Somewhere off the coast of California…

Clear golden ruby. More ruby than garnet at the core, but widening to a bright orange-ish glow at the rim. nice nose, all dry chalk and weedy briar and roasted meat with a little brittle matchhead and cigar box. There’s a thick muddy feel to the nose. It’s not simple or light. Bien Nacido’s just going to crank this kind of stuff out–no matter the price-point. The fruit is really dull in the nose–it’s a nice fruit, it isn’t an unpleasant fruit, I just can’t really say anything like “bright cherry” or “raspberry” or anything like that–not that I WOULD in a pinot this age–it is just the *fruit* aspect of this wine is very weird, difficult to describe. “Stewed plum” kinda works. It’s a dirty, peaty sort of thin cherry–but smoldering. Strong barnyard and dog-park base funkiness.

It’s beautiful, and I have been a big fan of Summerland for a good chunk of my time here on the Central Coast. This wine was of course made by Etienne Terlinden, who has since left for his own and other projects. Summerland is of course the Maison Deutz guy–only old-timers around here will remember that. There’s also been some recent branding and sourcing changes that indicate a re-direction of focus, but we will see.

In the mouth, easily one of the more gulpable Pinots I’ve seen in a while. It is so clean and straight, no acid slowing you down, no funk complicating things, no jammy fruit clogging the pores, it’s just clean, bright, fresh straight-forward beautiful stuff, with so much going on in it. I mean–it’s SO yummy, and then, like, your fruit analyzation gets halted by a lack of vocabulary, rosy and dusty and dirty all at once while chilling waves of beautiful fresh-cut crisp fruit snaps everything to attention. Tannin rides a wave of textured acid in and clears the room, and then you smell it again and all that smoky tertiary complicates the whole package again.

$24 dollar Bien Nacido at almost ten and practically as fresh as the day it was bottled. That’s good winemaking.

2010 SUMMERLAND Pinot Noir Bien Nacido SMV SBC California 14.0

summerlandwine.com

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