We had our friends -- at least I HOPE they're still our friends* -- the Finleys over last night for roast prime rib and Pinot Noir night. We enjoyed two tremendous but very very different renditions of the grape.
2004 Cristom "Louise Vineyard" Willamette Valley (Oregon) PINOT NOIR -- This relatively light-colored wine was unbelievably complex and fragrant, with earthy, smoky, minerally sappy cherry flavors, full body, and a long soft finish. (Robert Finley said something something about eating chocolate-dipped cherries in a log-cabin hunting lodge sitting in front of a peat fire). If I were scoring, this would have been in the 92-95 range. For drinking over the next year.
2002 Daniel Bocquenet ECHEZEAUX (Burgundy, France) -- This wine was densely colored and very tightly-wound, with substantial structure for ageing. The nose developed and opened slowly over time, initially revealing a prominent menthol/eucalyptus component that stayed with the wine throughout the evening. But as it sat, tight fruity aromas of hard plum and cherry candy, and well as smoky/minerally scents emerged. Nice acid balance as well, which, together with the plentiful tannic structure, indicated to me that this wine needs (yes, needs) 5 more years at least in a cool cellar. I probably would have scored this somewhere in the 90+ to 91+ range.
* I say "hope" because I was in full argumentative mode the latter half of the dinner, which, um, detracted from the usual level of collegiality.