2016 Cuveé E Pinot noir

EIEIO Saffron Fields Vineyard Chardonnay

$40

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Purely Domestic Wine Report: 93 points

The nose is a pure red berry, violet and cherry with hints of tobacco. The palate is a pure bright and juicy black fruit with some tealike dryness on the finish. Drink 2018 2026.” – 93 points

Jay’s Tasting Notes

The Process: In this vintage, all of the fermentations stayed cool and conversion lasted a good 20-24 days. When completely dry, the free run was drained by gravity for settling over a two week period before being moved by gravity into French oak barrels.

This wine is offering up everything! I attribute this to the open top fermentations allowing for any kind of flora to find its way into the fermentation.

The Cuvée E evolved in approximately 15 percent new French oak with the other 85 percent French oak barrels being neutral, having been used for at least five years prior. This wine evolved in the barrel without any movement or introductions of outside influences other than Mother Nature. Letting the wine mature for over 20 months in-barrel allows for the softening of tannins and the evolution of more interesting flavor compounds. I think this might be one of the main reason this wine is so good. Most “entry level” wines only see 8 to 10 months of barrel aging as time, and barrels are costly.

The Wine: Aromas initially are muted so I recommend decanting vigorously into a large vessel with ample surface area. Set this aside with a cover for half an hour.

Pouring a glass shows the nose full present with typical red and black cherries, dusty roses, hot concrete after a warm rain, and dried plums.

Entry is big with loads of almost Barolo-like flavors such as stone fruit skin and the plum meat near the seed, a real aggressive intensity of flavors. Even some fresh Thai Basil shows through in more of an anise-like flavor. These flavors are usually a sign of potential longevity in a New World Pinot noir.

Ample mouthfeel with more flavors exploding with the introduction of warmer temperatures. Blackberries on chocolate bark with almonds. Roasted plums, on cinnamon toast, as if you made a Tarte Tatin with El Dorado plums in place of apples.

Letting the wine open up more with time an interesting umeboshi, or Japanese salt pickled preserved plum flavor is painfully apparent. Salty Danish licorice with chanterelles shows up next, a strangely interesting combination.

Finish is something which not only changes with exposure to air but also is one of the longest finishes of any of my wines, which proves that at times blends ARE better than single vineyard wines.