Some wines seem a bit shy at first, unwilling to fully reveal themselves – at least on the nose. Take the 2014 Pinot Noir from Kori. The aromas hint at cherries in an orchard nearing peak ripeness, as well as strawberry plants packed in compost. It’s pleasantly bucolic, with a promise of fresh fruit in tandem with an earthy musk. Yet these are feathery wisps of a soft, gentle wine.
When sipped, however, the fruits burst to life – rich, almost jammy cherries vie with a bright impression of strawberries. The fresh flavors carouse on the palate before giving way to a lingering finish of dour oak and casked vanilla. In between that first jumble of fruit and the dim gloaming of wood, Kori’s Pinot Noir puts on an intricate peep show, with flashes of toasted allspice, genteel vanilla, mushrooms and morning dew, cured tea leaves and perhaps even tart boysenberry parting the curtain to flaunt for a moment before taking a bow.
The wine is an expression of owner Kori Violini’s family estate in the Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s approachable, yet with a depth, balance and elusiveness that Pinot connoisseurs yearn for.
KORI, Mission between Ocean and Seventh, Carmel. 293-8217, koriwines.com