A most brilliant garnet clarity wavering into dusty rose amber out to a wide clear rim. No sediment to speak of. Dank and full, a bit of bottle-funk decreed light decanting for a hour. Rosy ripe cherry flows easily into the nose, crushed velvet and antique pages rise steadily over the toasty green nuance fairly characteristic in older new-world Pinots made in a restrained style. Granular and meaty, the fruit is polished to nearly indescribable definitions, everything clicking firmly into a robust, figgy pudding.
This is of course Jim Clendenen’s little side pinot project, not always Oregon, available easily on the shelf at the TR in downtown Santa Barbara and probably online far back into library vintages. Fun to pick up, not ridiculously priced, aged perfectly and always interesting. Jim’s a big Burg guy, so it pays to sit up and listen.
An expectant clairvoyance flows onto the tongue. Spicy as it trickles, tannin still etching a strong path starting early in the middle–probably most noticeable because the fruit is dulled a bit in its brightness, and pulling plum and rhubarb to the forefront. Shockingly good mouthfeel, balanced and wiry, everything calmly in its place, probably a bit past-prime, but that all depends on your dependence and fascination with all things “Pinot”.
Aged Pinot is not for everyone. A lot like vintage Champagne, there are definite nuances which come to play that can be a turn-off for a lot of palates. At the same time you are processing these somewhat odd aspects, it is important to not grant leniency specifically on adoration of age. The internet is full of gushing posts of blingy labels with adorable age boasting of “POWERFUL, YOUTHFUL FRUIT” you know damn well are FARRRRR past prime, so it is important to call a spade a spade. Is this wine good? Definitely. Will everyone like it? Absolutely not. The finish is where I usually make my final call on wines like this. Here we have achingly dry absolution–tinged with heat and carrying the full baggage of leftover fruit into Pinot Heaven.
2000 ICI/LA BAS ‘Les Reveles’ Pinot Noir Oregon 13.5