It’s been a phenomenal year. In addition to all of the wines I’ve tasted and written about for articles in 2018, we chose a different, extraordinary “Wine to Know” each week for 52 editions of WineSpeed. Looking back over those top wines, any one of them could have been our “Wine of the Year.” But one wine really stood out.
For sheer deliciousness, for its ability to engage the mind, for its artisanal authenticity, and for costing just $50 a bottle when so many great wines cost more than $100, we’ve chosen RADIO-COTEAU “La Neblina” Pinot Noir 2012. Our review (of July 6, 2018) is below. And, yes, you can still get the stunner at K&L Wines here.
First I wrote, “God, is this good.” A few minutes later, I wrote, “Man, is this good.” Then I underlined both sentences and put exclamation points. Finally though, I made myself try to say why. Was it the wine’s earthy lusciousness? Its sappy texture? Its long swaths of dark, savory flavors? I know this: Radio-Coteau’s pinots pull you into them and don’t release you. They captivate your emotions and your mind. And they are so damned delicious. (Ok, I give up now). Radio-Coteau has been quietly making great pinot for more than a decade. The name, by the way, is French slang for “word of mouth.” (13.4% abv)
94 points KM
Radio-Coteau, by the way, is a small winery on the Sonoma Coast. It was begun by Eric Sussman, a Cornell University graduate who studied viticulture, Agricultural Systems & Environmental Technology. He fell in love with Burgundy while working at Domaine Comte Armand of Pommard and Domaine Jacques Prieur of Meursault.
We asked Sussman what he thinks great pinot noir possesses. Here’s what he said: “For me, the vibrancy, balance, freshness, and finesse that can be captured by this grape reflects a unique personality within the wine. Great pinot noir is like a window into terroir, with a transparency reflecting the soil, season, people, and place. The expression can be further elevated through respectful, regenerative farming practices in conjunction with non-interventional winemaking to highlight a true sense of place.”