Miro’s Cellars Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir

I am not exactly sure why a single-vineyard, 200 case production, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir would be offered for under $25 when Pinot Noir from the same exact vineyard, Floodgate Vineyard, can command bottle prices twice as much. Floodgate Vineyard, at the southern end of the Russian River Valley in an area known as the “Middle Reach”, was first planted decades ago and has been the source for numerous award-winning wines. I suppose the reason why winemaker/proprietor Miro Tcholakov offers this lovely, jubilant cherry-infused Pinot Noir at the low, low price of $22.98 (at The Wine House) is because he can. I have not personally met him (yet), but I’m going to go out on the limb here and conclude that Miro is probably a bit of a rebel who bucks convention to make wines that outperform expectations given their modest sticker price. We get inundated with wholesale books, dropped off regularly by hopeful wine salespeople. Time allowing, I will peruse the pages, hoping to find a gem among the crowded field. When I came across Miro’s Cellars in a small boutique portfolio, I thought the prices listed were a typo. I quickly emailed my rep and asked to taste the wines…only after confirming that the prices were indeed correct. I tasted the Floodgate Pinot Noir with Tom who when asked what he thought of it said something to the effect of “what are you waiting for?” Yeah, really, how often am I going to find a balanced, approachable, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from a famed vineyard for $22.98? Not nearly often enough; back up the truck!
Miro Tcholakov, a Bulgarian native, came to the U.S. on a student exchange program offered through the Future Farmers of America. He landed in Napa and quickly thereafter came to Dry Creek Vineyards where he worked up the ladder from harvest intern to winemaker. Now that is an American success story. These days he is winemaker for Trentadue Winery in Alexander Valley and as a side gig, makes wines for himself under Miro’s Cellars. Everything I’ve tasted from Miro to date has been wonderful and along with the Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir, we are carrying a Grist Vineyard Zinfandel and a GSM blend called “Cuvee Sasha”. Most of what I am sharing with you is information gathered from the Miro’s Cellar website where I found it revealing and refreshing that to read about Mr. Tcholakov, you have to scroll down to the very bottom of the homepage and click on a link. Obviously he is a modest winemaker who wants his wines to take center stage.

Miro’s 2010 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir is indicative of the intense cherry fruit you look for in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Though relatively low in alcohol, labeled at 13.5%, for a red from this area, and with time in new oak, about 11 months, this Pinot Noir is expressive of place and is reigned in nicely. It’s a wine to consider for the Thanksgiving table or to bring along to your next dinner party.

The warehouse has been reloaded with a container from France. We’ll be unveiling the new arrivals in upcoming newsletters and once pallets have been broken down and wine counted in, many of you will soon be getting emails for wines purchased on pre-arrival. I’ve been having a major clean-up at home as I no longer can take refuge from the mess by staying outside. I made my first pot of stew of the season and have been on a roasted vegetable kick. Have you tried roasting Brussels Sprouts? My daughter scoffs them down! She told me the other night as she stabbed the tiny cruciferous morsel, “Do you know that some kids at school think these are yucky? I don’t…I love them!” Put that in the win column for mom. —Anya Balistreri
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Filed under Anya Balistreri, California, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

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