Some might say, with a double dose of envy, that my position on a number of prime mailing lists is very fortunate for me and my cellar. The reality is far more complicated: to keep an allocation in place you have to buy a lot of wine, mostly at full retail. My cellar used to be full of Flowers until I stopped buying it when Greg LaFollette left (though my Dad and sister still take their fill of the biennial offerings) and now I have more Pride Mountain wines than any other. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about Pride's offerings but they are expensive (all the reserves are over $100 per bottle and the regular lots are in the $50+ range). When will I have the chance to drink the 6 bottles of the 2004 reserve cab I just bought, esp. given that I have all the reserve cabs back to 1997?? I could sell them but that's just not me, I don't buy wine to make money. Then add on Kosta Browne, Peter Michael, Rhys, among too many others (no Harlan or Screaming Eagle, which is just fine) and I end up with a clogged up cellar. Don't order and off the list you go, thus the dilemma and concomitant traffic jam.
Which brings me to today's wine, from Rochioli, a Sonoma/Russian River Valley winery that I lusted for over many years. For the longest time I only could buy its Sauvignon Blanc, which I did with abandon. Then, a drop or two of Chardonnay; double down I said. Estate Pinot followed, then a year or so ago the gold rush, vineyard designated Pinots and Chards. Time to go large, esp. when I now have a secret partner to help me cover the costs. My allocations have increased accordingly and I have more than a couple of bottles of fine whites and reds from Rochioli, which I can share with the neighborhood guzzlers, esp. the estate wines.
Today's wine is the Rochioli Estate 2003 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, grown produced and bottled at the winery. Other than the alcohol level, 14.7%, I don't have much data about this wine as Rochioli doesn't have a website, which is certainly OK by me. I lost the short data sheet that came with the offering too.
Tasting notes: Clear (must be fined) red cherry in the glass, earthy mushroom nose, very tightly wound at first, sharp and pleasantly tart with currants and pomegranates mid-palate and a loamy vibrant finish. The wine opens ups a touch but remains rather austere, a premiere cru Burgundy of sorts from a lesser village, juicy, with slate and sharp features, but missing a fruit backbone found in its better competitors.
Rating: Very good, quaffable.