I usually don’t write about wineries that I haven’t visited, but I am making an exception of sorts today. I am sure most of you have seen the horrific images of the wildfires that have engulfed parts of California, including the Kincade Fire in Sonoma and Napa Counties. Many of the friends I have made over the years in that part of the world have either had their power cut off (as a preventative measure), have been evacuated, or both.
I have never met Rick or Amber Moshin but they have been a fixture in the Russian River Valley for decades. It appears, after a few days away under evacuation orders, that they are back up and running and the winery is open for business once again. I can imagine that it must have been similar to what we experienced here in Houston with first hurricane Harvey and then Tropical Storm Imelda, but fires seem much worse, more sinister, scarier.
From the information that I have been able to find, it seems as though the Kincade Fire is more than two-thirds contained, and they hope to get the entire fire under control in the coming few days. I know that must be a relief to a region that has suffered greatly from fires over the last few years.
Posting tasting notes for the wines that the Moshins sent me this past Spring seems a bit odd, but I imagine they, like all of the residents in the area, must be eager to return to their homes and to a state of relative normalcy. So here are the wines that I tried, and I hope to get out to visit the winery soon.
2016 Moshin Vineyards Chardonnay Westside Crossing, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $28. I have ridden by the vineyards that dozens of times along Westside Road up to Wohler Bridge. If you know where that is, you know that it is beautiful riding and fantastic vineyards. Slightly golden straw in the glass with lemon curd, green apple, a touch of vanilla, and the ever-so-subtle presence of oak. The wine is initially rather soft on the palate before the fruit comes in halfway through. Right before the finish, the tartness comes roaring in along with some salinity and flintiness. A solid wine at an attractive price. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2018 Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $25. I tried this back in June for my World’s Largest Blind Tasting of American True Rosé. Here were my notes at the time: Light pink, really light. Flinty and white flowers on the nose. It comes off as sweet initially, but the acid comes in on the mid-palate. A bit disjointed on the finish. Still, Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2015 Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir Westside Crossing, Russian River Valley, CA: Similar to the Chardonnay that I sampled yesterday, the fruit for this wine comes from near Wohler Bridge, which is the main route I use to connect Westside and Eastside Roads in Russian River. I have ridden there a number of times, and I have to say it is one of my favorite routes. The wine should be on the shortlist of favorites for those who like a solid Pinot at a reasonable price. Sure, it is not a blockbuster, but it has good cherry aromas and flavors along with a bit of earth and vibrant acidity. For under 30 bucks you can do a heckuva lot worse. And I have. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2015 Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate, Russian River Valley, CA: I hate to admit it, but I received this wine to review back in April and we are but a few days from November. For me, though, at least here in Houston, Pinot Noir is a Fall wine (Fall in Houston is pretty much like Summer in most places). Medium to dark color in the glass with dark cherry, black pepper, and rich herbal quality. The palate is delightful: initial fruit, tartness midway through, then fruit (again) and intrigue on the finish. Lovely. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2016 Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir River Myst Haven, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $58. This was the last bottle of the Moshin wines that I tried and it was easily the tightest upon opening: there was little fruit on either the nose or the palate. So I put a cork in it and tried again the following day. Whoa. Dark cherry and even raspberry on the nose with hints of earth and cedar. The palate is fruity, but more reserved than most of its RRV brethren, and is quite savory, herbal, and delicious. This could use a bit more cellaring (there are some healthy tannins on the finish that would support more bottle time), a healthy decant, or both. Lovely Pinot. Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2016 Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosalina Vineyard, Russian River Valley, CA: As happens more often than one would think with samples, I popped, poured, and paused–it was rather blasé: not much fruit, not much intrigue. I put a cork in it and tried again the following day. World of difference. Dark cherry, earth, gravitas on the nose, fruit, acidity, and depth on the palate. Had I stopped on night one? Maybe a Meh. Day two? Excellent, maybe more. Excellent. 91-93 Points.