#WOTW: this classy Californian Pinot goes down a Storm
The wine world is having to adapt to stay in business in these strange times, so this week’s suggestion comes from an importer that usually services top end restaurants and specialist retailers, but is now turning its attention to bringing fine wines to your door.
I first tried Ernst Storm’s wines at a tasting early last year (read about it here), hosted by the California Wine Institute, which does a great job of championing the Golden State’s sometimes surprising diversity. A South African, Storm set up shop in Santa Barbara to take advantage of its transverse Pacific winds, meaning sunny days and cool nights, making it perfect for Pinot Noir.
Storm 2016 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir (part of a mixed case of premium California wines at £140 from Tiger Vines) offers ripe strawberry, juicy morello cherry and black pepper notes, with a mushroomy Burgundian note that adds a savoury twist. There’s a lovely crunch to the fresh fruit and the tannins are smooth and supple. It’s all beautifully balanced and alcohol is just 13.5 percent. Ernst Storm has a simple mantra: to make the wines he wants to drink. He also happens to make the wines I want to drink.
Tiger Vines was founded around 18 months ago by James Thomas, ex of Champagne house Billecart-Salmon and a one time Majestic man. “When the crisis landed, we pivoted like mad and went back to our roots”, he says, “to put our best value wines into a simple-to-order 6 pack, making it quick and easy to get great wines to people’s doors”.
*the Tiger Vines website has been hastily adapted to offer direct customer sales, so be patient with it. At the moment, it only offers mixed cases. I can heartily recommend supporting James and giving a mixed case a go. I’d opt for the Californian selection, but there’s also a cheaper ‘essentials’ selection too from his range.