Clark & Telephone Vineyard
Santa Maria Valley
September 27, 2008 Vintages Release
(100 cases of 6)
Robert Parker (US)
The Wine News (US)
Issue: June / July 2008
“A rich bouquet of black cherry, ripe plum and clove. Intense, jammy
flavors of licorice and black cherry with a peppery edge. A nice
combination of fruit and a bell pepper-like spiciness in this wine will do well
with a variety of food. This youthful, energized Pinot will continue to
Quarterly Review of Wines (US)
Issue: Spring 2008
4 stars (out of 5)
“2006 Belle Glos Pinot Noir “Clark and Telephone Road Vineyard” (Santa
Maria Valley), $50. Rich, lush, elegant, texturous, black cherry, chocolate
and vanilla flavors.”
“Belle Glos Pinot Noir Clark and Telephone 2006 - $50.00
Our best new discovery in the same style as the cultish Sea Smoke and
Pisoni Pinots. We call this the Cabernet-lovers Pinot.
PORTHOS INSIDER SCOOP:
Chuck Wagner, founder of famed Caymus Napa Cabernet (‘Special
Selection’ = $135/bottle) recently began producing just a few bottles of
outstanding Pinot Noir and we say “what took you so long!?!” Anyone who
has ever thought that Pinots are “wimpy” has never tasted an elegant
Monster like this.
A classic combination of Burgundy complexity + delectable California fruit.
Complex, rich smoky fruit cascade across your palate featuring a silky
smooth texture with opulent layers of everything we love in California’s
biggest Pinots: succulent dark fruit, Indian spices, dried spices, and a hint of
black tea and tobacco leaf on the sultry finish. This is a truly sumptuous
Pinot ready to thrill now (after 1 hour decanting) + will develop into an even
more luxurious experience over the next 3 – 5 years so stock up now while
we have a few cases of this rare wine available. Bravo!”
Maybe you're a fan of Caymus Cabernets and have wondered what Caymus
Pinot Noir would taste like.
Well, I can tell you Caymus used to make Pinot Noir from Rutherford-
grown fruit many years ago. They even made a Pinot Noir Blanc called
“Eye of the Partridge.” What fruit they didn’t use themselves was sold off to
Inglenook. Nobody paid much attention to Pinot back then. Pinot Noir
grown in Rutherford! Never mind that the fruit had short hang time and
ripened quickly...all people paid attention to was “Brix” (a measure of the
sugar content of the grapes).
Chuck Wagner must have never gotten rid of the “bug” to make Pinot Noir.
He has about 150 acres in Santa Maria, just north of Santa Barbara. He’s
also working on a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir “project.”
The Pinot Noir appears not under his Caymus or Mer Soleil labels, but as
“Belle Glos.” This is named after Chuck’s Mom, Lorna Belle Glos-Wagner.
One of her grandfathers was a grape grower who had a vineyard on Howell
Mountain, while the other was a winemaker at Inglenook in the early 1900's!
She’s still living on the Caymus property.
The early releases were okay, but seem to lack a bit of polish and brightness.
I suspect they’re on a learning curve and will soon need to decide how much
cellar treatment is needed for their wines. We tasted the 2004s a couple of
times. They are decidedly more palatable on their own and not alongside a
flight of other Pinot Noirs in a blind tasting.
We’ve had requests for the new releases from 2006 and so a few bottles are
available, apparently, tightly allocated by the distributor and/or, the winery.
Currently in stock: 2006 Belle Glos “Clark & Telephone” Pinot Noir $49.99
“A project initiated by Chuck Wagner of Caymus fame, Belle Glos
represents a dramatic shift in California winemaking practices. Wagner had
grown Pinot Noir on his Napa property in the 1960s and bottled it under the
Caymus label until 1990, but realized Napa Valley did not provide optimal
conditions for this cool-climate varietal. Shifting the focus from
winemaking techniques to winegrowing location, Wagner’s son Joseph
sourced the first fruit for the Belle Glos label in 2001 from a 30 year-old
vineyard in the much cooler, and coastal, Santa Maria Valley. The Wagner
family had taken over that vineyard in 2000 and subsequently dropped fruit
to reduce yields, creating the foundation for a wine of balance and purity.
Joesph Wagner oversees winemaking at Belle Glos, producing a Pinot
Blanc, a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir blend, and three single vineyard Pinots:
Taylor Lane Vineyard (Sonoma Coast); Clark & Telephone Vineyard (Santa
Maria Valley); Las Alturas Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands).”
Passionate Foodie (US)
“2006 Belle Glos Pinot Noir, Clarke & Telephone Vineyard ($52.99): The
famous Caymus Vineyards produces renowned Cabernets as well as one of
my favorite white blends, Conundrum. Now the Caymus family has begun
to produce Pinot Noir. The wine maker at Belle Glos is Joseph Wagner,
who chose the name to honor his grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, a
co-founder of Caymus Vineyards. Belle Glos produces single-vineyard
Pinot Noirs from some of California’s top wine-growing regions. Based on
the wine I tasted, I believe Belle Glos is soon going to become very famous
for their Pinots.
The Clark & Telephone Vineyard is located near the corner of Clark Avenue
and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley. The vineyard is about 35
years old and was planted “own root” to the Martini clone. This heirloom
clone of Pinot Noir, one of the first to grace the California coastlands, has
become something of a lost treasure.
This was an exceptional Pinot. It was light red in color with an intriguing
nose of dark berries and spice. On the palate, there was a complex melange
of flavors, plum, blackberry, raspberry, cinnamon and other subtle spices.
The whole wine was more subtle, more Burgundian in style. It was very
smooth, with well integrated tannins and a delightful lingering finish. Just
an amazing taste that mesmerized me and I knew I had to buy a few bottles.
I will definitely seek out their other Pinots too.”
“Clark & Telephone Vineyard, located near the corner of Clark Avenue and
Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley, is cooled by wind and fog that
snakes in from the Pacific Ocean along a channel of the Santa Maria River.
Now 35 years old, the Clark & Telephone Vineyard was planted “own root”
to the Martini clone. This heirloom clone of Pinot Noir, one of the first to
grace the California coastlands, has become something of a lost treasure.
2006 Vintage Tasting Notes
Rich aromas of spiced ripe plum are framed by bright cranberry, toasted
baking spices and deep caramel flavors. This is a full-bodied wine with
refined tannins, firm acidity and a long finish.”
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