Tag Archives: pinot noir

Mine. All mine.

2 Apr


I am a wine slut. I get into this..then that…and in the moment what I have is my true love. For flavor. I’m different with humans. Even though I’d argue each wine is its own person. Just not human.

I am a wine polyagomist. I have enough tastebuds to love a whole lotta fluids. From grapes. Grapes. Wrest ye minds from zee gutters.

What I am saying is while in a person I want one, in my grapes I am a flagrant harlot seeking pleasure.

2015 J Wine Monterey County/Sonoma County/Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

This one is a surprising pleasure.

It was surprising in that I was not expecting it when boom! FedEx was at my door. Thank you Gallo publicists.

I know you are thinking “that is one grape!” It is just Pinot Noir!

But look more closely at the bottle. This is Monterey County + Sonoma County + Santa Barbara County and the same grape is wildly different depending which of those locations it is grown.

Let us be more specific. In Monterey it is Santa Lucia Highlands. In Sonoma it is Russian River. And then in general Santa Barbera.

I don’t need my loves to know their entire genetic past. As with wine this is enough because it is good in my…okay it is good. Great even. For a 25 buck wine (I did not buy but that is the suggested price) this is QUITE do-able.

I am probably more picky with men but maybe I should move past this metaphor.

This wine has the elements of its main three regions. There is the jammy nature of Santa Barbara where SoCal heats things up. There is the red fruit and chipper acid of Monterey where coastal breezes keep things from being jammy. Then there are the bright cherry notes and elegant tannins which are gripping yet drying but not unpleasantly so from Sonoma. Those coastal breezes counteract brutal sun.So blend those three grapes together and it is a damned fine wine.

Heck. I LOVE when something I did not expect arrives at my door AND is SUPER good. Hell.

Life is good. Kiss the ones you love. Hold their hands. And then…drink the shit out of whatever beverage you wish because monogamy is for people.

Free love is for grapes.

 

 

It’s not corked!!!

21 Mar


Oh heck I was nervous to taste my second. Because the first was wonk so I wrote the winery and they sent me a non-corked specimen. But what if I was wrong?

I’m a member of this winery. Did I hate one of their top wines? Was this a sign my taste blew? Blows? Blow-ed? Did a blow thing in the past?

I was questioning existence itself as a thing which is probably too much thought for a wine that was obviously corked.

All the same the winery kindly sent me a replacement bottle and I was SO SCARED that I’d open it and it would be the same and the wine was supposed to taste like that and maybe I just had terrible taste buds.

It was not corked. My tasters work. This wine is marvelous and kudos Dragonette for quickly remedying my corked situation.

2014 Dragonette Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

Only 380 cases produced. It’s too bad one was corked but gosh dang the real deal is the bees knees.

Bees have real sexy knees.

Fuck dude it’s cherry syrup on butter pecan ice cream. That’s it.

Okay I will say more.

You sip and boom there is some acid. Also if you get to the end of the bottle there is some sediment. This shit is unfiltered like a goddamned boss.

Shit this is…GOOD Cali Pinot?! I Lurve This Pinot. Right now. I’m not normally into Cali Pinot but Dragonette as I mentioned is a goddamned boss.

Okay to sum up it is highly Acidic. Highly cherries that have hung out in vanilla and oak and sunshine. 

This is one of those confusing thangs. There is so much up body up in this Noir you are like “is this a cab Blend?” And then you are like I’m an idiot.

But you are not. Because this lovely is full and nuanced and mellow yet complicated like me when I am not yet fully awake but already trying to decipher my dreams.

It’s like…the cherries. But they are complicated. Did I mention them? The cherries? Like every color and roasted and boiled and maybe even pickled. All the cherries.

I mentioned them right?

And there is mayhaps some oak. 

Double checked: 20 months in French oak barrels–13% new.

This is cherry Coke vacationing on the shore near the forest in…in wherever there is earth n dirt and an enchantress stewing cherries. 

Yah.

Happy spring y’all.

This is your unicorn Pinot.

It’s a Pinot. It Sounds Cooler. I know all this because I’ve been studying.

1 Dec


I have not written in a few. After November 8th I was observing a period of mourning (you can guess why) and then I was studying NONSTOP for the WSET 3 exam.

Which I still might not pass. I misidentified a Chablis Premier Cru but got the Valpolicella.

And I call myself a Francophile. Apparently Italy has a hold of me.

So screw it all. French wine, Italian– Let’s crack open a bottle of German wine. Spätburgunder!!!!!

Which thanks to my education I know is the Pinot Noir grape, as in the one Burgundy is renowned for. Baden is the German holy land for the Noir-est of grapes. It is warm enough for the grape to flourish but cool enough not to create the jammy travesties occasionally proffered by warmer lands (ahem, certain parts of California, ahem). The Germans renamed many of their  grapes, perhaps to make them sound like they originated in Germany: Pinot Gris is Grauburgunder, Pinot Blanc is Weissburgunder. However, let’s talk about this wine, this fine fine Spätburgunder:

2013 Schneider Weiler Schlipf Spätburgunder

OMG PLEASE CLICK ON THAT AND BEHOLD THE EMO GRANDEUR OF GERMAN WEIN! I CAN hear the beating of this Qualitätswein’s limestone heart. OMG. I’m sorry. If I wasn’t already pale and draped in black clothing I would have to be before I felt appropriately clothed to honor this wine.

