Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Chamisal Vineyards Morrito

Some think uncorking a fine wine should be reserved for a special occasion.  I feel every day is a special occasion, but I still found myself holding on to this wine, waiting for a really special reason.  I recently reminisced about a trip to Edna Valley, a visit to Chamisal Vineyards with a group of journalists and the winemaker who gave me this wonderful bottle of wine.

Fintan du Fresne, Chamisal's winemaker, showed our group extraordinary generosity during our visit - not just with his wine, but with his time, too.  He spent nearly an entire day with a dozen or so of us, tromping around in the vineyards with us, drawing tastes from the barrel in the winery, eating lunch with us and hosting a wine tasting at a beach front resort.  And after all that, he hosted a winemaker's dinner for us.  Our group felt quite special at the end of that day.

So, as I reminisced, I decided it was a special enough occasion to justify uncorking that special wine.

Chamisal's Morrito is an Estate Pinot Noir, made with grapes that grow on a small hill - morrito - behind the winery, which produces particularly intense fruit.  Two clones are used, 2A and Archery Summit.  The alcohol content is listed as 14.6% and the wine spends 18 months in French Oak barrels.

Morrito is very dark for Pinot Noir, I can hardly see through it when holding to the light.  It has a very intense nose which simply explodes from the glass.  Black cherry, cola notes and spice are the major players.

The palate shows an earthy tone, which is dominant over a big cherry sensation.  The wine lasted over three nights, and on each night it required quite a bit of time after pouring to settle down, but once it did calm a bit the experience was wonderful.  On that third night, a slight herbaceous taste revealed itself which added to the complexity but did not detract one bit from the explosive fruit on the nose and palate.  If anything, the wine became darker and more brooding over the span of time.  It was a rather thrilling transformation.

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