One of my absolute FAVORITE heavily-distributed California Pinots–and has been for 3 decades. It all started for me back when Anderson Valley had a very distinct typicity built into its Pinot Noir, and that theme carries on today. This wine and Navarro’s Methode l’Ancien down the street are two who have maintained the rustic, shrubby, mountain ruggedness of their entry-level bottles while the AVA has become a household name–expanding in popularity, number of wineries, production and… of course with those things come: ripeness and homogeny. These are the demo-driven products marketers like to call “clean, fruit-forward wines” and when you hear that phrase: RUN. It means your wines are becoming bullshit for the 99%.
But not Husch. Oh it’s pretty–don’t get me wrong, and as an entry-level supermarket darling, it’s going to appeal to a wide range of pinot palates. But the important lesson here is: that doesn’t mean all the funky goodness needs to be scrubbed out of it! Clear dark ruby core in the glass, but with the obligatory ruddiness of amber as it thins toward the rim. GORGEOUS nose, dark cherry and crushed blossoms flowing effortlessly off of it, lush and ripe, absolutely captivating and intoxicating, the thick foundation of fruit allowing the *pinot-ness* of it to take many liberties without getting too weird. And that classic Anderson Valley moldy-orange, briar and rusticity shines through.
And if you weren’t convinced it was that peculiar from the nose–“just another Carneros or Edna Valley $30-entry”, perhaps?–the first sip will wake you. Citrus and grimy hillside jolt you, cold fog dripping from sagging redwoods and bordering thickets punctuate the crisp berry in a combined effort SO impossibly un-flabby, so adding the best of Burgundy: graphite, cedar and match-head, while deep inside you KNOW it is California at heart. Impossibly thin while throbbingly robust, fruit flows in refreshing and cool, immediately swelling in intensity to near-RRV or SLH levels–but never crossing the line into stupidity with wanton concentration or extended-maceration chaos. The grip of tannin is starting to lessen on this one, but there is no mistaking the balance capable of another decade.
This is really easy wine to find across the United States, OK? Look for it and it will become your new favorite Pinot.
2017 HUSCH Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Mendocino Co. 13.9