Clos Pepe FTW

If you don’t know Brian Loring’s story, go to his site and read it.  The short version is, he’s a self-taught pinot-freak who makes 16 different pinots every year from Sonoma to Santa Babara Counties, with Monterey and San Luis Obispo–a Paso, not an Edna–in the middle.  Wait, no SMV?  But RRV, SRH, SYV, Garys’, SLH, the list is as confusing as his almost-perfectly-identical labels–a dreadful stroke of marketing, I might add–with which you really need to study carefully to make sure you are not buying two identical bottles or two different bottles–whichever your preference at the time.  You think Nickel & Nickel have too many identical labels?  Welcome to Loring Wine Company.  This particular bottle I feel is on it’s last legs.  Sure… if you’re into old tired PN, keep it around for a while.  But it is showing a streak of acidity just barely starting to overshadow the fruit.  Sorry to start out negative:  THIS IS AN AMAZING WINE.  OMG, thin and bright and just barely bricking and the most intoxicating nose–heady of dark fruit and bruised berries and sweet toasted oak.  Great barnyard, wet-leaves sorta pinot-ey things going on for ever and ever.  And then you taste it.  The most lush, supple entry.  Cherry pie and more of that toasty oak and forest floor slam you in the face.  It is truly a glorious wine.  Luxurious and velvety.  Just plain Pinot NECTAR and I would never guess this blind to be knockin on 10 years old.  I’ve had several Lorings of lesser pedigree and they actually show age.  This Clos Pepe is brilliant.  With that said, a massive acidity brings up the finish and rolls over into mild tannins.  It is a bit out of balance and I would be worried the plush fruit of the first half can stand up to the finish much longer.  I would drink them.  But keep one to prove me wrong in 2024.  14-1    ♦♦

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