What Can the Whale Teach Us?

Thin beautiful purple-ruby with clear edges.  Original wonderful huge musty barnyard Pinot blows off after some time, leaving nutmeg fruit and sweet oak.  Marvelously acidic core transforms into nicely balanced tannin in the finish.

This is a very nice Pinot.  It is not a terribly wonderful Pinot with warm, solid fruit backbone, all the woodsy nuances a Pinot demands, and nothing out of balance.  Very safe.  A lovely Pinot.  And, for 15 or 20 dollars, a very nice Pinot.  And *occasionally* I will factor in price-point–only to make a statement of value on un-assumed greatness or over-wraught distraction.

But see… here at 30$, you are beginning to expect a sort of greatness–something which wows, especially from a great  appellation such as this.  Yes, I am not immune to the escalation of PN pricing post-Sideways.  I get it.  A really great pinot HAS to be 50 or 60 bucks, right?  And yes, 50 and 60 dollar Pinots BETTER DAMN WELL BE FRICKIN AMAZING.  But at 30, we really need to be seeing some of this greatness.  And this wine has plenty of greatness.  It is reasonably balanced, it is nuanced, and it is drinkable.  But the fruit heads South and the tannin takes over in a way which tells me this is the extent of this wine.   It is not destined for greatness.  A case of these in your cellar would be an interesting predicament.  It is a (high-end) super-market purchase, so that means it was intended to drink now.

What’s horrible about it?  Nothing.  What is great about it?  Nothing.  And maybe that is exactly where 30$ California Pinot Noir is supposed to be.  So buy it, drink it, enjoy it.  It is head-and-shoulders better than Meomi, haha.  It appeals to me because the acid and tannin take hold and blister everything out by mid-palate.  And anyone who knows my preference in wine will know a hardcore acid/tannin finish will get better marks.  This wine was probably not designed for a discussion anywhere nearly this long.  It’s just… wine is meant to be talked about.  Not just instantly graded on a finite scale and move on to the next one like a state-fair panel.

You should buy this wine.  It is a lovely wine.  It just doesn’t have anything which punches you in the face and says OMG.  And call me old-fashioned, but by the time you hit the 30$ PP, there should be something in there which grabs you.

2012 MELVILLE Pinot Noir Verna’s Santa Barbara Co.  14.0



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