2012 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Bailey’s Brancifo

Thankfully, the finish is longer than the name.

Medium dark ruby color. The aromas offer black raspberries and some cherry, with hints of black pepper and thyme. This is a big wine on the palate, surprisingly mouth-coating, soft but harmonious. The texture is not what I expect from Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir but a pleasure. The flavors follow the aromas, with hints of both mineral and earth.
I love Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir, in part because of the conifer element I usually find. This does not have it. It is a big, bold wine (I’m questioning the 12.5% alcohol on the label, although it is not alcoholic on the palate). Not what I expected but a wonderful wine nonetheless; intense, balanced, striking. Does not need age to shed acidity or tannin, but just beginning to show secondary aromas and flavors. Rated 91.8 tonight, 2 - 3 points of improvement possible. I’m thinking this will peak in 3 – 5 years. I’m thinking I’m going to get a few more bottles and find out.

Dan Kravitz