Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Casarsa Pinot Noir

Can we talk?  You and I both know that cheap red jug wines are not actually good wine but sometimes they're all you need with your burger, cold cuts, or whatever.  That's just reality, right?

Flash back thirty years or so ago when "Ziggy" was a pretty good comic strip about a little round-headed loser who couldn't catch a break in any one of its one-frame installments.  One of my favorites depicted Ziggy sitting at a white table cloth restaurant with his meal before him and the snotty waiter filling his glass and sneering, "This should be perfect with your corned beef hash, Sir."  My response, if it was me, would be, "Yes, it should be fine, thank you.  Now get out of my face."  But I digress...

So the title of this post is Casarsa Pinot Noir, a cheap red Italian jug wine, we have been selling enthusiastically and with great success this year.  Why?  Because it's good, even though we just said above that such wines are not actually good.  This now goes to the subject of Pinot Noir and how an inferior jug red can actually be good because it is Pinot Noir, which is oh so counterintuitive because everyone knows you have to spend big bucks to get really good Pinot.  And if we haven't hopelessly confused you with this subject by now then let's daringly move forward.

Pinot Noir is really a wine wholly different from all others.  All other international wine varieties are mass marketed after a model that the market has established as the paradigm for all others.  So if you pick up a Cabernet from your local merchant, you expect to enjoy that familiar Cabernet-like flavor.  Zinfandel, the same.  Merlot. Whatever.  Pinot Noir though is different.  If what you notice with your first swig of a new Pinot is that it tastes like Pinot Noir, that should leave you wanting more.  Tasting like the grape variety the wine is made from is just not good enough with Pinot Noir.  You see, good Pinot Noir improves in the glass and not only is that a rare feat for other types, but within the category, few Pinots actually accomplish the kind of transcendence we're talking about...which makes it a very frustrating wine to enjoy indeed.

It's kind of like a Thelonious Monk jazz number.  Monk would construct a piece around a mere fragment of a melody and then dissolve that melody collaboratively through improvisations with his supporting musicians into something wholly other.  Pinot is capable of a similar kind of magic...but, in reality, rarely.  Casarsa is actually a pretty basic red jug wine but with a caveat: the wine improves just enough in the glass to make a wine newby rethink what wine enjoyment is actually all about...and enough to remind an old codger why we got into this pursuit in the first place. 

This Friday between 5 and 8pm, Ted Fields of Domaine Wine Distributors will pour tastes of his fine Italian and French portfolio as his business partner, Chef Andrew Tokas, mans the cheese table, pairing each wine with the appropriate cheese.  Please join us for that special event.  And, for gosh sakes, become a follower of this blog so I don't end up having to live under a bridge someplace. (That didn't make sense, I know.)

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