This wine carries a bit of nostalgia for me, as it was a mainstay on the Trader Joe’s shelves 30 years ago, forming some of my early wine-appreciation. Here they are–with a bit of label-upgrading and triple the price–all these years later and the quality still marches on. Thin light pink-ruby in the glass, clear from the core, dusting out to the rim. A gracious nose of wilted floral and spicy vegetal fulfills pinot expectations, but in a restrained way *most* RRV versions have shied away from. Thick maraschino berry–ripe and lavish–exposes itself on a base of earth and chubby funk not particularily geeky, as chocolate and beautiful oak charm all senses in lush wonder.

In the mouth, graphite mineral bouquet introduces a fruit-aspect difficult to argue with, though laundered down into flush fruit-concentration and glycerine-definition the 99 will swoon over. Lacking serious acid, an alcoholic burn playing the structural part in a play of tastes where black grainy cherry and thin-ish derelection make obvious platitudes to demographic. A rather bland, un-noteworthy version of the variety, but delicious in certain BTG ways I could sell end-caps of. Perfect for your next BBQ or bar-mitzvah: a Pinot to woo the *I don’t like pinot* crowd into submission.

2021 BALVERNE Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Sonoma Co. 14.0


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