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windrun chardonnayOvid, the great poet of Latin literature wrote “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow”.

Delicacy in wine is similarly fragile. It can be destroyed by excessive ripeness, too much oak, stray oxygen molecules, or chemical manipulation. In fact, in our age of big and bold, delicacy is a rare treat. These two wines from Windrun appear as delicate as a bee wing belying a firm foundation.

The Pinot Noir offers a sheen of floral aromas with unusual mint highlights  mingling with a blend of maraschino and darker cherries. Hints of tea, spice, and hazelnut  play in the background indicating a light Buddha’s touch with the oak. (It is aged in new and used French and American  oak  for 6 months) Not aromatically intense, but subtle and complex, this is a wine to explore. It you swill it you will miss what it has to offer. Dry and slender on the palate, leaving cranberry and rose water impressions, it has balanced acidity and very fine tannins that have surprising persistence. Absolutely fresh and mouth watering—a gossamer robe over sinewy structure.

Stylistically this falls between three stools: More complexity than the pure fruit expression of New Zealand, but without the earthiness and grip of Burgundian Pinot Noir, and certainly avoiding the brawn and bluster of most California samples, Windrun has found its own niche.  A really unique expression of California Pinot Noir. In my judgment that is worth a couple points.

The Chardonnay is very pretty and accessible. Light straw in color, pear, mango, and ginger aromas meld with a stealthy incursion of buttered popcorn, all providing contrast to the wet-stone minerality that leaps from the glass. Crisp and dry on the palate but with pleasing viscosity, the soft, ingratiating acidity announces the medium length finish with a bitter herb note lending interest. One of the new breed of California Chardonnays throwing off their heavily oaked past. Only 50% of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation, and it is aged in large, neutral barrels preserving freshness.

Both wines have the character of paradox—delicacy and solidity. And isn’t it paradox that makes wine interesting?

Pinot Noir:

Score: 90

Price: $20

Alc: 14.1%

Chardonnay:

Score:  88

Price: $15

Alc: 13.8%

No one exhibits the paradox of delicacy and solidity better than Joanna Newsome.

Review based on industry samples