08 Beringer, California Collection California (Since 1876) Pinot Noir
I shouldn't even write this. As regular readers of this wine blog know, I'm going to use some form of the word "terrible" pretty soon. I choose the adverb. Because this pinot noir, this pinot, this Cali pinot is terribly good. Terribly delicious. Yes, it's terribly true. Clearly, it's never read the blogs. If it had, it would know that none of us care about this winery. Why should we? With such a heavy corporate veneer surrounding what very well might be some decent wines, they make themselves tough to get to know. It's like having lunch with your history teacher. But that's exactly why I had to write this. I'm doing it because I know there's a decent vintner out there--maybe stored in an iron maiden during the growing season, but he's out there none the less--and Beringer seems hell bent on never letting him out. Selling us, instead, strange, clip art memories that none of us actually have. Memories about wines that are "handcrafted to deliver the outstanding quality and rich flavors that are hallmarks of the Beringer winemaking team." Oh yeah. I love me some hallmarks. And, if you don't, maybe you're more of "a youthful exuberance" kind of person. You know, someone who likes wines "that appeal to anyone looking for an easy-drinking wine that pairs well with a variety of foods." You are, "anyone" aren't you? Someone who eats a "variety of foods." Lose your inane corporate market team, Beringer, or let them drink some freaking wine during the day. Because, while you'd love to have this image of being something special, revered--I don't know, whatever strange pomp that cult of old, rich people adore--truth is, you're actually making good, people's wine. Wines that people pick up at the liquor store on their way to a BYOB, feverishly scratching off the pricetag on the sidewalk. Hip people. Who aren't looking for a timeshare in Boca Raton. It's pinot anyone can understand and enjoy. One full of a ripe black cherry flavor that, well, yes, as you say would go with a "variety of foods." It's exactly what the baseline of American pinot noir needs to be, very fruity, silky with no noticeable alcohol, just a hint of structure. But to be honest with you, I don't want to say too much. Once I hit Publish, this is all in the public domain. And I've got no intention of ending up on a bottle of one of these, or on that ridiculous website. Let's just say we got lucky. Not that the wine is particularly good or bad, but that the promise of good wine can make some people whole. Make them go outside the bounds of their business plans (a wine this good does, after all, mess up the whole "tier" sales structure). Turn them into pretty decent winemakers after all. And, one hopes, terrible employees.