As evidenced by how often I would bring home a bottle of this pre-harvest to attempt tasting notes, only to write no notes because I was enjoying it so much and suddenly (magically), the bottle was empty. Maybe it was because our daughter Rachel was at home and helping us with the organoleptic analysis? Maybe this was the Houdini vintage and the wine was able to escape the glass container right before our eyes? Or maybe I just wanted to have to bring home another bottle? Whatever the reason, I guess one can say I am very happy with this wine.
What is important to me in this wine is that it is true to the region, that it is compelling and that it has the legs to age into something beautiful and interesting. Yet there is a ‘siren’s call’ back to the glass much as Odysseus/Ulysses experienced during the fabled travels. This is well illustrated here. by Cream. My guitar buddy (Michael Jordan, the Master Sommelier rather than the basketball player) and I were videoed doing an acoustic version captured at an unwinding party after a days’ tasting at a wine competition a decade ago. It is less flamboyant and shows our fatigue but channels the spirit without the electric instruments or substances.
What keeps drawing me back to this bottling is the balance of elements: fruit, non-fruit, structure and generosity. There are red and blue and dark fruits on the nose. The dark cherry cola signature is put into a supporting role by the beautiful floral (like roses) and herbal character (rose hips) of the neighborhood where most of the grapes were grown, similar to the Hallberg bottling which is an important part of this blend. On the palate, there is still a good bit of acidity and tannin to support these flavors that are hinted at on the nose. One does not have to reach for the stars to understand and appreciate this wine. It’s a baby that is aimed for a really great trajectory.
The Russian River Valley bottling is our main Pinot Noir bottling both in volume and in focus. This vintage played right into my sweet spot as far as looking at proportion of total skin material to total seed material when making harvest decisions. Because of the high proportion of small seedless berries, I was less concerned about the overall bitterness of the seeds because I think one needs a certain amount of these bitter compounds to react with and stabilize all that skin material extracted during fermentation. The result helps keep more of the wine in the wine. There are products called ‘enological tannins’ that you can add to over-ripe grapes that do the same. When one harvests at the right time there is no need for any sleight of hand. Nature has all the stuff right there in the grape itself – like magic.