A Sad Estate

Medium-light ruby out to wide garnet.  A stemmy piquant nose, volatile and vibrant, sharp, sharp licorice headed into petrol territory.  Granny-Smith apple skin obscuring a concentrated, spicy root-beer.  Vegetal, even–in its obliqueness.  A tad hot.  I typically do not open a wine purchased today, but it had been a few years since I had tasted this label and when they first started bottling their own, I was very impressed with the little 20-ish dollar SBC Pinot and raved about it.  This vineyard has a stellar history and now a tasting room alongside the 101 in Santa Maria makes for easy sourcing.  Have tasted several of their higher-priced bottles since and went away with that familiar feeling of *you’re trying too hard*.  SOOOO many times the entry-level wine is the highest quality in the line-up.  It exemplifies pure fruit in its simplest, acid is almost ALWAYS higher and mega-bucks have not been spent inundating it with oak.  Do not EVER feel guilty about liking the cheapest wine in a winery’s line-up.  So often it is the best.  With all that said, I stopped in today and eschewed the bargain-bottle for the next step up: and Estate, but not a special selection or a reserve.  I wanted to see what they are doing with this stellar vineyard in SMV.  In the mouth, the wine takes on a whole different persona.  It turns yummy.  Everything alleged-to in the nose is gone.  While maintaining its relative thinness, it goes fat and round and off-warmish cardboard.  Fruit non-existent.  Watery and bitter over the middle and disappears off into total tanninless nothingness.  It is just plain fat, thin, and sweet.  Completely devoid of any redeeming Pinot qualities.  14-1  ◊

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