Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A New Pinot I Wanted to Hate


Given my perchance for Pinot Noir, you’re probably wonder why I would ever hate any PN before even taking a sip. You’ll be more confounded to learn that a Pinot from the producer of the PN in question received Laube’s highest Pinot rating ever, that the producer has a very tightly allocated mailing list and that I’m actually on it. What’s to hate?? OK so the producer in question is the Kosta Browne Winery and their first release of small quantities of their Pinot immediately created cult-like status for the winery. Therein lies the rub, I hate cults, religious, political, social, wino, I don’t want to be part of anything so extreme, so blind to reality and variety, so brainwashed. Plus, truth be told I didn’t like Laube’s smug, look what we at WS discovered, review of KB’s first releases a year or so ago, as if he had something to do with the very high quality of the wines being produced at KB. Get over yourself, James, you had nothing whatsoever to do with Kosta Browne's wine making success. Finally, there are a number of respected critics that find KB’s style—big, bold, fruit forward, to be the antithesis of the restrained, mysterious, delicate Pinots (read Burgundies) that they favor. Put that mish mash together and you get my pre-opening mind set.

So I had a couple of guests over the other night, my brother and our friend Joe, who, along with my wife, served as my guinea pigs for the first bottle of Kosta Browne Pinot that I’ve opened. Tough sledding, I know, but someone had to do it, along with sitting there and eating my food (we also had a bottle of the 200o Beaucastel Blanc, which was lovely, before the KB, and the 2003 Delectus Oakville afterwards, which was also quite good but did not match the KB Pinot). I tasted the wine in private away from them first, writing down my initial thoughts, taking three glasses downstairs to the thirty trio, then returning to the wine again by myself, all in an effort to not be persuaded by anything they said or noted. This is my blog, BTW, so I really don't give a shit what others think in the context of what I taste.

The wine in question was the Kosta Browne 2004 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, which I purchased directly from the winery for about $42. It checks in at a robust 14.7% alcohol. According to the KB website, the 2004 Sonoma Coast is a blend of four vineyards; Kanzler, Guisti Ranch, Pleasant Hill and Dutton-Manzana. Apparently, all of these vineyards lie in and around Green Valley, which is one of the coolest climates in Sonoma County. Seventeen months of barrel aging with 31% new oak. Sorry but I don't think you can find this in the market but if you see it on some wine list somewhere, well do what you have to do.

Tasting Notes: Very dark red, almost indigo in the glass. Nose of ripe black cherries, smoky and sweet mid-palate, fantastically rich and plush, dark fruits, with notes of slate and chocolate supporting great structure. Long smooth finish with blackberries that is almost Cab like. This is not a Pinot for the faint of heart, with its bold flavors and textures but it’s a delicious wine made by craftsmen who really know what they are doing. Bottom line, this is a wine to love not hate and the four of us drank every last drop of it.

Rating: Excellent
Cheers, Barrld