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Wines of Proportion and Grace

By John F. Slater V 8 months ago No comments

Full Definition of graceful. : displaying grace in form or action : pleasing or attractive in line, proportion, or movement.

adjective. 1. characterized by elegance or beauty of form, manner, movement, or speech; elegant:

Graceful, is the word that came to mind when I drank the Longoria wines. In an era, when power equates quality, grace is a lost virtue.

Let me begin by saying I am not a fan of most Santa Rita Hills Pinots. To me, they are too dense. They lack elegance and yes, grace. I have a good friend, who was a wine maker from one of the top Santa Rita Hills Pinot producers. I have told him many a times his Pinot are too much like syrah for my taste. The wines from Rick Longoria fall out of this stylistic trap. They are wines of proportion and grace.

The Cuvee Diana Chardonnay is a wine that begins with a zing of acidity, it brightens the palate. The wine fills out mid-palate. Flavors of baked apple and spice crisscross the palate. The finish is long, with the oak coming. The oak manifests itself as a toasty flavor, not an oaky flavor.

Lovely Rita Pinot Noir lives up to her name. Looking at the color of this wine, I could see it was something different from its neighbors. It was translucent, as opposed to opaque. The aroma of red cherries drifted up from the glass. In the mouth, it was soft and flavorful. The cherries were there and so were some spices. Though, I hate the Burgundy/California comparisons, I have said, in the past, this wine could pass for a very good village Vosne Romnee.

The Fe Ciega is a wine with more weight, but also more complexity. It is a bit darker in color. The nose has a combination of cherries, raspberries and spice. For me, the spice is of the coriander varietal. Drinking the wine, you notice, it is a wine of substance, of size, but not of extraction. All of the fruit aromas have transferred to the palate. It is full, yet supple. The structure of the wine, is rounded off by the fruit. The wine drinks now with a certain hedonistic pleasure. But give it a little time to uncoil, and when it does, it will be a world class Pinot Noir.

In order to further my research on Longoria, I went to the cellar and opened my last bottles of 1996 Longoria Bien Nacido Pinot Noir. Though from a different appellation, it shows the wine making style. I would say this wine has aged gracefully. What is it to age gracefully? It is to retain some of the beauty of youth, but also to except the vestiges of time.

The wine is still pleasingly full of fruit. Maybe a bit darker berries than the Santa Rita bottling. The texture is still lithe. It has a bit more earthy tones as one would expect with age. At 20 years of age it is still dinking beautifully. I am just a bit remorseful that it is my last bottle.

I wish there were more producers who created wines of grace and not just of power.

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