Fowl Migration

What do you get when a big name Napa Valley winery, famous for its big and brawny merlot, takes wing and migrates North-Northwest to the Anderson Valley? Migration Pinot Noir! And if you can get past a glass or two, I think you’ll agree that this wine may be the merlot lover’s pinot noir all season long.

Migration shows big beet and pomegranate reds in the glass and to the nose sweet oak and black cherry fruit. The pinot fruit narrowly avoids being over-ripe and raisined (I thought Anderson Valley was famous for its cool climate?) while presenting a decidedly ripe perspective with black fruit dominating the palate. This, of course, is delivered in a sweet oak frame. I did find a pleasant cocoa quality beneath the surface of sweet vanilla and barrel char, but in the end felt that too much new oak was employed.

Upon tasting Migration the senses are apprehended: this wine is big, real big and dominates the palate with a rich and chewy fruit texture. The mouthfeel is very viscous, bordering on unctuous, and finishes with too much residual sugar to be enjoyed for more than the above mentioned couple of glasses. The little acid that this pinot does offer is buried beneath gobs of chewy fruit extract; I found this wine to be a poor choice for the dinner table.

While being opulent in style, this wine would perform well in a room crowded with food-friendly, lean pinots, for its heavyweight, rich mouthfeel commands one’s attention, but Migration would falter time and again during mealtime due to its cloying residual sugar and dearth of refreshing acidity. It reminded me of a half bottle of Duckhorn Merlot that I enjoyed by the fire during a weekend snowstorm after having dinner: big, chewy, oaky and warming. Yet, the Duckhorn had some great tannin and grip to stand up to its weight while this poor fowl is left stranded, weighed-down, with wings heavy from sticky fruit extract. Not recommended!

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