Clear medium ruby with shy blushes of garnet out to edges so delicately amber and brown, the clear barely reflects it. Massive, meaty nose, all BBQ and stem and sex and nectar and sweat and funk and horsehair and buttered popcorn and dirt and angst and group hugs and dark soy sauce with blackstrap and hoisin and cherry cobbler with triple-chocolate dark ice-cream but all this concentration of umami floats seamlessly across a sheer ridge of steely mineral and ashtray so wet-galvanized, so petrichor, so wet-wood and loam rich you are left in awe of the direction of concentration.
See, I know where this was grown. And I had one of these maybe a year ago. So this is not a blind taste. I know this is Derbyshire in San Simeon. One of the coolest, most-ocean-influenced vineyards in California–if not the world. So I also know more-or-less what the ABV is. I know it is low-13’s. So, THIS is why the decadent fruit and obfuscatingly rich nose compels odes to joy. Oh and I just tasted it. So I am going to tell you now–in the middle paragraph instead of at the end–this is one of the ridiculously good Pinots of the year.
In the mouth, a herbaceous tincture of cherry cola slides in immediately after the fat vapidity of the attack. Searing curls of tannin push in from the sides, not giving the fruit much of a platform from which to proclaim its superiority. Black walnut and sarsaparilla vie with match-head and sap-wood for whether bitter or sharp will gain the edge. And all through, big thick, dense, black fruit churns on and on. The last tablespoon in the glass is almost clear. Barely pink. And as you look at it to anticipate your last sniff, your last taste, the structure of this wine is already working overtime on your throat from the last swallow.
Really loving these Central Coast ocean-influenced vineyards (there’s three or four of them–do some research) and Last Light has definitely vinted a winner here. This is a tiny, tiny production side project for a couple of Paso Robles winemakers known for other labels, so do what you can to nail down some bottles.
2013 LAST LIGHT WINE COMPANY Pinot Noir Derbyshire Vineyard San Simeon San Luis Obispo County Central Coast California 13.2