2017 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir by Pali

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Huntingdon) by Pali Wine Company.

We’ve seen a few wines from Pali. Alphabets and Riviera most recently. Now the Huntington. All Pinot Noir. All very distinct and quite representative of their various appellations. All medium to light bodied. All on the nuanced side of the spectrum.

The Huntington is a bold departure from the bunch. This is a Big California Pinot. It is unapologetic, jammy, chewy. A full mouthfeel. A dark, spicy, tannic affair. This is a bit of an eyebrow raiser for a Pinot from Santa Barbara County. I suppose even a WineSnob needs a break from the sometimes dreary monotony and strained palate that constant subtlety and nuance can sometimes contrive.

So here we are. I am staring down the second half of this bottle a full day later. It is laughing at me. I folded in confusion last night. I went to bed not sure how I felt about it. I could not fault it either. Not sure what to think. I feel like I lost to this wine. Even now it pretends to be a little more approachable, but then laughs all the way through the finish. This Pinot will eat Napa Cabs for breakfast. I will lay down right next to a Syrah for 15 years and still chuckle at the irony.

Yeah yeah yeah, black currants are more pronounced a day later. Mineral leather too. It’s jammy but not sweet. It’s got big bold tannic structure, a basket-full of berries and an Indian kitchen’s worth of spices. But I feel like I’m still losing. I thought this was going to be another clean crisp “laydown” from Pali. I thought it would be another easy smooth pleaser. But Nooooo! This wine plays dirty. Really dirty.

Pick up a few bottles, lay them down for at least 5-10 more years. Let them mellow out. Taste the magic. You might have better luck taming it that I did last night. I’ll see you again in 2025 Pali Huntington.

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