Saturday, June 14, 2008

Muir-Hanna Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2004

Estate Bottled. 14.3% alcohol, 100% Pinot Noir.

The color was brilliant translucent ruby.

Right after opening this had a strong nose, earthy, rich with dark cherries and mushrooms. An hour later most of that blew off and the nose was light, even closed. I was faint but fruity. If you stuck your nose all the way in the glass you would catch strawberries and cherry pits.

Right after opening this was disractingly bitter. An hour later, again, it is entirely different. Pomegranate, strawberries and distinct minerality, with slightly pronounced tannins keeping the end a little bitter, but not to the point of distraction. Instead, it gave some depth, distinguishing the wine from cheap 'cherry cola and black tea' pinot plonk. Fruit, then tannins, followed by toasted pecans at the end. The finish was mid-length and pleasant, tannins fading with fruit lingering.

Day two.

The nose is distinctly more full-bodied, combining the initial earthiness with lilting fruit. Now there is earth and a hint of peaty undergrowth to go with strawberries, cherry pits, and some raspberry.

Wow! The longer this stayed in my mouth, the more different things I tasted. It just kept evolving. First, fruit, pomegranate, strawberry, and maybe raspberry. But then, oh then, mushrooms and beef, smoky bacon, barely-ripe plums, some more smoke, all covered with a delicate strawberry glaze. This would be magnificent with food, but it's so nice on its own that you want to make a meal of it.

I like this wine. Based upon the two-day review, it either needs a LOT of decanting or several more years in the cellar. I'm guessing five, minimum.

Now let me tell you a tiny short story about this family vineyard, and I mean FAMILY vineyard. When I called to order the wine the delightful lady on the other end of the line had to shout a bit to be heard, because she was giving the baby a bath at the same time. Now how can you not just love that?

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