05 Soter Vineyards, Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District Mineral Springs Vineyard
I remember my first Italian beef sandwich. Not because it had anything to do with culture or the aura of Chicago street food. It was the first thing I ever bought myself, with a few weeks worth of the pocket change and gum wrappers immigrant parents called an allowance in the 80s. I'd never forget the taste, but really it was the royal power I felt--8-year-old kid pressed back in the formica booth, hot, salty, and dripping jus. Everybody eats Italian beef, but I felt like I'd discovered something that would one day be named after me. So maybe Tony Soter will one day rename himself 750 mL. Or, I'll name my firstborn Mineral Springs. I felt like standing on my tiptoes while I drank this wine. Shifting my voice down an octave. Sinking my head down so you can't see the youth in my eyes. This is Oregon pinot noir all grown up. Or maybe it's Richebourg. The most wonderful incarnation--lush and loving with sweet black cherry fruit that made the hair on my arms stand up; a round, sappy texture; and a bouquet that smells something like a mix between pomegranate sweet tea, carnations, white roses, and a marriage proposal. I bought this for myself. With money I saved. And that means no one can take it from me. And I don't have to wipe the drippings from my chin or the ones sliding down to my elbow. At least not until I get home and mom asks, what's that smell?