I* can’t give you one of the pretty “wine as seen from below” pics because attempting to do so caused me to drop my phone, which snapped itself into a bunch of pieces on the kitchen floor, which in turn made me decide that I wasn’t in the mood to fuss with it. That said, the wine is somewhere between a ruby and garnet sort of red, and the label looks like this:
Region: Carneros (a fogged-in area of Napa and Sonoma Counties)
Grapes involved: 100% Pinot Noir
Food pairings: it’s a Pinot Noir, so as far as I’m concerned, pretty much anything goes that isn’t a giant slab of steak (because if you are eating a giant slab of steak and doing without either Cab Sauv, Malbec, or a heavy-duty stout, you are depriving yourself of one of life’s great experiences). That said, I had it with penne a la vodka, which worked pretty much fine. This would be fantastic with salmon, bittersweet chocolate, anything with wild mushrooms, and a lot of those “I don’t know what the hell to pair with it, but I’d like a red wine rather than a white” type dishes (realizing, of course, that the complementary style of white-what-goes-with-anything would be a dry-ish Riesling).
I love Pinots because they, like, they pretty much smell and taste like *everything*. So whereas a ”normal” wine is a combination of a bunch of fruits, a bit of spice and a flower or two, a good Pinot Noir is a combination of all that *plus* cough drops *plus* garden soil *plus* old brown leather jacket *plus* pipe tobacco. And they have (at least in my experience) a strangely specific thin-ish and slightly scratchy mouthfeel to boot. That said, if your Pinot Noir is a basic combination of fruits and a touch of spice and has a smooth, soft mouthfeel, chances are there’s another varietal taking up space in your bottle. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing.
This particular Pinot Noir (of which I’ve had a touch more than a little) smells like strawberry, rose petal, carnation, watermelon, a touch of menthol, cherry, a hint of pink pepper, a touch of plum and a bit of vanilla. There’s maybe even something herbal, slightly sage-like, blended in with the menthol. It starts out quite tart and then softens as it sits, almost like it’s developing a layer of cotton candy over the top. (This does *not* mean it smells sweet.)(And yes, I do recognize that this is a contradiction, but this is also why I love Pinots.)
Flavor-wise, take a combination of slightly underripe strawberries and some tart green apples and throw it on a pile of wet dirt, rose petals, raspberries, green tea, mulberries and leather and then give it a mouthfeel that is oddly reminiscent of dandelion greens (but pretty much awesome). It’s lightweight and crisp and only lightly scratchy, and the aftertaste is long and almost straight red apple (like a Macintosh or a Jonathan). Or maybe apple cola – the longer I let it hang out before taking another sip, the more I find a cola note. Specifically Coca Cola instead of Pepsi.
So that’s that. I hope your 2011 ended happily and that your 2012 is off to a banging start. Smooches, y’all.
*In true blogger fashion, I ought to give you some sort of excuse as to why I haven’t been around, some sort of rounding-out-of-2011 sort of thoughts, and some sort of welcome-to-the-new-year sort of thoughts. Suffice it to say that the end of 2011 was extremely flipping busy (because the holidays are when everyone in this country feels it something akin to their patriotic and economic and familial duty to drink a LOT of wine) and that I’ve spent the first week and a half of 2012 working, catching up on sleep, sitting in product meetings and generally letting my brain return to some semblance of its normal (if it has one) self. That said, we’ll continue with reviews in an otherwise uninterrupted fashion unless some sort of after-2am drunkeness inspires me to write some sort of “how 2011 changed my winedrinking life and made my career fabulous and interesting”-type navelgazing post.
For your sake and for the sake of my hit count, I hope I don’t get that drunk. I can navelgaze with the best of them, but I doubt anyone else really wants to read it. This isn’t a livejournal.