2014 Pinot Noir
Much has been written about the mystery of Pinot noir and I think it is associated with the quest to make a wine with lots of flavor while still keeping the requirement of not being a heavy wine. These two things seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, so it requires a special site to get the flavor without getting the high sugars and hence high alcohols. I think that this happens when Pinot is grown in cool climates and where there is a long period of time for the grapes to develop flavor. Griffin’s Lair has the advantage of a warm winter as it sits so close to the San Francisco bay and this means that the vines get an early start in the season. The proximity to the bay also means that it doesn’t get very hot in Summer (vines shut down when it gets too hot so as to protect from excessive water loss) so that they ripen over a particularly long season. Thus we get the flavors we want while still keeping the wine at a reasonable alcohol level.
I find this 2014 version a little softer and richer than the 2013 and this makes it very easy to enjoy. While it is so enjoyable now, I still think it has the balance to continue to improve for another 3-5 years. A wine to have with lighter chicken dishes or grilled salmon.
What is interesting is that soon after bottling I liked it much more in the “Pinot noir” glass that has the bigger bowl than in the smaller glass that I use in the tasting room. I never believed that the glass made a difference when I first got into winemaking, as long as it was a nice glass, but lots of my “research” has convinced me that shape matters. Try this some time, I think you might be surprised!