Kindred Spirits

Vermont is a special place. I’ve now lived in her neighbor to the east for nearly 10 years and still continue to discover treasures hidden in her interior. From gourmet restaurants to world-class cheeses, Vermont has much to offer the wandering gourmand. For example, I recently discovered this unassuming bottle of Schug Pinot Noir as I stopped into the Woodstock Farmers’ Market, a food-lover’s oasis introduced to me by a dear friend many years ago. I was told by the store’s wine-buyer that it wasn’t the winery’s “high-end” Carneros bottling but that it was good all the same. I took her word for it. Somehow it does seems fitting that a small Sonoma producer dedicated to pinot noir should get such good exposure in this kindred corner of the country. Vermont is just that sort of place.

2004 Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was medium beet-red and transparent in the glass. Scents of strawberry, raspberry and wild blueberry preserves greeted the nose with no alcohol sting whatsoever. This pinot seemed dusty, presenting light leaf, soil and Asian spice, and with its light to medium texture was perfectly suited to the dinner table. I was awestruck by how this pinot was so immediately intriguing! As oak played such a small role in its background, savory spice and true pinot fruit were here presented center stage. In short, Schug Sonoma Coast pinot was remarkable for its balance, being both simple and pure, and was engaging with its honest fruit quality from the outset.

It’s rare for me that something so unexpected excites so completely. This wine was exciting not for being big and powerful, possessing neither of these qualities, but was remarkable for its aromatic nuance and purity of flavor. It drank like REAL GOOD village-level Burgundy (at half the price no less)! In short: buy much, drink often, and hoard this wine! Highly recommended!

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