Esterlina is the largest winery in the country owned and operated by an African American family. Its wines are highly respected and have been served to international guests at the White House. As my introduction to Esterlina, this wine gets a mixed review.
The brickish tones are signs of advancing age; the wine is 16 years old, after all. Otherwise, I find a well balanced wine with bright acids. The major defect is on the nose; it may be corked but it doesn't have the pungent wet cardboard smells I expect from a corked wine. A corked wine usually gets worse in a short time; this wine stays about the same, even on the second night. Maybe it's a mild case of cork taint. The flavors, to me, are fine. Bright cherry/berry. Tastes to me like an Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. So I hold my nose and enjoy it.
Esterlina Pinots ordinarily sell for about $55. I bought this at auction for $10, understanding that it could be over the hill. So I have no complaints.