After a weekend rush to buy Redbreast pot-still Irish whiskey (a major keeper, by the way), and an impulse purchase of Corsair Artisan’s gin while at the liquor store, I received 10 new bottles of wine this week from my current flash-sale site of choice for vino, Lot18.
As I cracked open the boxes, my deadpan, D.A.R.E.-indoctrinated teenage daughter looked around the kitchen in disgust and asked with a look mingling annoyance with concern: Are you and mom alcoholics? Of course, I replied, and went about my business.
Anyhow! The bulk of my buy consisted of an irresistibly cool-looking bottle of 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir called O.P.P. (Stands for Other People’s Pinot, but yes, the hip-hop allusion is there by design — a big plus in my book, along with the sub-$20/bottle price tag.)
The wine comes from Mouton Noir (Black Sheep), the brainchild of Andre Mack, who busted out of his gilded cage at Citicorp to become a sommelier at Thomas Keller‘s famed French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. He then moved to Keller’s Per Se in New York where he was named head sommelier managing the much-lauded 1,800-strong wine list. With the connections he made working for Keller, he tapped some of the world’s top growers and vintners to launch Mouton Noir in 2004. The goal was to produce wines by the people, for the people. Okay, so he doesn’t actually use a line that cheesy.
Suffice it to say, however, that Mack likes being an iconoclastic figure and offering a playful brand in an otherwise stuffy world of wine snobs. Beyond his personal bio — he was a wine-nobody working in San Antonio when he won the title of “Best Young Sommelier in America” by some BFD-organization — the press attention he tends to get nowadays praises his “juice” for being at once accessible and refined.
This Lot18 tasting note on the 2010 O.P.P. is typical: “The wine presents the best of both worlds: ripe, New World fruit and Old World complexity.” While my palate has about as much sophistication as some post-Commie Eurotrash who suddenly finds a couple of zlotys in his pocket, I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment after my first tastes of O.P.P. this week.
Next up from this most recent order: A 2008 Ricominciare Altisimo Mendoza Malbec.