And then I took a sip an HOLY FUCKING I’M 15 AGAIN THIS IS CHERRY COKE!

A boozy extra delicious cherry coke. Worth paying 23 dollars a bottle for. Holy heck this wine is bright happy days running around with your friends in a sugar fit good.

If that’s your thing. I mean seriously cherry cola, ripe red cherry, and a hint of vanilla hit you in the face (or at least the nose and tongue) with this guy. And it has something of a body juxtaposed with lightness and verve. Sort of like a soda that is light due to carbonation yet has body due to sugar syrup.

Should I do the WSET3 analysis?

Sure why not:

To the eye: clear medium ruby with medium slow tears.

Nose: clean, medium plus intensity, sour cherry, black cherry all the dang cherries–vanilla bean, Cranberry and soil. Yah soil.

Tongue: Dry, medium plus acidity, medium minus tannin, medium alcohol (doublechecked after that thought and was 13%–exactly in medium range according to WSETS!), body: medium, flavor intensity is Medium plus–this stuff talks!! Flavor components: as I said CHERRY COKE!! And vanilla bean. Then some greenery and garrigue. This sounds esoteric but I friggin’ FEEL the limestone. Something almost salty but mossy. That hides beneath the cherry coke. There ya go.        Finish: Medium plus! Didn’t think it would be but the cherry coke devolves to vanilla ice cream devolves to textured salad marinating in cherry pie. It’s pretty great.

All in all good job, Silver Lake Wine in Silver Lake because they have one in downtown LA…but this one…I’d work there. Putting it out there. I said I was interested in Beaujolais cru then they had not enough low-priced options for my taste (no one has low-priced cru, by the way it is not a bad thing) and then I said “what excites you” and they lead me to this. Odd seeing as I normally am not a big Pinot Noir gal. But this got me.

So get into it!

 

As NOIR as my lipstick: dark Halloween wine

25 Oct


Sometimes I match my lipstick to my wines. In this case Pinot NOIR. Goth-y like my soul. Funny thing is Pinot is often more a cherry red than a dark dark black-red. We’ll get to that. 

These wines, like unexpected presents you get and did not know you needed, showed up at my door.

Okay Mark West, whaddaya wanna do?

Mark West. The gentleman sending me wine. That’s a lie. A very nice publicist named Lucy sent me these. On behalf of Mark West. The winemaker that specializes in ye olde Pinot Noir.

I got two renditions. I got the 2014 California Pinot and I got the 2014 Mark West “Black” Pinot. 

Guess which one I liked best. Hint, it matches my lipstick. And eyeliner. And toe nails.

So briefly I’ll tell you the regular ol’ Cali version is nice. I feel like one more year might have smoothed the tannins and cedar and vanilla and cloves n nutmeg into the ripe red cherry tastes but… I feel like there is a tad of astringency that people who are not like me might like. If you are into Cabernet Franc buy this one. Even if you are not into Cab Franc it is totally a fuckable wine. 

Upon reviewing the tech sheets I saw that the California Pinot was 95% Pinot Noir, 3% Syrah, and 2% Petite Syrah, which maybe explains the not entirely unpleasant rough angles in this one.

As for the Mark West Black. My heart’s desire. At least my heart’s preference. It is darker-and therefore more appealing to me both aesthetically and temperamentally. The fact that it is 81% Pinot Noir and 19% Syrah perhaps helps explain its moody hues. Syrah can a deep dark wine. Ergo methinks it is a natural to blend with Pinot NOIR. It has perhaps riper and darker berries on the nose. Along with vanilla and a hint of cinnamon.

On the tongue it is slightly fuller yet silkier than the Mark West California. The tannins are there but they are dancing with the velvet fruit. They know their place. They sing vanilla notes of new French oak. In a Pinot their place is to be silky.  The berries are of black cherry and blackberry and maybe some blueberry. And a hint of spice n violet. Can we all get INTO eating violets?

The finish is not so lengthy yet the taste lingers. In a mellow way. A understated aftertaste redolent of yet more vanilla.

I would not call it overly expressive of the Pinot Noir grape. Nor is it overly complex. But fuck this is THE wine to sip by itself, by YOURSELF when you want a sip and aren’t hungry so much as craving the taste of a blackberry pie without the filling factor.

The test

29 Jun


At 9 am last Saturday I was pretending I was back in high school as I sat anxiously with my sharpened number 2 pencil. It was time for the WSET 2 test. Multiple choice. There is not a blind tasting until level 3. Phew. But this test was covering a lot. Beyond the wine stuff I will expound on there were also questions about spirits and stuff like eiswine, sherry and port.

I had studied like a crazy woman. I think I passed. I wonder how well.

My classmates I discussed it with agreed the exam was trickier than we surmised.

