Dark hazy brownish rose, a bright PEZ acidity spicing up the nose, which otherwise also smells kinda *brown*. Dull barnyard around a full solid core of chocolate-cinnamon berry and the remnants of greenish minerality.

These are very *interesting* Pinot Noirs. I have drank them for years and keep a fair vertical in the cellar. While the winemaker insists they are the purest Burgundian form and age perfectly for two decades or more, I have to quibble a bit with those two assertions. They are–frankly–exactly what you would imagine would happen if you mixed PASO ROBLES and PINOT NOIR in a test-tube. Green edgy graphite and delicate spice are out the window, and in their place are chunky ripeness and warmth. And we all know what a few years will do to this scenario. Still, I drink them, although I have become less fervent about maintaining a religious vertical of them. Now I pull them out when I want something a little different and view them more as a curiosity. People are eager to point at the alcohol, “But it’s 14-7!!!!” but come on: that’s standard viscosity today for thousands of pinots from Anderson Valley to Santa Rita Hills.

Thin and acidic in the mouth, the warm fruit falling considerably back behind everything noticeable on the tongue. Raspingly dry bitter etches every surface, with seared pie-cherry and roasted cranberry tinkling along behind, not exactly lost in the shuffle, not non-existent–by any means–but the watery ripeness pleads for mercy behind the still-grating structure. It will be interesting to taste this wine in 5 years, but I have fears.

Try these wines. Everybody should. They only make one wine–in the heart of Paso’s cool Templeton Gap–and library vintages are always available. I have written everything from gushing to cautionary about them. But they ARE interesting. That is for sure. A lot of people swear by them, and I have enough bottles in my cellar to indicate a lasting interest. PINOT FROM PASO is easily one of the world’s shortest books, and this is the most compelling one I have ever had.

2011 WINDWARD VINEYARD Pinot Noir Paso Robles 14.7

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