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dierberg pinotWhen it is right there is no finer wine than a Pinot Noir but it’s hard to find one that ticks all the boxes. This one does. It is an aging beauty at the peak of its perfection.

Ripe strawberry jam, chocolate, and smoke-tinged mushroom are the dominant aromas, with a hint of barnyard, wisps of mint and the vestiges of vanilla playing minor roles.

On the palate, the initial impact is gentle but with an underlying, ingratiating richness that wins you over immediately . It acquires dimension midpalate as cola notes become more forceful, but then finishes with the texture of cashmere, the tannins now so delicately woven they’re but a spectral presence. Yet, the finish is surprisingly long given how softly the tannins and acidity sing in melodious rhyme.

Wu Wei, the Confucian term translated as “effortless action” describes the languor and ease of this wine.

It’s another data point in the debate over whether ripe California Pinot Noir will age well. When it was young I thought it was a bit over-ripe and I laid it down as an afterthought. But that ripeness has now become an asset contributing to its pliable tenderness.

Score: 94

Price: $42 at release

Alc: 14.1%

Neither bright nor crisp , it has a slow bluesy vibe like this Ellington/Strayhorn tune performed by Allen Toussaint