Best of the Wednesday Tasting

Best of the Wednesday Tasting

Posted on Mar, 28. 2010 by

Categories: Events, Wine

Free Run is one of my favorite tiny distributorships in the state – I love the freedom and the purity that comes from being able to simply follow your vision rather than be tied to the whole brand-name structure. Of course, you’re limited to what the bigger guys haven’t already snatched up, but oftentimes, the reason they haven’t is that they don’t have the freedom to take a chance on something like, for instance, Biggio Hamina. That having been said, my favorites from last week’s tasting are:

2007 Biggio Hamina Pinot Noir – Oregon
Retail price before [member discount|Our members save an average of 25% off the normal retail prices. As a courtesy to the retail wine industry we do not publish our prices.] $27.00 • Buy this wine!

2007 Biggio Hamina Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard – Oregon
Retail price before [member discount|Our members save an average of 25% off the normal retail prices. As a courtesy to the retail wine industry we do not publish our prices.] $34.50 • Buy this wine!

These were both memorable in their own rite, but I’m including them together because the commonalities are such that the fall into the same category…and the Momtazi is really worth the extra few bucks if you’re into this sort of wine. And that sort of wine is an electric, wild style of Pinot that is about the fruit and the terroir and the bugs and wild yeast, rather than how much oak and chemical additives a winemaker needs to add in order to turn juice into good wine. It reminds me of spontaneously fermented beers from Belgium, wild yeast, tremendous shivering acidity, and a sort of “backwoods” feel that you don’t see often enough. There’s still enough west-coast-Pinot sap in both of them to save it from being biting or sour, but there’s virtually no oak treatment and no chemical additions or fining/filtering. It’s an extraordinarily pure wine…pure without being one-noted or boring. It’s certainly missing the nobility and grace of Burgundy, but sometimes you have to peel yourself away from that mantra and just experience what is a much more earthen, peasant wine. I’m a fan – and really the Momtazi is just the regular Pinot on steroids. If this is your style, then, like I said, it’s certainly worth keeping some of it around.

2006 Rim Rock Chardonnay – Washington
Retail price before [member discount|Our members save an average of 25% off the normal retail prices. As a courtesy to the retail wine industry we do not publish our prices.] $10.00 • Buy this wine!

Bright, beautiful, flawless, not-overly-oaky chard for under 8 bucks. I don’t really know if there’s much more I can say. This is a clean, pristine, example of the grape, not quite the oak of Cali or the class or energy of Chablis, but very much a great compromise between the two. Not boring like the trendy “unoaked Chard” that has been pouring out of Oz and South America, but it’s not going to blow your mind either. It’s just very solid juice for a pittance…something that is perfect to keep around for those summertime parties.

2005 Camplazens “Serendipity” Syrah – VDP L’Aude
Retail price before [member discount|Our members save an average of 25% off the normal retail prices. As a courtesy to the retail wine industry we do not publish our prices.] $13.00 • Buy this wine!

I love this stuff simply because I think it tells a story of what Free Run is about. It’s not your typical Syrah (reminds me more of a spicy Grenache), but it has soul. Plenty of spice, bramble, and jam, and great earthiness and minerality. But again, what I keep getting from their wines is a general aura of electricity. Maybe it’s John Paul’s palate, or just the direction of their target market, but they are nothing if not unique. This one, at under 10 bucks, just screams for summertime barbecues…grilled lamb, perhaps? It’s got that slightly gamy character with pleasant notes of garrigues finishing it up…perfect for whatever grilled red meat (with an herb rub, of course) you’ve got on hand. Nice palate-coating texture without being overbearing, too. Reminds me somewhat of Gauby (if you remember Gauby) but without the ever-rising price tag.

Thanks again to everyone who came out on St. Paddy’s Day, and I hope I’ll see you guys this Wednesday for our special 5th Wednesday tasting.

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