Talisman is a winery I’ve been really excited to try. They made it onto the list pretty late in the game when I was filling in some blanks in my calendar with wineries in Glen Ellen. But Talisman really interested me when I read about their wines. They make really small batches of Pinot Noir (check). And they even make some vineyard designate wines and bottle them by clone (geeking out).
I made a reservation but they’re also open to the public. When I walked through the door, he knew exactly who I was and what brought me to them. There were two other small groups tasting in their lounge with me. My tasting host poured me a taste of their 2018 Dawson Vineyard Rose of Pinot Noir. He explained that they sought out a specific vineyard just to make their rose. I quite liked it. He showed me around their small facility and then let me sit wherever I wanted.
So, I sat at a long table with room for lots of glasses. He explained that we would taste a few pre-selected wines and then pull out some other stuff based on my feedback of the previous wines. I was excited to hear that! And noted that I was curious about these single clone bottlings.
I’m sad to say that the style of their Pinot Noir overall was not exactly the style I prefer. I preferred smoother, more fruit-forward pinots. But, I can still respect the wine.
My pre-selected pours were:
- 2016 Sadie’s Vineyard (RRV)
- 2014 Starscape Vineyard (RRV)
- 2015 Adastra Vineyard (Carneros)
My favorite of the three was their Sadie’s vineyard. Interestingly, it was also their least expensive – that never happens!
The subsequent pours selected specifically for me were:
- 2015 Wildcat (Sonoma Coast)
- 2014 Gunsalus (RRV)
- 2014 Red Dog (Sonoma Mountain)
- 2007 Red Dog – Pommard Clone (Sonoma Mountain)
- 2007 Red Dog – Dijon Clone (Sonoma Mountain)
- 2015 Sadie’s (RRV)
I really enjoyed tasting the side-by-side 2007 Red Dogs. I found I preferred the Pommard Clone version to the Dijon Clone version if we’re splitting hairs. If you notice, they also design their pinots to age. The winery is even hosting a “90s dinner” next month where they’re pulling out some of their original vintages to share. I wish I loved their wine more – I was ready to sign up for the dinner!