Thursday, February 14, 2013

Londer Vineyards Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2008

I knew this wine was going to be smokey. Forest fires hit the north Pacific coast in 2008 during the growing season, and Londer was so disappointed by the smoke taint in their wines that year that they sold them out at deep discount. The wine ordinarily sells for $35 to $40 a bottle; I bought a case for $72.

I was pleasantly surprised by the drinkability of the first three bottles, but the smoke taint clearly showed on this bottle--a somewhat pleasant smokiness on the first sniff and an unpleasant charred after taste. In between, the wine was still quite pleasant...but not as good as the previous three bottles. Regarding the increased smokiness, I have three theories:

1) As I've had more northern coast Pinots over the past two months, my taste has become more discriminating.

2) As the wine ages, the smokey quality is becoming more prominent. The winery warned this could happen; hence, the deep discount.

3) Bottle variation.

I'm leaning toward #3. Unless a wine is manufactured, there is bound to be variation between different bottles in a lot or even a case. I don't intend to hold the wine long term but I'm counting on some more pleasant experiences.

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