Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wine Noir - Warwick Valley and Standing Stone

I am a huge fan of film noir, while my wife refuses to watch anything made in black-and-white save Wizard of Oz. I am also a fan of Pinot Noir. Recently, I tasted some noir-ish new wines, and two stood out head and shoulders over the others.

Firstly, a 2003 Standing Stone Pinot Noir. I know, I am a sucker for Standing Stone. But I cannot help but gush over this exceptional new wine. It's a light bodied red. It's got nice cherry notes on the nose and on the palate. It starts off with bright fruit and a little blackberry/plum undertone. And then is a long, smooth finish with just a slight touch of pepper. No dry bite, like some over peppery Pinots. It's a nice smooth finish. An excellent wine. I cannot tell you enough how much I liked this wine.

The second wine I tried was the Warwick Valley Black Dirt Red. The wine is named for the black dirt fields surrounding the area between Vernon, New Jersey and Warwick, New York. I have been told that an actual border war, which drew blood,occured between New York and New Jersey natives over this very fertile farming district.

When I ralized it was a Baco Noir, I hesitated. Dominique and I are generally not Baco Noir fans. Now, I have not tasted the recent vintages of Benmarl's Baco Noir, which I have heard an awful lot about, and am dying to try. But I have not been able to get my hands on a bottle recently. Like many raised on French, Italian and West Coast wines, I too wrinkle my nose sometimes when confronted by a red hybrid. I do not have the same reaction to white hybrids, which I embrace enthusiastically.

So I poured a glass for Dominique, and myself and a friend of ours. The nose is perplexing, but eventually blackberry and currant start to come through. Then we swirled it around our glasses. The color and legs were very nice. Now came the big moment - the taste. I closed my eyes and thought of the empire. And I was pleasantly surprised. There was lots of cherry, dark cherry, and some blackberry and plum, and with a touch of pepper. It was bone dry and smooth. I was very happy. An exceptional Baco Noir! Excellent! And, at $8.99, it's the deal of the century. A great surprise. Go out and get a bottle, put on The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep, open up a bottle of either of these two wines, kick back with a romantic friend, and have yourself a noirish evening!