How to escape winter in Detroit? You could go south. You could indulge escapist vices, like beer and Keno. Or you could drink a bottle of Bir-i-chino – Pinot Noir – from California.
Damn. I should love this wine. Also, it’s from California, so I should hate this wine, etc.
My first bottle was with Messrs. Mancini and Stanford during a damn polar vortex. It was dark out because it always is. I thought the wine was tart, a nice balance to the bitter fucking air outside, or so I thought at least until I pulled out the card called “every damn wine in California is acidified.” I drink again. I taste. Either we love the taste of chewable aspirin or else this is the only way to bring wines remotely into balance in that god forsaken state.
Cheap was the taste, not the price.
Pissed off, I wanted to rant about Birichino and their damn branding – St. Georges, please. But then I thought, I have no idea who might eventually read this bloast™. I should be fair, both to the wine and its producers as well as my imaginary readership.
So I tried another bottle. This time with Ms. Williams during daylight hours at a coffee shop. As you might have guessed, now the wine was terrific.
The first thing we should assume is that I – your blogger – am not a reliable witness. A wine is assumed to be a collection of homeostatic molecules relative, let’s say, to a living monkey like me. Maybe daylight and a woman’s company completely alter my impressionable palate.
The wine was now Beaujolais-inspired cherry pit arsenic. Still relentlessly Pinot Noir scented, which is an accomplishment for any varietal. And later, after a third encounter with this wine, Mr. Shaouni made specific reference to Beaujolais, so I know I’m not crazy.
And dammit, there is indeed a subtle distant flavor of jalapeño peppers, just on the trailing edge of the finish, just to prove Santa Cruz terroir is present.
I have no idea if the folks at Birichino acidify their wine. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they should do it more aggressively. I expect the decision is dictated by the nature of the fruit, and the sources for this seem to have much merit.
I would not serve this wine with kale salad – it would only be a waste of nuance in wine. I would however gladly suggest a pairing with whole trout – complete with cheeks – like they make it at Craft Work.*
*Sorry Craft Work friends. I don’t mean to keep singling out your wonderful trout entree. I just can’t help it.