Paraiso 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, CA
$6 at the Long Beach, CA, store on 2 June

20160617_174408Poured though an aerator straight, the wine’s nose invites immediately with some dark, bright red cherry fruit, heavily toasted wood, and barrel spice and paired with dark ruby color and long legs in the glass.

First thoughts upon tasting summon those similar to tasting $15-20 Pinots where there’s some defect that permeates through the wine’s presentation. Here, it’s a combination of the heavy fruit and bright, almost mineral acidity where neither comes into balance with the rest of the wine.

Many winos are familiar with the industry commentary surrounding the emergence of the word “smooth” in reviews in recent decades but this wine does smooth out with time, and not much time at that. 30 minutes in, it begins to sort its idiosyncrasies out and the components harmonize a bit more. Now we are getting somewhere. It’s a blind date that begins questionably that is potentially worth the time by the middle of the appetizer.

As time passes, the wine doesn’t come all that much more together and the elements that combine to make it more inviting cannot do anything more to overcome what is too much ripe fruit, toasted oak and acid. The wine is bigger than expected and to its detriment.

Tasted on Day 2, the wine deteriorates quite a bit and the fruit sweetens considerably, moving this even more into the Thumbs Down category.

“Cheap pinot” from CA seems to go one of two ways for me: thin, tart, dilute cherry cola with zero finish or something similar to this wine. It’s not terrible but it’s a Thumbs Down for me, especially compared with comparably-priced GO Pinots. I was hoping for something better out of SLH, which in my understanding can be a decent, lower-cost alternative to Santa Maria Pinot. Not here.




6 thoughts on “Paraiso 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

  1. inthewinecountry

    Thanks Darrell, Heading down that way today and tomorrow. If I see it will pickup one for Fathers Day. Although I wonder being a 2010 how its held up? I also saw a Malbec lately at GO and almost bought but when I saw it was a 2015? I passed, little too young for a Malbec to my thinking.

    1. Darrell

      ITWC, I believe the 2010 Pinnacolitos might be made by Paraiso. I know the 2009 was. I’m kinda like SB, a Kevorkian drinker, and possibly more so. There are people who still taste and drink Chalone’s PN from the ’70s and ’80s and the Pinnacolitos being just under 6 years, shouldn’t have deteriorated because of time.

  2. BargainWhine

    I agree completely. I tried a bottle because this was popular at my store, but it beats me why. Would anyone who liked it tell me? 🙂

  3. inthewinecountry

    agree, bought this and the Loyalist when they first came out and overall I have been a fan of Santa Barbara Pinots. I personally like the bigger pinots if they are balanced, but this one was not. It had too much of a acid finish and was worse the next day.

    1. Darrell

      ITWC, Santa Rosa has the 2010 Pinnacolitos PN which you might want to try. I saw some when I picked up the Double J PN. I should have picked up a bottle when picking up the Double J since I liked the 2009. The Chalone AVA is just a little different when compared to the Carneros and Sonoma PN’s. I would say a less floral, fruity PN. It gets hot above the Salinas Valley floor and am surprised PN and Chard do well there.


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