Pinot Über Alles

Dark ruby with staining purple edges.  A touch milky.  Maybe even a little spritz?!? Big, greasy, black-cherry nose heavy on mineral, barnyard and alcohol.  Extremely ripe and extracted.  A little match-head and tobacco, but above all, deep-fruit and fat. We’re headed fairly seriously into Syrah territory here.

I have several clients whose homes are perched somewhat precariously on a steep hillside with the buildings in close proximity to each other.  With this situation comes a variety of movement, and with it cracking, sagging, separating, and un-evenness.  I joke with them how important it is to measure occasionally between the houses to make sure everyone is going down the hill at the same rate.  Why do I tell this stupid story? Here is the problem with Syrahs and Pinots.

As long as you drink Paso Syrah or Ballard Canyon Syrah or Eastern SYV or any of a myriad of spots churning out huge, 15-2 extracted Syrah bombs, then Pinot such as THIS one–or Seasmoke or Bella Glos, or Goldeneye, or Riverbench etc etc etc–taste perfectly like Pinot and everyone is happy.  The problem arises when you drink Syrahs from Sonoma Coast or RRV or SRH or SLH–far cooler climates.  Then suddenly pinots such as THIS one suddenly start overlapping.  I suppose if you consume only cool-climate SY, your pinot choices should be micro-wineries in North- or Sonoma-Coast, whatever ultra-thin stuff OR is trending on, or–speaking of trends–something from a winery affiliated with IPOB.

Despite how close the two varieties are, it is important to keep some spacing between them for sanity’s sake, if nothing else.  I like all styles, and any consistent reader of this journal will immediately notice those inconsistencies.  I like what I like, and it is important to KNOW YOUR REVIEWER.  There have been a lot of articles going around lately about style and who is right and who is wrong and who’s mad at who and who is butthurt because they didn’t get a 92 and how Rajat TP’d the Emperor’s house and how Randy Dunn thinks Jayson spells his name funny and it’s all just silly because you can make wine any way you like and you can like to drink wine any way you like.  Of course, anyone who likes a wine I don’t is an idiot, though.  Keep that in mind.

In the mouth, a beautiful chalky mineral runs headstrong against the intense floral nose this thing has breathed out to.  Massive pie-cherry fruit kicks in immediately and pretty much makes you re-think that whole flabby-nose-and-alcohol thing.  The alcohol is not present anywhere in the taste, and while generous acid is visible, the whole package is sweet and fat.  The fruit is magnificent, though huge and black and crisp and leading to SUBSTANTIAL tannins and another little alcohol bite.

This vineyard is a strange one–actually on Price Canyon Road far West of Edna Valley ‘proper’.  It occasionally pops up on labels and is a lot closer to Pismo Beach.  “13.0”.  That is not possible.  The label says 13-0.  I would have guessed a FULL point+ more.  13-0.  Really.

Do I like this style of wine?  Yes I do.  Do I  like this bottle of wine?  Yes, I do.  Is it big and bold Pinot?  Yes, it is.  Should you buy this wine?  Yes, you should. But think about it hard.

2011 EVENING LAND Pinot Noir Spanish Springs Edna Valley San Luis Obispo Co. 13.0


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