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PAUL LATO PINOT NOIR "THE CONTENDER", DRUM CANYON VINEYARD, STA. RITA HILLS 2015
NVWE Notes: If less powerful and “age-needy” than the grandiose 2014 Contender, the 2015 follows that wine’s flavor profile. The nose, initially plump and a bit broad, gains clarity and elegance with airing, to unveil aromas of Bing cherry, black cherry, ripe red plum, whortleberry, sumac, red rose, pink peppercorn, caramel and a hint of cardamom. Nut husk and cherry pit notes bring a bitter-sweet element to the palate, while Bing cherry, Amarena cherry jam, red plum galette, raspberry cobbler, pencil shaving and hazelnut flavors provide richness. The finish is long, bright, palate-coating and firm, with a burst of pomegranate, sour cherry and cherry pit at the end. It should grow ever more stylish over the next several years.