after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

if wine were a cocktail …

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t says:  We invited over dz and smn a night or so ago for some take-out and wine (and dessert … don’t forget dessert*).  With pizza from Gusto’s, I went into my “cellar” and pulled out a pinot noir.  Now, I had never had this particular Pinot, so I was gambling a bit, because when it comes to a new Pinot, I never know what I’m going to get.  As soon as I hear “Pinot noir” (assuming I’m talking about red still wine), the two flavors that come to mind are red cherries and earth.  This is interesting because depending on the absolute intensities of cherry and earth as well as the cherry:earth ratio, different pinot noirs can be very different from each other.  You can get some over-extracted, over-the-top, fruit-bomb pinot noirs that coat your mouth and and scream “cherry” (or even darker fruits) from the top of its lungs, or you can get an elegant symphony of fruit and leather and earth and wood that moves you to tears.  To paraphrase that dude from the movie Sideways: “when it’s great, Pinot noir produces the most complex, hedonistic, and remarkably thrilling wine in the world.”  I assure you that the wine we had was not such a wine, but of course, it’s pretty unreasonable to have such expectations for under $20 … and with some take-out pizza.

2009 calera pinot noir

2009 Calera Pinot Noir (USA, CA, Central Coast; $24.99 at PLCB, but <$20 everywhere else).  The first thing I noticed about this particular bottle was that this was unlike any closure than I had ever encountered.  Here’s a closeup:

what’s the deal with the glass stopper?

That’s right – it’s not real cork, it’s not synthetic cork, it’s glass!  How interesting!  Maybe I need to drink more wine or something, because this is the first time I’ve seen it.  g did the honors and popped it with ease.  Wow!  No corkscrew necessary!  While I’m sure this will affect/limit any attempt to “age” the wine over time (or am I?), it’s definitely darn spiffy.  Plus, if there’s any left, you just pop it back into place and it’s [relatively] sealed once again.

The wine itself was intriguing because it didn’t quite remind me of pinot noir.  I’ll let g explain:

g says:  I smelled “jazzy strawberries”. It wasn’t just plain old strawberry – there was something else there – a lot like mint.  When I smelled it, it made me feel like I really wanted to drink it, if that makes any sense. It tasted just like it smelled, with strawberries, other red fruit, and a strong minty flavor (the fresh-cut herb, not like peppermint or spearmint). It also felt like it had a little bit of carbonation on my tongue. I guess it was kind of like a cocktail!  If t finds more at under $20/bottle, I think he should get some.

t says:  I completely agree with the above assessment.  As a matter of fact, we both mentioned red fruits (strawberry in particular) and mint independently and when I checked the Wine Advocate tasting note, I was not surprised to see that the wine critic found those two kinds of flavors as well.  The wine critic then mentions “polish” and “elegance”, but I’m not so sure I’d go there.  It does have this moderate-length finish where you continue to taste the pitter-patter of berry-mint flavor well after you swallow which is very pleasant, but it’s definitely not-so-much “elegant” as it is “flirtacious”.  To be truly “elegant”, I’d expect something else to come into play to balance the cocktail-ness (or maybe “cocktaility”?) of the wine.  There was some mouth-watering acid (which probably made it feel a little fizzy), but not a single bit of bitter tannin or funk/earth anywhere on the palate.  I did get some earth on the nose, but that’s about it.

Impression and Plan:  The Calera is an easy-going wine with flavors of mass-appeal (?who doesn’t like strawberry and mint?).  Overall, g quite liked it and she expects that kp will like it, too – we’ll see.  I feel that if it were $4 cheaper, I’d consider buying a bottle and having it on hand for emergency party situations.  g feels differently, and would pay up to $20.  I guess I just like something a little darker and a little more brooding.

*Noteworthy aside:  smn made this super-awesome lemon pound cake thingee from Ina Garten.  Holy crap it was amazing.  Between the lemon pound cake and the chocolate cake balls, she’s a pretty darn talented baker.  She was kind enough to let us have the remaining slice or two.  I will eat them when g’s not looking …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

18 February 2012 at 12:31am

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