Pinot From Paso: World’s shortest book. And this has to be the least expensive of the half-dozen offerings from that region: most–if not ALL of them–hailing from the cooler, more coastal-influenced West-side of the valley. But this is still Templeton Gap, and I’ve often said, God doesn’t recognize the 101–or its exuberant price-padding. At 6, this hard-shouldered, screen-print screw-top charmer is showing a bit of brick at the edges of characteristic deep, sullen ruby I’ve experienced from the Windward’s and HMR’s and Jack Creek’s trying hard to somehow work *pinot* out of the heat–and the chubby style the region expresses. Musty dog-park funk roils from the glass, laid down on warm vegetal stew and thick black cherry. It’s clearly Pinot, but in pure terms of typicity, the argument remains: WHY?
Tasting this bargain–and good-cause–offering from Sculpterra resolves suspicions as to reasoning. It’s good. It’s slightly sweet and definitely chubby, but the ache of mineral and brittle acid throughout calms most criticisms. These wines will never be tight Sonoma Coast or Santa Rita Hills offerings, but just like my deep fascination with Windward, have a spot in both my heart and Burgundian appreciation. They are a bit odd: yes, but nothing arises forcing disdain completely for this troubled area’s small plantings of this variety. I’m not saying Paso Robles should STOP trying to make Pinot, I’m just saying you need to know what you’re getting into. The ripeness expressed carries definite distinction, the barnyard and earth typically after-thoughts and the heated herbaceousness a sharp point of interest. Running smooth and elegant all across the palate, it gradually trickles down in winning fashion with thin cherubic raspberry and quince into areas the bouquet suggested with tobacco and leather. Tertiary just *starting* to play: these are NOT wines designed for aging, but here at a half-decade who’s complaining? This is a beautiful wine–through-and through–and one which would be immensely fun to trot out for burg-nut. It’s easy to drink, but carries acres of aplomb into the cerebrum. All for under 10 bucks. And I LOVE plugging the over-delivering underdogs.
2016 HEROE from Sculpterra Pinot Noir Paso Robles 13.0