Friday, February 3, 2017

Pinot, Hit Me One More Time

Owner and winemaker Joe Wagner runs his Copper Cane Wine and Provisions out of Oregon, where he makes the delightful Elouan Rosé. The 2015 Böen Pinot Noir is from one of California's great regions for Pinot, Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley.

Produced and bottled in the Napa Valley, this wine carries an homage to farmers on the back label. It's a quote from Senator Daniel Webster, extolling the virtues of growing things in the ground. "When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization." And you thought they were just raising food.

The 14.3% abv number is a bit high for my liking, but that's California wine for you. When the fruit gets really ripe, the wine can get really alcoholic.

The Russian River has deposited volcanic and bedrock remnants over the millennia, so the mineral aspect of the growing area is great, while the cool, foggy conditions that typically last much of the day are what Wagner calls "ideal" conditions for growing Pinot Noior grapes.

The 2015 Böen Russian River Valley Pinot Noir really comes on strong, but it does so in a very affecting way. California Pinot is always too ripe for me, too dark, too strong. But this wine is a savory gem that begs you to find its eccentricities appealing. Black as a moonless night, the Böen gives some of the strongest aromas of cola and black tea that I've ever noted in Pinot Noir. Heavy blackberries and plums also are in there. On the palate… well, just be ready is all I can tell you. It packs a wallop. The alcohol is predictably high, but it's more the intensity of the flavors that grab me by the lapels and slap me around. If you like Burgundy, this is probably overload. If you like Syrah, get on board.