Santa Lucia Highlands, CA; 13.7% ABV
$5 at the Oakland, CA, store on 8 Jan
I had avoided this wine after the ambivalent reviews of the Gravelly Ford Zinfandel and Merlot. However, in reply to my review of the Swami 2009 Pinot Noir, Stan commented that he liked this Pinot better for a dollar less. I agree it’s a very good Pinot for $5.
On opening, the wine shows nice, dark red cherry fruit, with a sort of hard, earthy character. After about 1:15 – 1:45 in a decanter, the wine opens to classic CA Pinot flavors of medium to darker red cherry, orange, sap / bay leaf, and nice earthiness / Pinot funk. I did not think it ever became as yummy as the bottle of Swami I had, and I’d gladly spend the extra dollar on another bottle like it. However, we’ve gotten reports of bottle variation in the Swami from Stan, Darrell, and G. L. Pease, so this GF Pinot may be a safer bet. It’s certainly the best $5 Pinot I’ve had in a long time.
On a curious note, there was a sticker stuck on the right side of the front label that read 13.7% ABV. You might be able to barely make it out in the photo. Underneath the sticker, the label says 14.4%.