Monday, March 9, 2020

The 2020 World of Pinot Noir in Two Tastes

Pardon my shorthand, but isn't that partially what you want from writers, for us to sift through everything and then say, "This is what you want?" Oh, yeah, you've got Netflix algorithms and Yelp for that now.

(George goes and cries for awhile.)

I'm back! And am going to write this anyway for the 11 of you who care (figure 11 makes me shy one disciple, and then no one has to cosplay as Judas--win win!). So the media room at World of Pinot Noir this year (March 5-7) is one of the reasons you want to be media--a room with three of its walls lined with open bottles of pinot for you to taste with no one to tell you nothing, so it's very tabula rasa. Also, consider it a room for spitting in private, which in our COVID-19 world is not merely good manners. Even before I got to hit the floor at Friday's Grand Tasting, I tasted a few delectables, all just so I could do my proper reporting for you, my dear (eleven) readers.

Two of those wines you see photo-ed above; for some reason the Goldeneye is a bit blurry hours before I was. It's easy to at least flirt with the notion that all California pinot gets samey, but these bottles say, "Disabuse yourself of such a notion."

The Rusack, did you look closely, is their wine from Catalina Island. They get to do that, as the Wrigley family owns both the winery and the island. (Go back and read that sentence one more time, have your giggle at the wonders of money, and move on.) Rumor has it that even at a MSRP of $72 they don't come close to making what it costs to produce the wine, simply thanks to shipping costs. Not surprisingly, all that marine influence means a very cool climate pinot, and this is almost shockingly light in the glass, as if a fledgling artist hadn't quite figured out how to get the red she had hoped to infuse into her stained glass. But that more transparent hue fits how much this pinot offers floral versus fruit--think rose and a touch of lavender, and then sandalwood, tea, wild cherry. A gorgeous, unique pour.

The Goldeneye, at first one might assume, would be more similar than different. Hailing from a vineyard in Anderson Valley, it comes from close to the Mendocino coast, and obviously much further north than Catalina or any other CA wine growing region (please tell me there's not a pinot from Lake County). And a very typical Anderson Valley pinot is usually delightfully cherry, but one a bit restrained.

Then there's this 2016 Gowan Creek from Goldeneye that screams cherry--you could almost imagine The Runaways singing an ode to it. Forget seductive, it's a flat out, lingerie-wearing seducer. And sure enough, all of that is the winemaking. Goldeneye, owned by Duckhorn, lays on the wood for this bottle--16 months in barrel, 100% French oak, 60% new. All that wood makes it brawny indeed (yet still somehow in balance, a testament to good fruit and acidity). It MSRP's at $86, so perhaps barrels cost more than shipping?

Both of these are pinots, so, what are you in the mood for this evening? There's a pinot for you if you just taste hard enough.

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