“Good Burgundy smelleth of shit.” The first time I read this was in my mid-20’s several decades ago and I am positive it was in one of Hugh Johnson’s books but I am also fairly certain he was quoting someone far older. These terms have all but been eliminated in the past decade by WSET and somm-pop-culture’s streamlining of wine-dialogue into a mainstream of descriptors *all things pleasant* but for many of us in the wine1percent, it still rings true. And this wine brings all that to life. Wonderful, glorious, shitty, life.
A light ruby core–not crystal-clear–runs out to wide amber edges. Wondrous savory dirty-baby-diaper and horse-stall goodness explodes from the glass. Grimy and rubbery, the dirty cherry holds no barrs in exuding its grainy goodness, mired in match-head and the sort of peat only a ditch-digger could love. The salt-air and moldy-grass nuances are impossible to ignore, briny and chalky, but carrying voluptuous fruit aplomb.
In the mouth, pitchy cherry coats while the bitter bluster of earth and soul massages the tongue into areas almost impossible to describe. But that’s my job. Wet apartment carpet slathered with peanut butter and jelly create mouth-feels clairvoyant in their expectation. And the anticipation delivers. Soft bitter loveliness manages to woo all your Pinot fantasies into one gel-cap of glorious medicine. Packing a monstrous attack in a package so light, so ethereal, so hair-splittingly nuanced is a pedigree many Pinots aim for, but few deliver–especially from California.
Gritty and decadent, all in an angel’s touch of sweaty glance, this bottle is something every true Pinot lover will close their eyes over. And afterwards, you’ll need a cigarette.
2015 EAGLES LANDING Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Santa Barbara 14.5