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PAUL LATO PINOT NOIR "THE CONTENDER", DRUM CANYON VINEYARD, STA. RITA HILLS 2016
NVWE Notes: If clearly built for cellaring, this wine is already gorgeous and showcases Paul’s gift for bringing “cuddliness” to the most majestic fruit. The savory-drenched nose reveals an even richer fruit core as it airs, so its rich mother-lode of Amarena cherry, Maraschino cherry, Elephant Heart plum, Santa Rosa plum and lingonberry proves more than a match for the cascade of sumac berry, pink peppercorn, celery seed, star anise, sandalwood, nutmeg and hazelnut husk than accompanies it. On the palate it proves tongue-coating, flavor-packed, juicy-rich, structured and super-long. Never less than impressive, it ends with a flourish of Amarena cherry jam, pomegranate, lingonberry, Elephant Heart plum, strawberry-rhubarb pie, crushed red rose, white tea, cinnamon stick, mace, celery seed and nut husk flavors. Certainly four to six years from its peak, it will be worth the wait.