Wiley Vineyard, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, CA; 13.5% ABV
$6.99 @ Corvallis, OR, Sept. 23
Produced and bottled by Harrington Wines
This is an extremely unusual Pinot Noir, IMO. Outside of my normal taste preferences.
At first pour the wine appears cloudy. I was concerned it had gone bad. It was an unusually dark plum color for Pinot and there were quite a bit of tiny, fizz-like bubbles apparent in the wine. Having never experienced effervescence in pinot noir and subsequently learning that should never be the case, it warranted further research. It’s possible the bubbles were why it materialized itself as cloudy. This appears to be a sign of secondary fermentation (possible lack of proper filtering of the yeast and sugar before bottling). This article refers to the “re-fermentation” process (which until this wine, I’d never experienced before) under the “Re-fermentation” or “Detecting Faults in Wine Tasting” headings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_fault#Refermentation
In any case, it is worth noting that it’s possible that, in affected bottles, the cork will blow or in worse case scenario, the bottle can explode. I only purchased one bottle so I have no idea if this is a single bottle issue, however, after reading more on the subject, I doubt it.
This is an unfortunate turn, because the wine appeared to have such promise. The fragrance was a combination of rhubarb, cranberries, cinnamon and conifer resin. So unique. It made me want to taste it (and I did). The taste was very tart but not unpleasing. It was fruit forward but not at all sweet. In fact there was a bit of astringency that came with the tartness and after tasting it again on day two, I suspect this was another result of the fault. It was a little heavier bodied, possibly due to the effervescence, than the Pinot Noir I’m used to but I wouldn’t even call it a medium bodied wine. More like medium-light. It tasted very much like its fragrance. And this is why I wondered, instead of being sure, whether the wine was flawed. On first opening, it tasted fine, tart verging on sour but oddly refreshing. However…we saved the rest of the bottle (vacu-vin) to see how it fared on day two.
On day two I was surprised to find that the wine was still cloudy. Surprised that the bubbles were still present en force. We didn’t drink it. We tasted it and discovered it had definitely moved from tart to sour. I am given to understand that it’s possible for wines with this issue to taste fine at first but eventually they will taste bad. We think that’s what happened here.
All in all, it was a promising wine that we liked at first taste however it unfortunately has to be given a thumbs down, because of its flawed nature and the possibility of injury due to the pressure on the cork or bottle, from the secondary fermentation.
[ed. note: This is the first post by our new contributor PermiesWorld, better known as frequent commenter PW.]