Couple little pinot orphans tonight–one I knew I had and one I had forgotten about… both somewhat anomalies in the American market. Spatburgunder doesn’t exactly grow on trees in California wine-shops, and always presents an inexpensive expression of extreme–but pure–pinot characteristics a lot of American palates find *awkward*, but I adore it for those reasons. The Shasta Daisy is from a completely unknown mountain region in extreme Northern California BUT: the 2008 vintage was destroyed by forest fires and the winery–in a one-year breach of style–sourced RRV fruit. I tasted it on release and loved it, and found a couple bottles lingering in the cellar. The German wine I knew was there in my teutonic section, but had never really paid attention to the age–so when I noticed it was 2011 was like Oh man, DRINK this thing NOW.
The Gleichenstein pours light ruddy garnet, ambering out to the wide clear rim. Weedy and petrol-driven, it’s a drrrrty muddy muss of dark roasted fruit, savory leather, rubbed sage and rusty steel. Gorgeous to smell with a little air, the bouquet is dark and elegant, but with classic Alpine edginess. The Manton Valley/Sonoma opened with lots of bottle-funk, blowing off to deep cherry preserves. Rich and concentrated, it shows dark ruby in the glass and slight brick. Eucalyptus and redwood mint with considerable vegetal of aged Pinot possibly just past prime.
Tasting them–not really *side-by-side*–as there are no comparisons really to be concocted between these two wines other than their common variety: rather just visiting each individually–the Shasta Daisy is all rich black cherry headed for prune in the very near future. Lower-acid-feeling and quite California-decadent, it is all candied reduction with a tinge of bitter briar, which–combined with heady nuances of cedar-box and pencil-lead–make for an interesting and quite delicious bottle. I’m impressed. Restrained while headed downhill, sharp barbs of structure finally protrude in the finish–and redeem it. The German (in a glass 10X the price I might add, NOT that that means anything) is likewise reduced to candied fruit–but a thinner version. The diesel exhaust and barnyard translates easily onto the tongue, where a peppery heat also lands. Could the spatburgunder be higher ALC???? Is that possible??? Flabby and roasted, the thin fruit not benefitting from age. Clean but meager in the finish, more heat surfaces, both plumping up the *pinot*–and detracting from it.
I find the European more drinkable: its tiredness takes a couple extra moments to recognize and is cloaked in minerality. The RRV attacks as dessert, but might actually be better balanced. These are NOT two peas in a pod–they are apples and oranges.
2008 SHASTA DAISY Pinot Noir RRV 13.8
2011 WEINGUT GLEICHENSTEIN Pinot Noir 14.0