Russian River Valley, CA; 14.1% ABV
$7 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 17 June
It’s always exciting for me when a Pinot Noir with the Russian River Valley appellation shows up, and MrVino had praised this wine, writing about it: “good length, some smoke, light oak, nice mouth feel/glycerin.” I thought it was pretty tasty, too, but also a little unusual.
I decanted it before running an errand, so I first tasted it after it had been open for about 30 minutes. Then, it was delicious, tasting of intense fruit (black cherry, dark red and maybe black raspberries) driven by zingy acid, and the smoke and supporting oak MrVino described. I didn’t really get the glycerin mouthfeel, although it is relatively full-bodied for a Pinot Noir. While it tasted like Pinot Noir, the darker flavors and intense, tangy fruit almost made me wonder if it contained some Zinfandel. (Not likely, I think.) As the evening went on, the wine did not change all that much, softening and filling out only a little, and eventually falling apart slightly. The back label says is was “bottled exclusively for fine restaurants and private clubs,” so probably it was made to be delicious from first pour. My reaction is that, while it’s pretty good, I think the 2010 Swami is a more complex and substantial wine (and a dollar less) as long as I am able to give it 2+ hours of air before serving.
The saved single-glass, screw-cap bottle was at first still tasty in a tongue-catching way (taste equivalent of eye-catching?), but was thinner and more acid, less complex and a little more cheap candy-like. After a couple hours, however the fruit darkened and filled out and was very nice. For scientific comparison purposes only, of course, I had also opened a saved single-glass screw-cap bottle of the 2010 Swami Pinot. It also exhibited a similar transition about the same time, and was slightly better. Thinking back on it, this wonderful transition these wines exhibited is suspiciously correlated with when I managed to get the kids to bed. 🙂