Mendocino Certified Organic 14.3% alcohol From WineQ
The Wooden Guys flat out loved this wine.
The nose of this wine, just after it was opened, had serious funk, barnyard funk. There was also a lot of chocolate and coffee. Imagine the smell if a goat ate nothing but coffee and cocoa beans and you will have some idea what I am talking about. Some people might find the smell that comes out of the wrong end of a barnyard animal a bit of a turn off, but believe me, it is often a promise of good things to come. As the funk settles it turns into burned butter and dark toast. After fifteen minutes in the glass there was still no sign of fruit on the nose, but a hint of hazelnut was just starting to peek through. After thirty minutes a strawberry, one small lonely strawberry, peeked through. Now it was time to taste it.
Okay, that is interesting. This will sound odd, but stick with me and try to imagine it- strawberry marmalade. Strawberries are there, but with the tartness and richness of marmalade, rather than the pure sweetness of jam or jelly. That was the first taste up front, on the attack, along with truffles and a touch of bacon fat. This showed the classic pinot noir arc, with a mild initial attack, then huge growth through the finish. Through the evening the wine continued to evolve, later showing a more typical California pinot taste profile, with cherry pits and strawberries, but also offering up earth and meat, depth and richness.
The tannins are obvious on the finish, drying but not leathery. The finish is long,very long, even continuing to grow and evolve after drinking. Long after the sip, half a minute or more, the first taste of licorice shows up and lingers.
The mouth feel is silky, even a little oily in the way it coats the mouth and tongue.
The nose on Night Two is different from Night One. It was intriguing, opening with the sweet smell of Jolly Rancher watermelon candy, then ripe strawberries and cherry pits, plus river rocks and smoky sage. There was as much sweet fruit as you could ever desire, but all well balanced by mineral and smoky herbs, a full-bodied but balanced wine rather than an over-extracted fruit bomb.
The palate did not see as big a change from Night One to Night Two. What I described on Night One as "strawberry marmalade" might better be described on Night Two as a blend of strawberries and rhubarb pie, sweet, tart, and rich. The mid-palate added new layers to the flavor profile, rather than replacing it in waves of different flavors. It added limestone and a meaty flavor best described as the crispy salty end slice of a good prime rib.
Again, the pinot arc is there, flavors continuing to grow, even glow long after the last sip. Licorice and beef appear, for the first time, at least thirty second later and remain for minutes more.
This is really good wine, even great wine. I am going to buy a whole lot more of it. You should, too. Then invite me over and share yours with me.
Have you ever noticed how a really mediocre bottle can be much better the second night? Sometimes a wine that is "closed" opens up from exposure to air. This is a great hint that the wine is really not as bad as you thought. It just needs more time in the cellar. Alternatively, something great falls completely flat in just a day - drink all you've got, because there's not much time left. Wine starts changing rapidly the moment you open it. So here, at "Two Days per Bottle Wine Tasting," I am going to follow wine from the moment I open it through a second night. Call it an experiment. Join me to see if it really tells us anything useful at all.
My wine review policy
There has been much ado in the blogosphere lately about "the ethics of wine blogging," particularly in the area of wine reviews. Should bloggers review every wine they are sent? Should they do so under a time limit? Some suggest we hew perfectly to the code of journalistic ethics, which forbid both promises. In my personal opinion, that is putting form before substance. Putting the form of the rule- don't promise reviews, ahead of the substance- do what is ethically best, creates a real perversion of the problem. First, and I am being completely honest here, I get a little thrill whenever somebody sends me wine. Why not? Heck, I love the stuff. So what if I (a) like getting free wine, and (b) don't promise reviews. That is easy. I only review the ones I like, out of fear of scaring people off. "Hey," I might say, "this sucks, but if I write that, nobody will send me wine any more." In other words, sticking to the journalists' "code of ethics" actually creates a LARGER ethical dilemma than reviewing everything. On the other hand, promising to review at a time certain takes editorial content away, so that is a promise I refuse to make.
Do you want me to review your wine? I would love to do so. But first, know what you are asking. Take a trip around the blog. See what The Little Wooden Guy, The Big Wooden Guy, and I have to say. We are not always generous or kind. And we WILL review your wine. Honestly. Every time.
If you are still interested, send it here:
David Honig 1 American Square, Suite 2000 Indianapolis, IN 46282