Sweet & Low

This is Pinot Noir. The label says so. My nose also tells me it is pinot. Kinda. New-tire and cardboard heads vegetal against a tiny spire of sharp berry. Bell pepper and asparagus left too long in the refrigerator drawer, oranges with green fuzz. Medium garnet–not crystal clear. An odd new-lawn-tractor plasticine and shiny paint odor create dull padding for the fruit that ripens and richens with plentiful air–and it begins to smell more and more like pinot.

This wine is $18, and I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on it. Still: 18 dollars or 58 dollars: bad is bad, and this wine takes some serious generosities to compliment. In the mouth, sharp astringency turns to sour tannin almost immediately, leaving glimpses of fruit here and there: mostly at the entry–where it is sharp but candied–and the finish–where it is hot and roasted. Throughout: a sun-baked Naugahyde drifts, finally incinerating in the fiery finish. It tastes better than it smells, and I *suppose* in the grand scheme of sub-20$ single-AVA pinots it really doesn’t have an equal, but this offering is amateurish and unbalanced: difficult to smell and harder to swallow.

2019 NSO WINES Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 14.0


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