Showing fabulously at 12–not really by mainstream Burgundian standards, but easily by California standards of clean, ripe and balanced pinot clearly able to go the distance. A bricking tinge to the body of murky garnet shows again: right where this wine should be. Deep, ripe California fruit glosses the nose, with respectable amounts of graphite match-head and dank spice overpowering whatever barnyard once was present. The pickled briar of New World pinot at age pokes its head in at balanced angles, enlivening and deepening the experience.
This is the label which functions somewhat alongside the Greg Linn label, an oddity and cultish commodity in the Central Coast upper echelons of sought-after Pinot producers. Haven’t heard of Greg Linn? Well, alongside maybe Paul Lato, Jim Clendenen, Brian Loring and Rick Hill, he easily is established in the groovy top-shelf cool kids of pinot in the area, so put aside your Sea Smoke fascination and reach deeper. It will be a pleasant awakening.
Polished tertiary is of course going to be heavy on the palate on this one. All the fruit has ground its rough edges down into a piquant offering the 99 will turn their nose up at but steeped in gorgeous Pinot nuance. Delicately elegant, it offers a constant yin-yang of spicy bite and round decadence. Toasty and sharp, the tannin is still rife, and the acid built into the original picking is impossible to ignore. Thin and ethereal in the finish, everything goes on forever and ever, a dark tribute bursting at the seams with quality and finesse.
2008 AMBULLNEO VINEYARDS from Greg Linn ‘Bulldog’ Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Co. California 13.3