1983 Joseph Swan Northern Sonoma Pinot

I purchased this bottle from this offering:


Let’s start with this - I’m generally not a fan of domestic pinot, finding too many examples that hit my palate like what I call strawberry soda pop, and without the earth and spice I dig in red Burgundy.

That said, this bottle, full of grapes that were picked as I was starting my senior year of high school, disappointed that my Whitey and Ozzie-led Cardinals were not defending their first WS title in 15 years, is quite nice.

Is it past peak? Probably. I don’t know what it tasted like at 15 or 20 or even 30. Is it life-changingly great so you should drop everything and pay DRC level prices to acquire any bottles you can? No.

But it’s a nice drink, certainly still identifiably pinot (always easy to say when not tasting blind) and more in the black cherry than strawberry part of the spectrum. Swan is one of those OG California producers that I never bought back in the day, due in part to being too young (for the 1983s, for example) and in part to unknown reasons back when I was first buying wine in the ‘90s, so it’s great to have a chance now to take a peek back in time.

It was especially nice to open this the night after opening a 1993 Ravenswood, given that Joel got his start following Joe around with open eyes and open ears.



Super nice!

Dave - great story/tasting note - thanks!