Ancient Palate

The expectation here–when we see Russian River Valley–is a big, lush ripe wine, and from frist glimpse, that is not to be: thankfully, for a lot of us. Light garnet in the glass, a nose subdued and citrusy, mineral shining, and sharp vegetal briar running into graphite and match-head arenas. Plentiful air exposes deep funk, teetering on must and dirty-baby-diaper, but arriving a bit short in New World terms. Round and woody of bouquet, the spiny points of cherry and raspberry directing everything toward a Pinot focused on clarity rather than crowd-pleasing obesity. It’s a beautiful wine showing a bit of polish and settling down nicely, but perhaps at the expense of fruit.

Tasting it also does not inspire gobb-stopping notes. Copious acid on attack bury the dense berry in sharp contrasts of spire and transparent enthusiasm, matching its clarity in the glass. Transparent in even the deepest pours, it relies of the calm power of the variety through careful winemaking. Dank and spicy–the former playing second-fiddle to the latter–it is clean and direct, the bitter tannins playing careful staccato on fruit NOT glamorously cloying, but hinging on purist-definition to get its point across. And plentiful points are made.

2017 ANCIENT OAK CELLARS Pinot Noir Siebert Ranch RRV Sonoma Co. 14.4

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