Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir 2005

One smell of this and whoa, you’re in California. This doesn’t come across anywhere near as lean and means as Burgundy or Oregon: instead, you’re in distinctly warmer territory here. I can’t quite put that smell into words, but sometimes you smell a pinot and it just isn’t delicate; there’s a hint of varnish hovering over the full, red fruitiness.There’s a distinct earthiness or sappiness here as well, though, so it isn’t all shiny happy berries, which is a relief. There seems to be a dark, bitter chocolate note there as well, so I’m guessing this stuff has seen a fair whack of oak at some point.In the mouth, though, the wine is surprising: nimble and light on its feet, avoiding any sense of stewed fruit or overripeness. The flavor profile isn’t at all what I was expecting, tending towards the fairly sour with a fleshy midpalate, tasting largely of dusty leather, pipe tobacco, and sour raspberry jam. The finish is slightly overly acidic for my liking, but of course all that means is that you’d best drink this one with charcuterie; by itself, it seems just a bit incomplete, but it does offer up a wide range of flavors ranging from standard Pinot all the way through to earthy sap. For my money, this isn’t really a match for Oregon pinot or Burgundy – it’s just a bit too big and top-heavy in some way – but it’s a very fine example of Sonoma pinot noir and easily holds its own with some of the classic, e.g. Gary Farrell. Price-wise it’s fairly priced, too, which is unusual for this part of the state. Oddly enough the wine it reminds me most of is Bass Philips, albeit in kind of a cartoony way – this isn’t anywhere near the wine that is, but it has a similar fullness of profile, I reckon.Gundlach Bundschu
Price: $35
Closure: Cork

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