James Melendez of James The Wine Guy, a prolific wine reviewer, writer and videographer, has produced thousands of thoughtful, meticulously-researched reviews of wines in video format since November 2006. Passionate about wine and business, Melendez, a former national wine marketing manager for a large, off-premise food and wine retailer, spends roughly 5 minutes introducing the producer and sharing his thoughts on the wine’s color, nose, and palate profiles. Melendez also awards scores based on a 100-point scale.
Occasionally, however, he gets inspired to veer off his well-beaten path and wax poetic about a wine. Which is what happened when he recently reviewed Bells Up’s 2018 Villanelle Tonnelier Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir, as he discusses the color of the wine and what he considers to be the ideal degree of extraction for pinot noir:
Exquisite wine. I really enjoy a pinot noir that has right extraction point, not depending on coloration. If it has way too much coloration — that is too much exposure through macerations skin contact — it’s going to color the wine and yes, it does flavor the wine… I want the optimum or the optimized characterization so that the pinot noir grape speaks for itself and the skin doesn’t overwhelm it.
For me, the coloration tells me a bit about that. Actually, it’s a light to mid garnet colorization. It’s vitreous, which I would hope and expect for. In other pinot noirs that you see on the planet, they’re very, very dark and inky. Almost Syrah-esque. And so somehow I think that does overexpress in terms of the macerations. I think a lot of people are really expecting what is that honest signature of pinot noir.
It’s all about balance… both on the nose as well as the palate. That’s the beauty of this wine, getting things from fruit, all the way to notations of espresso, pepper, other spice notes, and just really a nice variation in theme that makes it a very romantic, beautiful, and a wine that is just so memorable and captivating. It could only be pinot noir when it really is pinot noir. I know it sounds obvious, right? But ultimately there’s something very romantic and very inspiring about this wine.
This wine has a nose of heirloom Blackberry, maybe a Blackberry preserve, and it’s a wonderful expression. Fresh red rose pedal, as well as suede notes and spices. Between the nose and the palate, there is some expression that is slightly different.
Very, very nice and enjoyable and shows a very dynamic and complex range for this wine. So the palate is expressive. Beautiful. A very nice elongated finish on this. Notes on this are mountain strawberry, fennel, pepper a hint of espresso and dried red rose petal.
This is 94 points out of a hundred points, nice elongated finish a really beautiful, fantastic wine with food. Enjoy this with a variety of dishes. I’m going to enjoy this with fish because I think the acidity on this is just absolutely perfect.
You can watch the full video review, here: