03 Jack Creek Cellars, York Mountain Kruse Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve
Great land can tame even the wildest fruit. The luscious Jack Creek Reserve could have been classic Paso Robles zinfandel in another life. But something about these mountains makes it pinot noir. And perhaps it's no great compliment to say a pinot noir tastes like pinot noir, but it's worth pointing out in California, where some are closer to syrah. Of course, the cool, coastal, 1500-foot-high York Mountain AVA offers far more subtlely than Paso proper, making this wine fruit-forward, but never flabby. It speaks to the skeptic and the swain of Cali pinot. One side says there's nothing more here than Diet Pepsi or RC Cola--aspartame and acid. But the other side tastes ripe black cherries backed with silky tannin, hints of cured black olive skin, peppery spice, and a toasty smoke barrel finish. I'll try to think about that part tonight. I'll pair it with a dream about roast duck, perhaps. I really do dream about duck and wine. Yes, I sleep well.