The Oregon entry is bright ruby with purple edges. Big oak breathes out to a more vegetal wet-wood–possibly a lil varnish–and some very crafty cassis on deck. Rich, round and glycerin-ey, this is REALLY CA-style. In the mouth a bit thinner than expected, but nothing drastic for Pinot. Sharp and bitter with considerable heat. All pinots are interesting and this one is no exception but it is dull and awkward and the heavy-handed-ness of the oak attempting to make up for the OR brightness throws things a lil out of balance.
2012 COTTONWOOD Pinot Noir Bridgette Catherine Willamette Valley Dundee Hills 14.4
And headed in the near-opposite direction is the milky-garnet Monterey County version. Hinting at tar and burnt rubber, big mashed potatoes and stuffed green bell peppers fresh outa the oven garnished with heady minerality and a hot note. Sweet caramel toast lingers. This thing packs a wallop for a Pinot at this price-point and finding something this edgily-nuanced for 25$ with 5 years on it will be a challenge. Great barnyard translates directly across the palate, where the rich fruit take on a bitter, crushed-pit direction and heat jumps in again on the finish. Nice Stelvin LUXE.
2010 PARAISO Pinot Noir Monterey County Santa Lucia Highlands 14.4
Bargain-hunting on a resty-list is even more rewarding. Remember: THERE IS ALWAYS A BARGAIN ON EVERY LIST no matter how intimidating. It’s there. Always. The Westerly was found on the list at Lido in Pismo Beach for PENNIES so I am thinking they have a bunch of them and at age 10 are drinking WONDERFULLY. They have three different vineyards and last time I visited Lido I couldn’t resist the Purisima Vineyard from the same year. While still a dark ruby, I think the Westerly/McGinley version is a bit fatter and has suffered minorly from the woes of obesity. Still, it is a huge, ripe, lush, concentrated and dense, perfectly polished little gem absolutely at PEAK and very easy to drink for the prices they are asking at Lido. There’s a bargain on every winelist, and this is one.
2006 ARCADIAN Syrah Santa Ynez Valley Westerly 14.9
The Aussie comes in with a screw-top (of course), beautiful dark, clear ruby with bright pink edges. Sharp wet wood, puncuated with eucalyptus and wet granite and simple, clean fruit. A bit salty on entry, soft and underwhelming… I mean…. there’s just nothing here except a lil bitterness. Remember: A bitter finish does not make a Syrah interesting. It makes it sappy bullshit. This thing smells like white cake too. Beyond boring. Open something else.
2010 YALUMBA Shiraz Eden Valley The Guardian 2% Viog 14.5