March 8, 2012

C.R.O.W.N. 4

For the first time we will focus on a single varietal: pinot noir.

Like many people (way too many people from the point of view of the wine community), I got interested in pinot noir after watching Sideways. Miles' response when asked why he loves it so much is one of my favorite movie moments ever:
It's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.
There is even a "Sideways Effect" which describes the masses of people who turned on to pinot noir as a result of the movie. Even though Sideways is a satire not to be taken too seriously, it did open my eyes to this grape. Although I still drink merlot, too, when I feel like it.

Pinot noir is tricky to pin down. I find it's not easily identifiable, like malbec or chardonnay. I will often buy a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or syrah that I've haven't tasted before because you have a fairly good idea of what you're going to get. But not pinot noir - each one is different. Some are very "thin" and others surprisingly robust. And to me they really are hit or miss. 

Should be fun.

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