This is not Pinot Noir

Beautiful clear garnet with clear edges.  THE most opulent, polished, rich, ripe, and beautifully nuanced bouquet I have smelled in some time.  But:  It’s not Pinot.  Heady and amazing and absolutely cram-packed with leather and spice and cassis for days and rich vanilla.  But it’s not Pinot.  There’s nary a Pinot element in this bottle.

This stuff is pancake syrup on crack.  A touch of alcohol tinges the nose-hairs, but it is no match for the crazy, rich, ripe fruit and overly-generous helpings of massive velvety fruit and deep blackberry.  There’s just NOTHING Pinot about it!

In the mouth it comes over you in waves and waves of rich spicy fruit and nice acid–all polished to perfection like it is 5 years older than the label states.  But it’s not Pinot.  NOTHING even REMOTELY Pinot about it.  Blind, I would have guessed a REALLY high-end Napa heavy on the Merlot and a stellar barrel programme.  It tastes like Shafer.  Raymond Reserve.  Duckhorn.  Three Palms.  Parador even.  This is CLEARLY in the wrong shape bottle.

Like licking the most amazing black-cherry lollipop right down where the caramel and chocolate filling start interspersing with the licks.  The sections of leather and toasted-brier and buttered popcorn and roasted meat are relentless.  But it’s not Pinot.  There’s nothing Pinot about it.  Don’t get me wrong–It is NOT a *huge* wine in a classical–or even Paso–sense of the word.  It is incredibly balanced and just Hits. On. All. Levels.  Just not the Pinot level.  How do you judge a wine like this?

I wish it were in a properly-shouldered bottle and labeled “Red Table Wine” or “Meritage” or ANYTHING but “Pinot Noir”.  I love this wine!  But only after an hour of air does anything even vaguely resembling *Pinot Noir* come shining through–tiny notes of earthiness and barnyard and it actually shows signs of possibly falling apart in another couple hours.

So mouth-filling on entry and thins a bit over middle where the acidity and fairly obvious tannins–and some alcohol–come burning through.  This is NOT varietally correct.  Do I give it an F for that?  But it is just an intoxicating bottle of juice.  And showing polish far beyond the 5 candles indicated on the label.  I would serve this and gladly drink it as a stunning center-piece and situation-crusher in almost any scenario except one:  I would never serve this at a Pinot tasting.  And I’m even having lamb tonight and wanted the requisite Pinot!  And here I am stuck with this thing which more closely resembles a nearly-decade-old Merlot of three times the price.  What to do, what to do.  14-6 and my first-ever split decision: -1  for varietal-correctness, and +2 for the addictive, must-have-more, a nose of religious proportions, and a body and back-bone to back it all up.  It is the yummiest wine I have put in my mouth in some time.  But it’s not Pinot.  Not even close.  Fail for that, but WIN on every other level.  Just don’t serve it to any Pinotsnobs and you’ll be fine.

2009 DI BRUNO Pinot Noir Vino Nero Santa Barbara Co. 14.6

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