I had an excellent California Pinot Noir last week at Comme Ça restaurant in West Hollywood on the recommendation of the sommelier, Rory Harrington. The 2005 Ambullneo Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley was rich and luscious, with loads of ripe strawberry, light earth character and hints of smoky oak. Yet it was balanced and impressive. I gave it 91 points, non-blind. It was great with my red wine-braised bit of beef with carrots and horseradish mash. Comme Ça has excellent, sophisticated Paris-style bistro food. I always try to go there when I am in L.A.
But something struck me as I was digging into the rich, juicy beef and downing the Cali Pinot Noir. I read the back label and almost fell out of my chair. It seemed a little pretentious, to say the least, for the small winery of Ambullneo. Here is what it reads:
"(Blend) My personal favorite definition is, (To pass imperceptibly into one another; (Harmonize)).
At Ambullneo Vineyards our philosophy is to (Blend), and not to be site specific. We enhance the quality of every vintage, instead of being at the mercy of a single vineyard. There is no argument that great vineyards make great wine! However, if you could blend several great vineyards together would this make a unique wine of exceptional character? What if Burgundy blended La Tâche, Musigny and Chambertin? Something to think about? Greg"
It certainly is something to think about. I am not so sure that it would be a great idea to blend the wines of three of the greatest grand cru vineyards of Burgundy. In fact, it would be a great waste. And I am not sure Ambullnoo's blended Pinot Noir from Solomon Hills Vineyard, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Laetitia Vineyard, and Rimrock Vineyard grapes are quite at the same level either. It's like comparing apples and (canned) oranges.
Anyway, I found the back label amusing and slightly irritating at the same time. At least the wine was outstanding, the company entertaining, and the meal excellent.