04 Chehalem, Pinot Noir 3 Vineyard
If Sideways had gotten a hold of a wine like this, the tasting rooms in Santa Barbara might be empty right now. But to say that's because of its balance--well, that just seems crazy. The way this 3 Vineyard packs it in, though, the wine should be described in no other way. You'd expect the chocolately black cherry bourbon of Stoller vineyard to dominate, and it does, until the sweeping taste of blackberries and aromatic white mushrooms takes over, like the concentrated North Burgundian notes of Ridgecrest. The wine seems to finish with fine, spicy tannin reminiscent of the Corral vineyard pinot that closes out this blend, until sweet blueberry, dried cranberry, and strawberry jam stretch it out for minutes on end. It's the most attention-grabbing Chehalem I've had so far--one that competes, in its class, with the wines from Bergstrom, Beaux Freres, and, yes, even Sanford. Maybe they'll make a sequel.