Friday, November 7, 2014

The Case of Perplexing Pinot.

The best part of being a troglodyte is I've the legitimate wine habits of a troll. Onward!

Here's what I understand about Pinot Noir:
(wait for it)
Okay, so here's what I gather.  There's this country called France and they have a bunch of wine regions.  For instance there is Bordeaux on the bottom left and that stuff is primo, lots of Chateaus and stuff. Actually I thought it was up higher, but that's Loire Valley.  Good thing I'm doing this.

Many recognizable regions, like Champagne, we all know what that is, and Cognac.

That little red chili pepper above that other chili pepper is Burgundy, and here's what I gather about Burgundy, other than it seems to attract a following in fanatic need of esoteric meanderings:  it's made from Pinot grapes. 

Also: it's very mineral-ly.  Burgundy has a lot of limestone and so the wine tastes very rock-like, or as one person put it, like sucking on a rock.  Which is like, why don't you save a few bucks and just suck on a rock?  But there's probably fruity things going on, too.  Either way, I get the sense that it's erudite stuff, Advanced Wine, not for amateurs and especially not for trolls or troglodytes.  


In this country, there is Pinot Noir, made from...pinot grapes, like the ones that make Burgundy.  It turns out I've been drinking a ton of Pinots:  Castle Rock 2008, Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast 1994, Longoria Santa Rita Hills 2001, A to Z from Oregon and I could swear a Kosta Browne went down the gullet. 

This past weekend, oh what a weekend!  It was cooler, it rained real rain for a few minutes, and The Cave was finally busy.  Wine Weather!  I opened this, 2007 Road 31 Napa Valley, a guy, his dog and his truck.  That's all you need.

You know when you really want something and you get it right?  This was that.  Though I was expecting neither the deep red hue nor the rich, slightly spicy, front, it arced gracefully into a softer, gentler finish and this was a very satisfying wine.

But I didn't understand it as a Pinot Noir.  Like after six years I finally GET Cabernet, (yay!) but I absolutely don't GET Pinot.  It seems every bottle I try is a whole different wine idea.

This is in the Museum of Bad Art.  I kind of like it, actually. 

But the yardstick by which it is measured is clear.  Pinot Noir, not so much.

Okay, so Max was in yesterday and we discussed, and as he put it the Pinot grape is the grape most conducive to expressing terroir, so in limestone it would be mineral-ly and in the deep black soils of California it could be a bigger statement.  Add to that the hand of the wine maker, and a list of other variables.  If its nature is to be reflective of variables than it can never be defined.

 Which means Pinot Noir spelled backwards is Dog.