And not just because it required remembering that Barolo is from the Piedmont (extra fun facts I DID easily remember: it is made from the Nebbiolo grape, and high in tannins, alcohol and acidity). And I was SO happy I drilled the Aussie wines over and over. I almost never drink Australian sippers seeing as I reside here in sunny California which has some pretty plush stuff to offer. I just don’t see them around.

Even though I do have the guilty pleasure of sucking down those plush, berry and mocha-filled Shiraz’s straight outta Barossa. Or McLaren Valley. Or Hunter Valley.

But I was glad I drilled the Aussie wines because I needed to remember that Pinot Noir thrived both in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. A tricky question because good pinot noir, AKA the delicate flower of a dainty grape we do not associate with a land that creates those dense and spectacular Shiraz bombs, is in fact made there with skillzzzzzz. Like Shiraz. Australia makes damn fine wine.

ANYwho. There were also a lot of questions that would, say, ask what grape varieties are allowed in whatever region’s wines, list grapes 1 through 4 then ask you is it a) grapes 1 and 2, b)grapes 3 and 4, c) grapes 1 and 4, or c) grape 1 only. So you’d be sure of most of the grapes but fuck it number 4———is Viognier allowed in this blend or no?

Does ANY of this shit matter?

Probably not. Wine does not ACTUALLY matter.

Actually nothing in life ACTUALLY matters.

But in standardized tests only perfection matters.

To Virgos like me.

Study people, you’ll go far.

6 awesome and 7 lucky

30 Dec

  
So, shall we suppose that a wine named 667 is almost wicked awesome and but instead just very awesome but also lucky? We shall. And so shall we suppose that this is a fine balance of the simple joys? We shall. We shall suppose it balances awesomeness and luck.

Noble Vines 2013 667 Pinot Noir from Monterey, California

The first number refers to the year, duh. 2013 BCE. The number 667 speaks refers to the specific clone of the pinot noir grape. It is a grape that enjoys a cooler climate. Because awesome wines are also supes cool.

It is so cool. As cool as saying you like pinot noir is.

667 is a newer French “Dijon” clone.

It is darker (like my soul).

It is 14.5% alcohol. Who knows about me, that depends on time of day for my soul (12-97%).

It is structured (very like my soul–sometimes unfortunately–for my soul and not unfortunately for the wine).

It speaks of plums and dark cherries to my taste buds (unlike my soul which does not speak to my soul).

Deliciously dark in color for a pinot noir.

Cocoa and plum on the nose.

More more more plum and plush cherry on the tongue.

Oh so slight tannins.

You could drink this wine until kingdom come.

So if the Kingdom of Vino comes, feel free to try some other things, but this wine will offend not a soul. Maybe serve with a meal like, say, a holiday meal with gajillions of flavors. Neither a soul nor flavor could object. Not even Aunty Esther or her Brussel Sprouts Surprise.

It is a Good Wine. Very Good.

ImPorterant

11 Nov

  
Any brand days that is oh-so-bespoke seems to be a “This & That”. Sugar & Spice. Rag & Bone. Noise & Silence.

Yin & Yang?

Oh wait that goes back a bit further.

So I got this truly handsome bottle of 2012 Porter & Plot Pinot Noir. A vino from Club W. And ps if you want a free bottle from them use this link: http://clubw.com/eclifford
and happiness, etc. will prevail. On both your and my ends.

Back to Porter & Plot. It is a Pinot noir I would not think of as so noir-ish. By which I mean this really a saucy bitch! If it were Pinot noir as I think of it, it would seductively sit in the shadows and wait for you to be lured to it.

Instead this brash hussy jumps in your face and is like “HEY! I’M WINE! I HAVE EARTH AND SPICE AND WHATEVER YOU WANT I WILL DO–for the lowlow price of 25 dollars”.

Then once you’ve taken it home for the night it whispers in your ear “ya know that uptight bitch Burgundy or whatshernamenow? Bourgogne? She is an uptight pain, but I will watch football and I don’t care if you are drunk–I may even be happier if you are!”

Now don’t get me wrong. It is not a total whore. It does have the elegant soupçon of earth I associate with an excellent Pinot noir. The berry notes are there. But then there is this spice. I mean, it is RULL good. The brashness of these spices–green pepper, black pepper, pepper-of-all-types-pepper slaps you and you say…this is pinot?

More like pin-OH!

Sorry. Cannot help myself.

It is strongly boozy at 15.4% ABV and as Club Dub-Yuh says would be great for date night. As I mentioned, it is spicy, y’all. For a pinot. Which is what you want on an elegant date, no? Spicy fun under the guise of elegance? Unless you want to get raunchy with your tinder-bad self in which case why the fuck are you drinking wine? Get to the gin/vodka/whisky/shots and get it on.

But as for this pinot. It hides demurely under the smooth labeling & naming:

  
The Understated & Sexy. It walks the tightrope between spicy, acidic, and smooth (Oxford comma forevs y’all). But I still somehow do not feel that it is balanced. So I’d say I REALLY like this wine. And some people may LOVE LOVEY LURVE this wine. But I only like it. But that is my palate.

Yours may be all the gladder to taste this.