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July 29, 2009

08 Pepperwood Grove, Valle Central Pinot Noir

It tasted like a science experiment, so I thought I'd run my own tests. This is the taste that made me hate wine when I first tried it thousands of gallons ago. Sharp, acidic, alcoholic--it tastes so damn adult, like something they brought out at the big table over Thanksgiving. We weren't supposed to touch it, but the truth is, nor was anyone else. They took it in out of ritual, a little like communion wine. Or placenta. Problem wasn't the wine, though--it was that horrible air of respect. That defensive notion that we should revere what we don't understand, respect it, and, well, swallow. But you could've felt the same way about gin before mixing it with an olive, vermouth, and ice. Or green coffee beans before roasting them and steeping them in water. This isn't a wine, it's an important part of wine, and in that way closer to grape must than what we know as pinot noir. So it's incomplete, which I guess means buying it is like taking your son to Pizza Hut for getting a C in gym. Well, I found the strength shoes that make junk pinot noir a rose by any other name: grenadine (which, of course, you have on hand to make Heineken Monacos on weekends), a drop of which transforms this cheap, acetic pinot noir into nothing short of Oregon terroir. I've gone too far. But the next time you end up with a pinot this disappointing, add a little grenadine, which immediately adds the oily raspberry and pomegranate flavor you usually pay another $20 for. Seems unfair. I'm sure I could throw a little free-trade vanilla extract to this and end up with Sea Smoke. But what's amazing about the grenadine is that it doesn't sit on top. It fills in all the gaps, instead, even adding enough body and aroma to make you double-take on the bottle. Your takeaway isn't this discovery though, as handy as the tip may be. Instead, I want you to leave thinking what would drive me to do something like this. Dissect the meaning of "bad wine." Is it worse to be so bad you dump it down the drain, or feel so much pity that you find a need to fix it? My stomach's happy. Stupid tongue doesn't know any better. But, my do I feel so sad. This post is over. It's time to call my mother. See if she needs anything. Maybe I should come over this weekend.


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