The 2007 Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir from Napa Valley in California has some interesting German breakfast bun qualities to it. Hazelnut and vanilla showed an interesting flavour combo that reminds me of imported confections from the land of the Black Forest. On the nose I picked up some sweet tree fruits peach and cherry. On the mouth the wine rolled in with very soft tannins, and some unaggressive earthen aromas that suggested natural spring more than cow pasture. Oak was noticable, and it helped support a cast of unfamiliar scents and flavours. My tasting notes also showed that it had a very memorable slow finish.
This wine is a sample of two trends I see coming in California wines and Pinot Noirs. First, California winemakers, especially those from the Napa Valley, have felt a market correction in the valuation of their products – consumer willingness to drop big bucks on big wines is fading. So instead of dropping their drawers on their icon wine price structures, they are making different wines from mid-market price ranges available. These wines are more likely to be European Style in craftsmanship, which will make the Robert Parkers of the world roll their eyes. These wine makers can still make reduced case count production runs of their balls-to-the-wall Parkerized wines to keep that clientele happy, and lines that compete the old world blends that are showing their values in tougher times. American entrepreneurship still works.
Second trend, re: Pinot Noirs, this one is more accidental than anything but I have been hearing buzz about German Pinot Noirs being the next “in” wine – and this Waterstone Pinot Noir has some very German like qualites, the vanilla, some nuttiness and restrained fruit flavourings that do not suggest big fruit forward wines from sun drenched vineyards. I can picture famous Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr serving me a glass of this wine and, “This is a good wine, yes?”
Musical match: The Beatles sing “I Should Have Known Better,” with the acoustic guitar cloning the modest oak, simple beat, and a great electric crescendo and a nice slow finish. This video features photographs by Ms. Kirchherr.
Leave a comment and me know what wine you would match with this music.
Part 2/5 in the BottleDJ 2010 Fall Classic Focus on Napa.