Ja Mon

Brown milky garnet with wide brown edges.  Fat and ripe–well, it WAS ripe–now it is flabby burnt-rubber syrup, obviously Pinot with gorgeous cola, sarsaparilla and eucalyptus framing the fat round, dangerously-near-oxidized core of velvet fruit.  This thing smells like a 10 or 15 YO offering from more substantial AVA’s.  No, that’s a faulty statement.  This thing smells like a 10 or 15 YO offering from an AVA which makes thinner wines but probably has been around longer and has far more heralded wines.  It looks like a 15YO wine too.  Here lies one of the classic problems with burgeoning wine regions.  Mak’em big, mak’em ripe, if it’s Pinot, mak’em weird and steamroll anyone who argues.  But then you make a wine like this.  It’s brown.  No, SERIOUSLY brown.  It’s oxidized. It smells like wrapping paper.  Fruit drops off systematically to flabby chocolate lollipops and the mint and earth turn to green hot plasticine awkwardness within minutes.  All you’re left with is a dirty, gasoline-and burnt-rubber-ridden mess of root vegetables cooked way beyond their ability to protest.  Pond water and cedar–with a Mad-Max sorta flamethrower grin.  So flaccid, do I HAVE to drink this?!?  Yes you do.  In the mouth, the thin brown fruit goes tart acidity almost instantly–as you would expect a 15YO pinot to do.  Round and full, gobs of fruit–but it’s tired fruit, dried fruit, fruit that’s been run over a few times and doesn’t smell good enough for the buzzards to pick through.  Gorgeous polished tannins–overpowering the fruit but carefully balancing the finish long hard and deep.  This is a gorgeous 20 year old pinot.  It’s too bad it’s only 5.

2010 JALAMA Cargasacchi/Jalama Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County   14-5

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