King of the Castle

Nice light amber with a garnet core. Not a trace of sediment. Pungent nose, ALL aged pinot–something the 99 would be offended by, but pinot lovers embrace. Smoky burnt molasses, blown-out wooden match, and dark cherry piled on rotting green compost. Clean and straight-forward, a tangy peat clouding things up.

I opened one of these last night as part of my DRINK ALL YOUR OLD JUNKY PINOTS movement and it was corked. Also–as I recall–the LAST one of these I opened did not show well. I had quite a few of these but this *may* be my last one–I kinda hope so. I don’t need wines like this hangin around. Castle Rock is an interesting negociant. Yes, it is clearly bottom-shelf stuff–“most” of it. Most of the wines you see by them are going to be ‘California’, but watch carefully and (they used to: not sure if they still do) you will discover several single-AVA bottlings of pinot and cabernet. I seem to recall a WA cab winning a bunch of awards, and I think they had a OR pinot too. Several cab versions from Sonoma. Possibly other varieties–never really paid attention. And I’ve been drinking these for 20 years. So yeah: these Carneros’ came up on deep discount a few years back and I grabbed several.

In the mouth, rich and deep, no prune, no cloying, no sherry, no terrible signs of tiredness: actually shockingly bright. Grippy acidity melds citrus minerality into the barnyard and generous concentration. I am not ashamed AT ALL to admit I paid 4 or 5 dollars for this wine. Gorgeous deep cherry fruit carries everything all the way through until a bit of heat in the finish.

No complaints here. Not even mad, bro.

2009 CASTLE ROCK WINERY Pinot Noir Carneros 13.5

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