2007 Baker Lane Vineyards Pinot Noir Ramondo Vineyard Sonoma Coast
We were tough to please, even with all the journalistic hoopla over the 2007 Sonoma Pinot Noirs. We only found a handful of producers with wines that provided not just 2007 lushness, but the backbone required to balance out all that dark red fruit velour.
Stephen Singer sent a bottle of the 2007 Baker Lane Pinot Noir "Ramondo Vineyard" to our room at Meadowood -- a little welcome present. The Ramondo was pure 2007, packed with dark wild cherry fruit, but with that wonderful lightness of being that we found all too rarely in 2007.
At the end of Baker Lane, the spot is cool. But that's only part of it. On these Gold Ridge hillsides, in western Sonoma County, with its sandy, loamy soil, Stephen Singer left the restaurant and wine retail business determined to make something special. In the miracle year of 2007, with that Indian Summer of which we've spoken so frequently, Singer's Baker Lane put out some absolutely succulent wines -- none more so than this single vineyard Ramondo bottling.
When we first went to see Stephen a year ago to talk about his 2007s, we started with the nickel tour. At the end of Baker Lane, Singer has spent years creating his own little eco-system, featuring an elaborate property-wide system of drains that form a highly engineered sedimentation basin. This is the kind of organic micro-land development that the untrained eye doesn't see. But as much as those big, fancy tasting rooms on the Silverado Trail, it burns a hole in your pocket. One big difference. The tasting room doesn't make the wine better. But Singer's investment is on full display in each glass of these amazingly vibrant, chiseled wines.
How does this dark ruby Ramondo Pinot Noir compare to the handful of truly world class 2007s offered on WineAccess last year? We found Pinot fireworks in each of Dan Goldfield's fabulous single vineyard bottlings, in Ken Freeman's Sonoma Coast release, and Alex Davis's small production Porter Creek Fiona Hill Pinot Noir. And the Baker Lane "Ramondo"? Imagine the sweet fruit of Fiona, the warmth of Freeman and a dose of the vibrancy of Goldfield's Devil's Gulch. If Goldfield's wines are all about 'energy', Freeman's about brightness, Davis's warmth, in Singer's wine it is the nectar-like elixir.
"Bright medium red. Spicy redcurrant and strawberry on the nose, with sexy floral and mineral qualities adding complexity. Musky cherry and red berry flavors are given spine by juicy acidity and fine-grained tannins, which add back-end grip. Stretches out with air, becoming broader and sweeter on the long, sappy finish."
91 points--Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar