The Full Monte

You know how impulses go. Stick with them, right? At the first taste of this wine, something terrible flashed through my mind: “This wine represents everything wrong with California Pinot.” I may have even said it aloud–you’d have to ask my girlfriend. Then I sniffed and swirled and contemplated and sipped some more, and for several hours I backed myself down from my initial impulse, convincing myself of redeeming qualities and nuances in the wine. Then I turned the label around, and noticed it was from Bentrock–my absolute favorite SRH vineyard. Reading that, I tried even harder to plug nice things into the profile of the wine. Now–several hours later–I have come full-circle. This wine represents everything wrong with California Pinot.

Ruddy, unfiltered garnet throughout, but with a purple glow still at the core. Big, concentrated jammy nose, thick with heady black cherry, syrupy and eye-rollingly rich. Barnyard is a clean, garden-hose sort of rubbery affectation headed in pruny directions instead of dank earth. It’s definitely Pinot, but it’s a stand-a-fork-up-in-it stew of blackberry, cherry and currant, showing round savory funk of sorts, but lacking anything alive.

But then you taste it, and the appeal this wine surely holds for the 99 kicks you in the face. Syrupy thick and sweet with ridiculous heat, it carries one-dimensional candied berry across the palate into a finish all pepper and no structure. Chubby and expressionless, it uses savory burn to qualify its Pinot aspirations.

2012 MONTEMAR Pinot Noir Bentrock Vyd Santa Rita Hills Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 14.1

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