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windrun santa rita hillsThe Pinot wars are still with us with California bold fighting Burgundian finesse, stereotypes to be sure but true enough to make a good story. The Santa Barbara négociant Windrun gives aid and comfort to both sides. Their slender Santa Barbara 2013 was the picture of Burgundian elegance; this offering sourced from the Lafond vineyard in the Santa Ynez valley is bold and savory.

Ripe black cherry with faint caramel notes in the upper register; a stealthy influx of sage and earth tones creep in with some aeration. The oak presence is persistent but subdued and is already nicely integrated, thankfully showing no vanilla, a testament to aging in large neutral oak barrels. When poking about for subtle aromas I found myself fighting the alcohol on the nose but this is not a wine for persnickety sniffing.

In the mouth it’s manly with plenty of midpalate density, and almost full bodied. Vibrant dark fruit rests on a structured frame, a surface texture of velvet cloaking an anvil, too sturdy to be called lush. The tannins are well-handled, firm but not astringent giving space for the fruit to mount a tenacious, mouthwatering finish, with lingering autumnal after flavors and great length. What it lacks in finesse it makes up for with an enchanting evolution on the palate. The finish has some Wow! factor.

Despite all this these lusty components the wine is not at all aggressive. Balanced and integrated, it is neither beast nor beauty, think Jason Bourne, quiet, understated, but tautly coiled for action with a latent power focused on the end-game.

It has has already come together and is ready to drink although I suspect it has the stuffing to age well. A perfect wine for hearty, fall stews.

Pair with one of the sturdiest bands of the 1970’s, a very good live cut of “The Boys are Back in Town”

Score: 92

Price: $30

Alc: 14.3%

Review based on an industry sample