Three Cheap Pinots

Killin some orphans +1.

2005 Chalone Vineyard dusky and stuttering, showing intense barnyard from the get-go but fruit taking a bit to get going.  Finally, dark cherry peeks out from behind the toasted almond, showing almost lemon brightness in the face of a 11YO wine that was probably only about 30 bucks to begin with.  Unclean crushed mint and berry seeds.  Pond water and weekend hippie.  Clean in the mouth, with elegant fruit, pencil eraser, rain on a saltillo courtyard and red-shag tannins.  Never discount the smaller appellations–or in this case AVA’s–of Monterey and San Benito.  Paicines, Lime Kiln, Pinnacles, and Chalone all bring serious individual game to the table.  14.2

2007 Kenneth Volk Santa Maria Cuvée SMV  Figgy and round, dark and dreary.  No life, no brightness, not GONE, by any stretch of the imagination, but a dreariness I have found typical of this label.  Tried really hard over the years to like the wines from this darling-child of local vintners but across-the-board: SY, MV, PN and Cab, I just have the most difficult time doing it.  Consistently uninteresting and this is no exception.  14.6

2012 Holdredge RRV  Back to something alive, thank Dog.  As I noted on Day 1 of this case, very closed in.  Not something you pop and make an opinion about–something 99.9% of tasters, testers, judges and bloggers do.  This little thing–and yes, I call it a little thing even though it is a Holdredge because, like everything else in this post, it is a 30$ Pinot Noir.  We’re comparing apples-apples here.  Briary, nutty brilliance, rootbeer and beautiful oak.  Fruit gothy and bruised, bright lemon zest and crisp tannins.  These are blossoming nicely and I am glad I have 10 left.  They just DO NOT show well on opening.  You HAVE to give them time in classic burg fashion.  Even more evolved the second day.  14.5

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