California Pinot Noir ranges from hefty, intense, and concentrated (and sometimes blowsy and overdone) to delicate and elegant (but sometimes simple and understated). This offering from Windrun is smack in the middle. Populist political activist Jim Hightower wrote a book entitled There’s Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Lines and Dead Armadillos. Caution and passivity won’t get it done if you’re a political operator. But in the wine world balance is everything and this wine, sourced from Edna Valley grapes, is well-balanced with not a hair out of place.
A lovely color—transparent ruby with copper notes. The medium intensity nose shows black and red cherry wrapped in allspice and soft vanilla lightly traced with hints of brown sugar and licorice. Herbal notes become more prominent with aeration. The palate is medium body with fruit and spice playfully vying for attention. Well integrated, refreshing acidity supports the persistent fruit flavors that carry all the way through the medium length finish which rests on exceedingly soft, refined tannins and intriguing chocolate notes that creep in at the end like an afterthought. The texture is pleasant but It doesn’t drape the palate with velvet like the best Pinots. This is not a big wine, not as concentrated as some Santa Barbara Pinots; but the finish is quite enjoyable.
I don’t have pricing information but previous vintages have been under $20. At that price point this is a excellent buy.
Windrun is a relatively new negociant—this appears to be their fourth vintage. The highly regarded Ken Brown, a pioneer of Pinot Noir on the Central Coast, consults on this project. Right now the Windrun is one among many quality Pinots from the area extending from the Southern Central Coast to Santa Barbara; it probably doesn’t stand out enough from the crowd to get noticed. But this may be a winery to watch.