Thursday, September 27, 2012

Updated Review: ****+ $$ Chad Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA, 2008 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background: Chad Pinot Noir is a second-label wine made from grapes of the Sarmento Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands of California. The 2008 vintage is finished at 14.1% alcohol.    

Original Tasting and Review, May, 2010: 

In the glass:  Chad Pinot Noir shows as medium red in the glass, with hints of both purple and brick at the edges.  

On the nose: Poured at room temperature with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir carries bright, bold, red and black stone fruits, with touches of black smoke, oak and detergent. 

On the palate: The first elements on the palate are sleek, even, mineral red fruits - bold, lush, plush and still focused, continued waves of minerality and sweet salinity.  Nicely clothed in a tailored suit.  

And the wrap-up: The finish is lengthy, solid, rich and balanced.

In summary: Overall, an awesome experience of power and balance, with an innate accessibility and friendliness.  Rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale,  with a plus for understated power and eloquence.  Best value.

Following long decant:  Detergent aroma has blown off, now smoky black and red cherry.  Palate and finish have held solid, taut, sweet and mineral - not deteriorated, not enhanced.  Does lose just a bit of its dark, smoky character.  I declare this equally secure as a pop-and-pour or as a well-decanted pinot noir.  Suggests that up to a few years in bottle will not harm things either.  

Updated Review, nine months later, February, 2011:  Still medium red in glass, with a sweet and smoky nose.  Red currants on the palate with that consistent trace of salinity.  Still nicely balanced, with a light edge pointing towards a faint acid grip, with light red fruit sugar in the surround.  Holding up perfectly well.

Updated Review, another nine months, November, 2011:  Smoky nose has picked up a touch of vegetable, light but not troublesome.  Seems to be thinning just a bit on the palate, but still with the currant and saline elements.  We'll give this a try with Thanksgiving turkey today. 

Updated review, another 10 months later, September, 2012:  Light to medium red.  Light, sweet and smoky still on the nose.  Remains gentle, fresh and entirely elegant.  

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