzman (Freeman, August West, and his own label Sandler) with consultation from Adam Lee (Siduri). They also make Syrah and recently added Chardonnay to their lineup.

Here are my thoughts on their 2009 appellation bottling.

2009 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
994 Cases Produced
$40 Release Price
14.9% Alcohol

I had high hopes for this wine and it didn't disappoint. At all.

Opened it to help decide whether to buy their 2010's and I think I will. It's ready to go immediately upon opening but boy does it reveal more with time. Each sip was better than the one before it. Tremendous.

Started off as a very good/outstanding Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir but evolved into much more.

Brimming with incredibly ripe strawberries with supporting notes of dry kindling. Like imagine you're starting a campfire in the desert and you grab some mesquite and snap one open. Wow. But not doubt - the fruit dominates. It's just always followed up with enough savory complexity to keep it interesting.

Unfined and unfiltered, and it shows at times with slight siltiness throughout and occasional rogue sediment. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and in keeping with its category. Long finish. Tremendous wine. Carries its price tag ($40) and then some.

If it were an NFL running back it would be Barry Sanders - starts off looking like it's going to be just a solid effort and ends up breaking it wide open. So fun to watch it in action.

94/100 WWP: Outstanding

Based on this experience I'll be buying their 2010s and looking forward to trying more of their wines. You can find them around at retail, but you've got to look around.

Further Reading:

Question of the Day: Have you tried Roar Pinot Noir? If so what did you think? If not, what other producers in this category would your recommend?


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