2013 J. Wilkes STA. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Appearance: Medium plus garnet color with good to excellent color saturation to the wine's edge.
Aromatics: A fabulously complex nose that will remind many drinkers of Cote de Beaune (Southern Burgundy, such as volnay or a red Puligny-Montrachet). A nice balance of ripe black berry fruit, tart red fruits and loamy earth dominate the aromas in the glass--not at all a fruit bomb--more of an earth-bomb with plenty of bright cherry and blackberry fruit to keep it lively and delicious. Refined, complex aromas wait those who search for them deeply in the glass: cranberry, rhubarb, candied orange peel, hibiscus tea, beet root all peek out meekly behind the enticing and understated fruit expression. Faintest hint of oak/barrel treatment showing only the elegance of older French oak barrels: vanilla and oak toast.
Palate: Again, reminiscent of a young Burgundy wine from the Cote de Beaune--a tight-lipped young man concealing his character for the future. Drunk young, the structure and complexity of this wine begs for food--the higher in the fat the better. Young, tight and grippy on the attack with firm structure and admirable fruit/earth in the long finish. Complex persistence from mid-palate through finish, very rare for a new release. Evoking both the Old and New Worlds simultaneously, this is a wine that will appeal greatly to those who pursue the earthy magic of Burgundy, but still want the California fruit/sunshine and a reasonable price point.
Food Pairing: Classic matches from Burgundy will wow with this selection: cassoulet (white bean/duck/port stew), duck confit, wild mushroom pizza, ripe cheeses such as Epoisses or Affine. Match with strong flavors while this wine is young, and more delicate flavors (pasta with shaved truffles) after 2018-2020.
Aging: Absolutely. This wine will begin softening and showing more integration within 18 months, will drink wonderfully for the most New World palates through 2018-2020, and can likely go 2020-2025 for those who prefer full maturity.
Cases Produced: 254 Cases