Recycle Bin, Week of Mar. 10

Is that a hint of spring in the air?  Let's hope so.  Please, let's hope so...Wines reviewed this week which will be making encores on the Winethropology dinner table are the Chard, Zin, and Pinot.  Adventurous winos will also take special note on the Pinot.  If this example is any indication of the potential of non-grocery store wine New Zealander wine, we've all got something to be excited about.  Also be sure to check out Scott Harvey's wines.

2012 Wente Chardonnay Livermore Valley "Morning Fog" $11
Same as it was last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Which is to say that it's a straight-down-the-middle, value-priced Chard perfect for helping you cope with your midweek stress-induced impulse to retire early. 
2011 Scott Harvey Zinfandel Amador County $22 (Sample)
Scott Harvey's wines are never bad and their Syrah has been applauded on these pages before.  The Old World/New World continuum indicator on the rear labels (which all seem to point to Old World) is a novelty, even if hopelessly inaccurate.  Each sniff of the Zin offers up something new - a harbinger of great things.  As light in the glass as Pinot Noir, but hue and density are where its similarities to end.  Full spectrum clarity of intriguing flavors wrapped in an amiable, embrace of a wine follow.  There is a lot to love here. 

2011 Scott Harvey Barbera Amador County $18 (Sample)
The Barbera brings plenty of outward appeal, if at the expense of varietal character.  Extroverted fruit and a robust oak regimen make for a gregarious wine.  All in all, a crowd-pleasing wine.

2012 Field Recordings Red Wine Paso Robles "Fiction" $20
An oddity.  A wine that tastes the way the label looks.  Bordering on effervescent, this extracted animal is free-roaming and electric.  If you like kambucha, this living beverage may tickle your fancy.  Made of a kitchen sink blend of (get this) Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Touriga Nacional, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Cinsault. 

2008 Pyramid Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Central Otago "Growers Collection" $18
Purchased on a blow-out sale from Last Bottle, this unique and high-quality wine is of a caliber that vastly outpaces its discounted price tag.  Holding up beautifully after six years since harvest.  In possession of several elements that make for compelling Pinot (all in modest doses, making it just that much more enticing) like tar, smoke, green herbs, bright acids, and a character that suggests self-awareness.  Very happy to have another bottle, sad that it's just one.