Instant dusty machinery and carob on the nose. Clear bright ruby with a wide clear edge. I mean–there’s a *breath* of garnet in it, but for all rights and purposes, it is medium ruby even heading towards the purple-blue arena. Nice meaty bouquet, thick black cherry, sweet campfire smoke in your eyes, piles of gorgeous oak nearby ready for consumption. Sage and raspberry-leaf offer a welcome abrasive edge to the nose, enlivening the richness, pulling the whole affair towards citrus minerality and enlivening the peaty sharpness.

Gorgeous in the mouth. Rich cherry curl thins out nicely in classic Pinot fashion, thick and dense in flavor profile but profiling a cool, watery, aloof lightness causing it to fairly dance. Shrubbery grasps at everything, brushing sweet fruit into a spicy, peppery, slightly hot matchbox overflowing with soiled berry and green briary angst which immediately turns tannic.

Donald Patz has stepped up his pinot game for 2018, releasing 3–count’em: THREE–Russian River Pinots. I have not had all three, but this one is an impressive lead-off to the set. Quite soft up front, finishing rich and complex–and with a chunk of structure. Burg-ish, without overt barnyard, vegetal or wicked green-ness. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, this is just California–as it should be. But clearly made by somebody who appreciates the classics.

2018 MARITANA Pinot noir Moonshine Ranch RRV Sonoma Co. 13.5