jamie goode's wine blog: Californian Pinot Noir with a Spanish twist

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Californian Pinot Noir with a Spanish twist

Played football again for the first time in a while last night, and remarkably I'm not too stiff today. And this evening, quite by chance, I met one of my PhD supervisors for the first time in more than a decade. I suppose it's Tony's fault that I even did a PhD. As a rather immature 21 year old I'd just finished my degree, got one of the five firsts that were awarded in the life sciences that year (which surprised a lot of people, including myself), and sort of fancied the idea of becoming a scientist (I was desperately ignorant of any other career options, to be honest). Tony is one of those guys who is utterly likeable and easy to hang out with, and the thought of working for him, in a department I was already familiar with, was a very appealing one. It was great to catch up with him again - and almost bizarrely, it was because he was attending a lecture on the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. I quickly reassured him that most of what he was about to hear was bollocks because of confounding (a rather brutal summary, but one with more than a grain of truth to it) and the best reason for drinking red wine is because it tastes nice and is mildly intoxicating. Meeting Tony reminded me of how much I enjoyed my time as a PhD student - it would have been fun to work as an academic.

Tonight I'm drinking Californian Pinot Noir. One of my guilty secrets is that I've quite liked many of the Californian Pinots that I've tried. I guess Pinot Noir in California, despite the Sideways effect, hasn't been touched by quite the degree of pretension and price escalation that has bedeviled Californian 'Cabs'. The wine in question is from Marimar Torres' Sonoma estate. If you are approaching Pinot Noir from a Burgundian perspective, then this is pumped up on steroids with bulging biceps and pecs that look like rather taut breasts. But what I like about it is that it is savoury and quite complex, with a similar sort of flavour profile as an extremely cool climate mountain Syrah. It has the structure to age, and isn't tarted up with sweet fruit.

Marimar Estate Dona Margarita Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004 Sonoma Coast, California
From a 12 acre organic vineyard six miles from the Pacific, with 2340 vines per acre (high density) trained low. 62% Pommard clone and 38% Dijon 115 clone. Aged in a mix of half new and half one year old French oak barrels for 11 months before being bottled unfiltered. This wine has a deep colour, with a nose of sweet dark cherry and blackberry fruit, complemented with a bit of spicy oak. It needs a bit of time to open out. The palate shows lovely savoury dark fruits with a firm spicy structure. It's fresh, purely fruited and focused with some elegance, but it is currently quite primary and tannic, with a bit of high class oak evident. There's some nice earthy complexity, together with the faintest hint of rhubarb. There's some real potential for development here: quite a serious, full-on expression of Pinot Noir, albeit at quite a high alcohol level (14.5%). I'm impressed. Very god/excellent 92/100

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At 7:14 AM, Blogger thor iverson said...

I guess Pinot Noir in California, despite the Sideways effect, hasn't been touched by quite the degree of pretension and price escalation that has bedeviled Californian 'Cabs'.

(Much laughter ensues.)

Oh, Jamie. Oh dear.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thor, guess you have a point. Must have been feeling very gracious and optimistic when I wrote this.


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