A few quick thoughts on the 2013 Tuli Pinot noir from Sonoma County.
Tuli is made by Joe Wagner, son of Chuck Wagner (of Caymus fame), and is part of a portfolio of wines that he produces for his Copper Cane Wines & Provisions company.
Along with Tuli, Copper Cane also makes Belle Glos, Elouan, The Willametter, BÖEN, Torial, Quilt, Beran, Carne Humana and the sparkling wine Steorra. Many of these new brands were developed by Wagner after he sold his Meiomi label to Constellation Brands in 2015 for $315 million dollars.
The name Tuli comes from the language of the native Wappo tribe that originally inhabited Sonoma County and means “sharing”. The fruit is sourced from throughout the county, including the Russian River Valley, with a primary focus on the cooler coastal regions of the Sonoma Coast, Fort-Ross Seaview and parts of the new Petaluma Gap AVA.
Medium intensity nose. Very ripe black cherry with noticeable vanilla oak and baking spice–particularly clove and nutmeg. Around the edges some cola spice comes out with air.
On the palate those very ripe cherry notes come through and, coupled with the vanilla richness, gives this wine a lot of weight. Medium acidity helps balance the medium-plus tannins and body but could probably be a tad higher. The spices still make their presence known as they extend through the moderate-length finish.
The Tuli is a “Joe Wagner Wine” through and through with its big body and soft, plush fruit. It’s not as sweet tasting as Meiomi was (probably because it doesn’t have Riesling and Gewürztraminer blended in) nor is it quite as full-bodied and oaky as the Belle Glos Pinots are–though there is definitely oak and weight in the Tuli.
At around $25-30, it hits a “Goldilocks niche” between the two styles. Above all, this is a Wagner wine with the family pedigree very evident.