Never had a Pinot from Alex before–all his other wines are crazy-good, always edgy and interesting: but Pinot could be the big judgement-call. I mean–making awesome Chenin and Cab-Franc and Albarino is one thing… but Pinot from SRH is wadin into the big leagues! Transparent dark ruby out to a wide clear rim. Dirty-baby-diaper and a glorious earthy funk blows out of it easily, cupped in black cherry ripeness and bristling with green woodsy goodness. Smoky and dank, the nose is spiked with blueberry yogurt and warm soil. It’s quite a heady argument despite its body, part California and part Burgundy. Like, 60/40, respectively. Juicy-smelling and flush with concentrated berry, it still manages plenty of proper varietal character.

In the mouth, a crisp, clean wine, the juiciness tempered with grainy acid and chalky mineral. Almost spätburgunder in feel, it reminds me of Graham Tatomer’s early ventures into reds. The rich fruit takes a back seat to the thick structure and bitter goodness over the middle, maintaining a round, concentrated bed for all the interesting toppings. Plum, nectarine and pineapple burst at the seams, straining under pithy splendor. Vibrant tannins are honey-coated, inflicting the necessary barb to keep the finish–and fruit–going long down the throat’s memory, where the barnyard makes another appearance.

This is a beautiful wine. I actually think it delicious enough to woo the over-ripe crowd who claim to be Pinot-lovers–while drinking Belle Glos, Goldeneye and Seasmoke–AND there’s enough geeky stuff going on to win the wine-1%-crowd with its thin, sharp brilliance and dedication to the grape. It’s a powerful wine, and a stunning Pinot.

2018 METRICK WINES Pinot Noir Rancho la Vina Vyd. Santa Rita Hills Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 14.0

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