Tuesday, August 14, 2012

At 11-years-old, a California Pinot Shines

A newer release of Belle Glos pinot noir.
Not a bad marketing and design job.
You might recognize Belle Glos pinot noirs from their flowingly scripted labels or the trademark wax cap they use to cover their wines. Belle Glos is a pinot noir pet project of Chuck Wagner, who gained a reputation for making stellar Napa cabernets under the Caymus label. Named after Wagner's grandmother, Loma Belle Glos, the label releases three vineyard-designated wines each year: Taylor Lane Vineyard (Sonoma Coast), Las Alturas Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands) and Clark and Telephone Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley).

I enjoyed the hell out of a 2008 Taylor Lane Vineyard bottling in the past, so I was intrigued when I came across a 2001 Belle Glos Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley at a random wine shop in New Jersey. It's not every day you see an 11-year-old pinot on the shelves, so I picked up a bottle at $40 to give it a shot. I found out later that this was the first pinot noir Belle Glos released, and it's the only Belle Glos bottle I've seen without the wax capsule that they're known for.

I popped and poured this wine last night. It showed a pretty cherry color in the glass and I could actually my fingers through it, which is exceedlingly rare among California pinot noirs..

It has lovely fountain cola and black cherry aromas, but it smells fresh, not as hedonistic as a young Kosta Browne, for example. Lovely raspberries and a bit of carmelized sugar linger on the nose as well. Aromatically, this wine is something to be reckoned with.

Eleven years in, this wine is still going strong and I think it’s drinking quite perfectly right now. I’d be surprised if people purposefully aged this wine for 11 years, but if you were lucky enough to cellar a few bottles or, like me, pick up a random one, you’re in for a treat. The wild raspberry and black cherry fruit is so pure and smooth. Hints of caramel, dust, chocolate shavings and vanilla bean give this wine a dessert-like aspect. The tannins are soft and the oak is very nuanced. The finish is long and seamless.

Overall, this wine is very elegant. It’s obviously still fruit-forward and the aromas and flavors scream Central Coast pinot noir. It’s full of a lot of fruit, but it’s rare that I find fruit with this kind of freshness. No alcohol heat, no overbearing oak, no goopy fruit, just pure deliciousness. 

I scored it 91 points. Next time I get a chance, I’m picking up some more Belle Glos pinot. I haven’t been let down yet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment