JCB number 3
1 wine, 1 winery
Here’s the plan: Take one really good wine, pour it over some really good palates, and then let everyone argue about just what it is they have tasted.
For this round we chose JCB No. 3, a mysterious pinot noir its maker, Jean-Charles Boisset, would only describe as a “very special surprise” until it came time to taste it. A French-American blend uniting grapes from the Sebastopol Hills and the Russian River Valley (60 percent), with Burgundian fruit from the Cote de Nuits (40 percent), the resulting wine, said Boisset, was “inspired by the birth of twins that bear the imprint of the Old World and the new. This wine celebrates a marriage of two wine worlds united to create a grander vision in which oceans may separate us, but wines unite us.”
The tasting panel was composed of professionals from Invino, the online wine service.
It’s really, really interesting, because it’s got some intense spice and fruit notes that really jump out at you, that to me talks about Sonoma Coast pinot, but it’s got a real different component down underneath it that really shows through, an earthiness that’s very Burgundian.
The spice notes are very distinctive, it has almost a feminine character to it, very spicy, very, very aromatic, it’s very well developed. It’s very silky, very smooth, there are no seams to it anywhere, it’s really beautifully done.
There’s just a purity about it. We taste an awful lot of pinot around here. And pinot is just all over the place. And when you get that combination of spice and fruit and depth and purity, and very distinctive complexities about the wine, that’s what makes good pinot.
This is wild berries and of course it’s got the fruity component that knocks your socks off in pinot noir, and then it also has that earthiness that Paul just mentioned that brings out that taste on a rainy day after the rain falls through a forest. It just has that nature component to it.
On the nose, it’s a unisex perfume that I think only Jean Paul Gaultier would make. I would wear this. I’m not saying that superficially, I really think it has both masculine and feminine appeal on the nose. The nose is so aromatic.
It’s got a gaminess to it too, a meatiness, almost like some charcuterie, it’s got that smokey, pepper, paprika note going on, almost like a good salami.
It just speaks to me of a big California coastal pinot noir, that’s made on a vineyard that actually sees some ocean.
If there’s a Burgundy in here, it has to be a vintage like ‘09, where it’s really forward, slutty almost, for Burgundy standards. That really speaks of terroir.
I actually think the fruit is understated a little bit, I get more terroir than fruit, I don’t get a nose full of fruit. I get a lot of forest floor, pine needle. It’s just fantastic.
You know, after I taste it the fruit comes out of the nose a lot more now. It’s silky smooth, it’s beautiful, it’s got a great finish, really well-balanced, nicely put together.
If you had to pin me down on this, I would say that it’s probably a Côtes de Nuits, premier cru or grand cru Burgundy. I wouldn’t say that it’s a California wine.
It smells like a Burgundy and actually drinks a little more like a California…I could almost see it being an Anderson Valley pinot, the silkiness, I don’t think you get that silkiness out of the Sonoma Coast.
It’s transgender. I would say it’s a really expensive silk or velvet that just glides over your palate. Finishes with fruit and a little hint of spice. With the nose, I really agree with Tony, it’s that beautiful turned earth that you get from a pinot.
I would agree with all around, (I always agree with everyone), but I would say that it is tasty and silky and seamless, and to dissect it any further does it a disservice.
From the 2012 Fall issue of SONOMA