The keynote of the weekend was Burgundy, but the wines were not from France, and only one was made of Pinot Noir. Both hail from California, and exhibit deft winemaking that lets the fruit stand forward against a shimmering scrim of herbs, earth, and metal. Both are highly recommended.
Limpid light red in color, so light it might be a deeply tinted rosé. Wildly aromatic, it offers a heady perfume of beach rose, ripe tomato, sweet pink flowers, almost-mint, and lavender leaf. Light-bodied and finely textured on the palate, it yields notes of bright ripe berry fruit and fresh acidity. Lean and almost steely on the finish, it's a Grenache with its head in California and its feet in Burgundy. It resonates like a struck bell.
Pale garnet red, the wine is faint and a little dusty at first, emerging slowly. Soon there is earth and iron, almost blood, and now there are resinous herbs, too, with a woodsy sous-bois note below. Austere and chiseled on the palate, it offers flavors of griotte cherry, lean red fruits, and pomegranate. Cooling, serene, and all together, this wine is beautifully integrated, and the finish is long. A gorgeous, Burgundian Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County, absolutely exquisite—and one heck of a deal at $30.