For me, what separates good and great wine is texture and aromatics. Taste can be so subjective that I always feel more confident recommending a wine if it has a great aromatic profile, and the mouth feel and texture is extraordinary. The wine this week is exactly those two things. I would say this is one of the most expressive California wines I've tasted in a long time. Much of that, I would say, is exemplary wine making and grape handling.
Winemaker John Grant seems to only pick great vineyard sites and makes sure they are farmed to maintain healthy vines and never for tonnage. In my opinion, as a winemaker, you are already half way to making great wine by following those two first steps. The vineyard in question this week is Roma's. It is located 1,850 ft. above sea level and it was originally planted as a source for sparkling wine. The farming is organic and sustainable. His rows are planted to Pommard clones of Pinot Noir that are meant to express mineral and acid in the wines. Pretty and full but often heavy handed. Not in this case.
Grant's wine making is non-interventionist. He uses 60% whole cluster fermentation. His wines are only punched down once a day to avoid over extracting tannin from the wines. They are never racked, fined or filtered.
This is a wonderful wine. There are a few small handful of people who make wines this way. Where texture and aromatics drive the fruit, making well balanced excellent wines. Try this with seared duck breast with a little fruit demi glacé or, if you're daring, Sunday morning Dim Sum. But, of course, a little cheese never hurts.
A wonderful briny cows milk cheese from the Catalan Pyrenées. Soft and rich, with a creamy mouth feel. This is a rare cheese for us to get, so grab it while you can and try it with some great California Pinot Noir.
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