Big Pinot

loring_wine_11310_m I never got the big pinot thing. Happily, it seems now that the pendulum is swinging the other way, best of all, it's back to my side. My biggest complaint about the point-driven fad for big pinot is that they really had no reason to exist. If you wanted a big wine there were varieties out there that could handle the job with more elan. If you want big drink syrah or zinfandel, which excel at the task, not super-charged pinot that is barely holding itself together as a wine.

Oddly enough I seem to have a new teammate in this struggle against goopy pinot noir. The odd part is that it is winemaker Brian Loring, the "poster boy" of big pinot. On a recent thread on Wine Therapy, winemaker Loring makes the following statement, "While I was the poster boy for "the darker side" of Pinot Noir... I'm happier now making wines that are in the mid 14s (alcohol) and have enough acid to live at least 3 or 4 years in bottle. I'm done with the "dry port" style... that just turns to prune juice after 3 years."

I applaud Brian for his guts and honesty. This is an almost unbelievable statement for a winemaker to make these days and only someone of great passion would take the risk. I can't wait to try some of his new wines.

While this is a testament to Brian's integrity and devotion to winemaking, it is a strong indictment against those wine writers who gave 90+ score-after-score to wines, which in Brian's own words, "that just turns to prune juice after 3 years". I can't fault Brian for this as he was doing what he truly believed in and when he found it was the wrong path changed directions. As in all art, not everything works. However, the so called expert critics should have known better. Once again reviews provided by "sixty second tasters" fail the consumer.

With all varieties there will be excellent wines made that range from robust to delicate. However, wines that are over-the-top should be easily recognized by any critic worth following.