Clear light red, that cherry hue so magical in some wines–mostly pinots–that is transparent without a trace of garnet: clear and translucent and black at its core but not blue at the rim. A heady green stemmy nose, dark and dirty, rich with shoe leather and tar, a little volatility coaxing more richness–this time cherry and blackberry–to the surface. Gritty and violent in only the way ripe, beautiful RRV pinot can be, a fruitcake candiness peeks out amidst all the wiriness and basal texture–and a good chunk of oak: not surprisingly. The fresh-turned loam has a bit of a soy-sauce warmth to it, and still all that briar chugs on.
I don’t know the story behind this: a barrel rep gave it to me–obviously–and I’m putting pretty good money on Tonnellerie Leroi NOT having their own winery or winemaker and this being a contract-job. I don’t even know where to send you to buy it: I don’t see a tab on their site for *our wines*. Now, we’ve all had our fair share of corporate vanity labels, and they tend to be full, flabby, oak-ridden monsters which make great stocking-stuffers to suits with less-than-stellar palates. But here, we have a wine approved by a leading barrel-producer, and if you think about it: their desired demographic of gifting is predominately winemakers (quite possibly to show off stellar barrel-programmes) although when that big check is being written for a shipment of new oak, some of the suits need to be greased as well. So this presents a juxtaposition of style, and while I *expected* this to be a big oaky black monster, it really isn’t presenting itself that way. Quite beautiful pinot, in reality.
Tasting it agrees with most of the senses I have already described. Sweet and crisp over the first few areas of tongue, it kicks in with hot spice laying the groundwork for a fat application of luscious fruit. Tannins fly in mid-palate quite readily, awash with bitterness perfectly smoothing all the lush fruit.
This is a stellar wine I would not be ashamed to pour for basically ANYBODY. It does not offend on any level–which is KEY to a corporate gift. It’s gorgeous pinot. A little TOO beautiful. It reaches into levels of perfection probably detracting for serious pinotphiles. With that said, it is NOT Belle Glos. It is not a jammy syrah mess. But it IS chubby. It has plenty of the edginess we all crave in our pinots. But the edginess is smoothed on all points by a luxurious finesse and I could literally sell PALLETS of this stuff. It has the right Burgundian notes while laying out fat rails of California for any taker. I’m a bit hesitant to give it a 100pt score, because it’s just a little TOO perfect. If you have an opportunity to score this wine, GET IT.
2018 LEROI Pinot Noir RRV guessing 14.8