Showing posts from March, 2010

Hanging with the devil at the 2010 World of Pinot Noir

Six years ago I posted a piece in Robin Garr’s entitled American Pinot Noirs at a Crossroads. I know I was thinking of Robert Johnson at the time – you know, the “King of the Delta Blues,” whose hellacious, rusted can bottom pipes on Cross Roads Blues can still grab you by the throat like a black hand reaching out from Hades (that same Johnson who reportedly sold his soul to the devil in order to become the world’s greatest blues musician).

Grower Dave Umino, in his vineyard in
Russian River Valley's Sebastopol Hills
What does this have to do with pinot noir and the price of cheese in China? Even back in 2004 I was getting that itchy-scratchy feeling at the back of my throat, thinking: how the hell did Americans suddenly get so genius with this grape? Good enough so that even the most Frenchified oenophiles would have to admit that they’re coming out as more than reasonable facsimiles of even the best Burgundies? Something, just twenty years ago, most of …