Pinot Noir, 1981. Tulocay Winery| Vintage Wine History and Information
PINOT NOIR. 1981 – TULOCAY WINERY
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | February 1985
Bill Cadman is proprietor and winemaker of Tulocay Winery. It is essentially a one-man operation with a very limited production. To support his winemaking habit of 2500 cases or less a year, he moonlights. He works as a senior tour guide at The Robert Mondavi Winery nearby. Now whether he is moonlighting from winemaking or from tour guiding is a curious question. Certainly his winemaking expertise is most useful as a tour guide of a winery. His winemaking came first. Starting in 1971, he served apprenticeships at important Napa wineries like Charles Krug, Heitz, and Clos du Val. Since 1975 he has operated Tulocay Winery on Coombsville Road in Napa. “Tulocay” comes from the Indian word for this general area.
Bill does not own any vineyards. He seeks out grower owners of small plots of ten acres or less which would otherwise be ignored by major wineries. His search has been fruitful. His reputation has overshadowed his modest production quantities. Several competition awards have come his way for his wines at local and National events.
The 2500 cases he produces annually are divided between four varietals. (Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) His passion is Pinot Noir, and so was mine when I tasted it! I happened to run into his booth at a trade tasting. You do not see his label too many places. He does his own marketing, and he does not have that much to market anyway!
Bill’s Pinot Noir rang bells and blew whistles in my wine memory bank. One of the closest correlations to a French Burgundy (Pinot Noir) I have experienced from a California Pinot Noir. That is his mission: to achieve excellence in this grape variety that has eluded most California winemakers. Bill commented “Pinot Noir is the most difficult of the premium varietals to work with. They’re much more sensitive than other grapes. We’re still learning so much about their requirements, both in the vineyards and in the winery. But the progress we’ve been making has been steady, and we can expect continued progress — and very dramatic progress at that — in upcoming years.”
Short of developing a personal style of Pinot Noir, most wine-makers attempt to match the classical Burgundy, known as the “Wine of Kings” in France. Exotic descriptions abound and vary by the temperament of the pronouncer! A basic description goes as follows: “at best, deep, rich color, fine ripe pinot aroma and fragrance, fairly alcoholic yet velvety, and quicker-developing (to clarets) thanks to a lack of tannic astringency, the result of grape variety, climate and vinification methods.”
Our Tulocay Pinot Noir is ruby red, with nearly a viscous appearing texture. The aroma is intense, varietal Pinot Noir, fruity but with same oak, complex somewhat, and lasting. Classic aroma. The taste is dry, full bodied, and chewy! Velvety robe to the taste, with reserved fruit. Shows breed and character. Rich lingering aftertaste. Serve at room temperature with game or duck.
Cellaring Notes: Will age with grace for 5 to 10 years or more.
- Domestic Selection: Fume Blanc, 1990. Haywood
- This Matter of California Wine Labels
- Adventures in Eating: The Best Wontons in the World
- Import Selection: Riesling, 1989. Roemische Weinstrasse
- Domestic Selection: Mourvedre, 1988. Francal
- This Matter of Table Wines
- Adventures in Eating: Minestrone Soup
- Import Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1989. Villa Montes
- Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1989. Plume Ridge
- This Matter of Vintage Charts