Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Price of P-Funk

If you’ve been reading Gourmet Squatter, you know I love my wines, funky. By funky, I mean I like my dry reds Virginia Woolf-deep, wines that provoke the androgynous mind, compelling you to take a second glance at the color, wines that make you stick your nose in the glass over and over again like a child at the beach, digging through the wet sand in search of treasure. You know you have arrived when you smell the earth at her most vulnerable. Some folks use words like wet cellar or wet leaves. But in my experience, these wines can smell like everything from stinky cheese and wet soil to armpit, sweaty socks and lovemaking. These wines possess Sly Stone-swag, your descriptors getting more and more creative as they unravel in the glass. When I think of the essence of grape funk, I think, Pinot Noir, and like all the things worth having, this grape is called the heartbreak grape as it is difficult to grow. It’s also difficult to find a really well-made bottle for under $25. Last year, when my budget took a boost, I bought several bottles between $20 and $35 mainly from Oregon and was really bored. The aromas were flat, vacant and uninspiring. Today I got off work ready for that good P-funk, so I told the wine dondadda at one of my favorite wine stores, that my budget was $30. He recommended the 2009 Soléna Grand Cuvée Oregon Pinot Noir as a supremely aromatic wine, but the bottle I had was aromatically dead. I tried and tried to smell something, but there was nothing there. A couple weeks ago I bought a bottle of 2009 Sonoma Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir for just over $20. P-funk jumped out of my glass along with aromas of braised short ribs and marionberries. On the palate, there were dark plum, stewed fig, clove and anise flavors that glided through the lush, cashmere body. I bought the ’08 vintage this evening which wasn’t as interesting, but sometimes, you have to hunt the P-funk.