Pristine Carneros

An absolutely gorgeous wine, something I am in quite awe of. I did not buy it expecting a gorgeous wine–I bought this orphan off a dusty liquor store shelf basically out of nostalgia. BV Carneros was one of my first *premium* pinots I experienced way back when I was weaning myself off ‘California’ Zinfandel and mid-shelf supermarket cab and my budget was FAR more limited. A $30 wine was a bit of a luxury then, and while not a common wine to find on a shelf, I none-the-less found some, took the chance, and loved it. Its memory is burned into my brain. There’s literally NO WHERE to buy this wine around here, so I had no choice but to rescue this lonely bottle, dusty, label scraped and sun-bleached, peeling, bright orange pricetag proclaiming the equally antique cost of “$26.99”.

Perfect capsule and cork, thick amber-garnet in the glass, nose not effusive, but direct and balanced: glowing dusty splendor and useful fruit in a setting NOT antique, but definitely aged. Still and calm, but exuding a modicum of clean barnyard and zesty spice. There’s a certain roily moldiness to the bouquet, although tempered and round on the remaining deep black cherry preserves.

Dank vividness on the palate, not glamorously fruit-packed, but more even, balanced focus. It contains none of the toasty nuances often accompanying New World pinots with age, and mild rich berry holds court, delicious and defined, the grate of dry stone morphing to alcoholic burn mid-center. It is here the only signs of fruit-atrophy surface. And not so much because the fruit is lacking, just the peppery burn of alcohol and bitter rasp of tannin control the finish, leaving the fruit a prescient–but struggling–after-thought.

I would kill to taste a current release of this wine.

2006 BEAULIEU VINEYARD Pinot Noir Carneros Napa Valley 14.5

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