Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mendelson Pinot Noir

Mendelson Wines
Pinot Noir

Sleepy Hollow Vineyard
Santa Lucia Highlands

Napa, California, U.S.A.
$34.29 [$48.99] -- Twin Liquors, Bee Cave, TX

Color: Dark brick
Nose: Stewed plum, wet gravel, sour sage cigarettes, heat
Body: Full
Front: Fruit soup, orange
Middle: Plum licorice, espresso grounds
Back: Thyme, a little heat, burned popcorn
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

I'm going to go buy another bottle of this wine, because it has a combination of characteristics that I find absolutely enchanting. The heat on the nose and in the glass is a little unfortunate, especially five years out, but it's not overwhelming. Oddly, there aren't many reviews of this wine, perhaps because the maker is best known for dessert wines. Then again, maybe he just pissed everybody off.

Either way, here's the thing: this tastes almost exactly like two other high-tone Pinots I've had, that had a little age on 'em. Stewed fruit, then some earthy or beefy or smoky secondary flavors, and a burned popcorn type of ending. And the flavor profile didn't evolve in any of these cases either: an hour later, they basically tasted the same as after 15 minutes. Two hours, same deal: still delicious, but still the same flavors in the same structure.

This puts me in a quandary. One of the things I love about wine as opposed to, say, Dr. PepperTM, is that it sometimes evolves as it opens. A single wine can be delicious in five or twelve different ways over the course of a few hours. Then again, I love Dr. PepperTM! And this tastes a lot like it.

So I'm going to get another bottle, as I said. And I'm going to be flexible about what I imagine the unfolding of a wine that I enjoy might be like. At $35, I think this is an absolute steal in Pinot, unless you hate sour sage cigarettes.