The Loring Wine Company is gaining national recognition as an outstanding producer of critically acclaimed Pinot Noirs. LWC, as it is less formally known among its dedicated followers, is located in Lompoc, California (Santa Barbara appellation). LWC’s excellent Pinots are produced from Pinot Noir grapes sourced from vineyards located in both California and Oregon.
Both Brian Loring and his sister Kimberly Loring run the Loring Wine Company. “My sister and I are equal partners in everything we do. We are co-winemakers, co-truck drivers, co-accountants, co-janitors, etc.,” says Brian. Both of them are passionate in their pursuit of producing terrific Pinot Noir.
The concept for the Loring Wine Company winery began with Brian’s self admitted obsession with Pinot Noir beginning in 1997. He worked with Norm Beko of Cottonwood Canyon winery during that year’s crush. “Norm gave me two barrels of Pinot Noir to play with after the crush,” says Brian. With unabashed humor Brian admits, “I basically messed up the wine. My first wine became that year’s Christmas presents for my family and friends.” Thirteen years later Brian is now an accomplished wine maker and producer of some of the nation’s best Pinot Noir.
I met Brian Loring in November, 2008 at the First Press Weekend of Wine event benefiting the Arizona Friends of Public Radio. I was there as the contracted wine consultant and charity wine auctioneer, so I made it a point to meet and greet every winemaker attending the event. I didn’t know what to expect when I approached Brian’s very well attended booth. Admittedly, my experience with LWC was only by reputation prior to meeting Brian.
Brian Loring was affable, unassuming and even modestly self deprecating. His web site (www.loringwinecompany.com) reflects his generosity, as he offers tips to prospective wine makers about wine making, the California winery licensing process, and also his personal Pinot Noir recommendations from other fine Pinot producers. After trying several samples of LWC Pinot Noir, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Your wines are incredible!” Out of the two hundred wines I tried at the First Press Weekend of Wine event, LWC easily rose to the top five percent of those wineries present at this charity wine event.
Some people proclaim that Loring Wine Company wines are made to be drunk now. While there is no doubt that these wines may be enjoyed now, it is my opinion that Brian has crafted LWC Pinots with significant structure and balance between the wine’s acidity and sugar to withstand significant aging. Much like their French counterparts, LWC Pinot Noirs may be cellared for a decade or more with great success. Don’t be fooled that a wine’s immediate drinkability is a sign of inherent weakness where long term aging is concerned.
The Loring Wine Company is currently selling their 2007 vintage release. LWC Pinot Noir may be purchased at local retailers or directly from the LWC winery.
Below are my personal reviews of the following 2007 LWC Pinot Noir vineyard releases I have sampled. Everyone of these Pinot’s has a bottle cost of $48 dollars.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Cargasacchi Vineyard (Santa Rita Hills).
A text book bouquet of cassis, berries and white pepper announces this terrific Pinot Noir. The palate is dry, with tight tannins, and this wine requires a little time to fully open up. Flavors of black currant, umami, pepper and a great finish will tantalize the Pinophile and connoisseur.
Rated 4½ Stars: Drink now or cellar.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Rancho La Vina Vineyard (Santa Rita Hills).
This Pinot Noir offers a tantalizing bouquet of raspberries, white pepper and herb. The palate is dry, light bodied, with moderate tannins. Flavors of raspberries, cranberry, and white pepper create a wonderfully long finish. No Pinot envy here in this little gem.
Rated 4½ Stars: Drink now.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Shea Vineyard (Willamette Valley).
Another terrific LWC Pinot Noir! I’m impressed with LWC’s use of the screw cap which preserves the fragrances of white pepper, raspberry and vanilla in the Pinot’s nose, as well as incorporating innovation into the higher end California wine market. The palate is dry, light bodied, with structure yet delivering light tannins. Flavors of deep strawberry, pepper and herbs are delivered. A long finish is to be expected.
Rated 4 Stars: Drink now or hold.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Durrell Vineyard (Sonoma Coast).
LWC just keeps producing great Pinot Noir! A bouquet of strawberry, white pepper and spice greets the nose of this wonderful red wine. The palate is dry, light bodied, and balanced with very soft tannins. Flavors of strawberry, pepper and spice forecast a terrific finish.
Rated 4 Stars: Drink now or hold for additional bottle aging.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Aubaine Vineyard (San Luis Obispo).
Aromas of plum, black pepper and vanilla announce this excellent Pinot Noir. The palate is dry, medium bodied, with moderate tannins. Flavors of raspberry, white pepper and herbs de Provence assists in the creation of a long finish. LWC keeps producing outstanding Pinot Noirs.
Rated 4½ Stars: Drink now or hold.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Russell Family Vineyard (Paso Robles).
A bouquet of strawberries, pepper and subtle vanilla announces this fine Pinot. This wine’s structured palate is dry, young, medium bodied, with moderate tannins. Notes of black currant, herbs and leather are pronounced. A moderately long finish is to be expected.
Rated 4 Stars: This wine is somewhat young and requires some decanting.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Gary’s Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands).
Cassis, berries, white pepper and subtle vanilla creates the memorable olfactory experience delivered by this Pinot. Moderate tannins, good balance and a moderately long finish are experienced in this young wine. Flavor notes of raspberry, herbs and smoke are pronounced.
Rated 4 Stars: Cellar or drink now after decanting for an hour or two.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Clos Pepe Vineyard (Santa Rita Hills).
Sensual notes of strawberry, white pepper, baked plum and toasted oak make up the nose of this Pinot. Strong tannins and structured balance create a long finish (even 24 hours later) in this young wine. Jammy flavors of berries, herbs and smoke are pronounced. Drink after four hours of decanting. Cellaring preferred.
Rated 5 Stars: This is a terrific wine in its infancy.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Keefer Ranch Vineyard (Russian River Valley).
Aromas of cherry pie, licorice, and vanilla greet the nose. My psychic wine barometer already tells me this is going to be a good Pinot. Structured balance, elegant tannins, and a long finish make it so. Dry, fruit forward, flavors of cherry, raspberry and subtle licorice scream wow!
Rated 5 Stars: Drink now.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Rosella’s Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands).
A bouquet of cassis, subtle lavender and toasted oak announces the nose. Good balance, elegant tannins, and a long indicate that this wine is ready for your enjoyment now. Dry flavors of cassis, herbs de Provence, and black pepper come to the forefront.
Rated 4 Stars: Drink now or hold.
LWC 2007 Pinot Noir – Brosseau Vineyard (Chalone AVA).
Aromas of cassis, licorice and toasted oak make up the nose of this yummy Pinot Noir. Medium plus acidity and sugar, and elegant tannins strike a great balance and provide a long, very pleasurable finish. Dry flavors of cassis, white pepper and herbs dominate. This wine is still fairly young and tight and I would recommend decanting for an hour or two for optimum conditions.
Rated 4½ Stars: Drink now or cellar for additional bottle aging.