Probably one of the least-expensive wines I have ever owned from “The List” was the 2012 version of this wine which garnered–from memory–a top-30-ish spot. I snapped up as many as I could find, and have a couple left in the cellar. I open one now and then as they age predictably–for a $30 pinot–and have visited numerous releases since at events and gatherings. But this is the first time I’ve been left alone in front of my laptop with a modern bottle. Not much has changed.
Black-hued medium ruby in the glass, the wide rim never going completely clear. Generous–and gorgeous–fruit and ripe floral packs the nose, a true affirmation of careful blending from various vineyard sources into a low-priced screw-top pleaser. Santa Barbara County–or even Santa Rita Hills–is easy to spot throughout in typicity: a dank, rosy under-belly providing raspy bitter goodness around rich berry steely and focused.
Supple and heart-warming on the palate, it never goes full-cloying supermarket yumminess as is so often the case with the ’30-dollar Pinot’ sweepstakes. It’s just flat-out good wine, not ridiculously geeky but leaving plenty inside to fascinate more-advanced Burgundian taste-buds. The ripeness and slight heat quell significant graphite or vegetal, while plentiful tannin harshen up the otherwise thickly-berried finish with aplomb. I had a Central Coast pinot the other day which had HALF the structure and varietal-definition while costing nearly double. Pinot’s always gonna be a slippery slope, but when it’s right: you know it. This is right.
2021 PALI WINE CO ‘Huntington’ Pinot Noir Santa Barbara Co. 14.5