Surprise awaits in Black Tower
AKurtis Kolt case of wine samples arrived at my office the other day, a small handful of German wines.
Now, I’m a bit of a Riesling nut, so it was maybe three or four seconds between spotting the box and tearing into the thing. With visions of citrus-laden, mineral-driven wines that the package potentially contained, I cannot tell you the speed with which my heart sank when I pulled out the first bottle: Black Tower Dornfelder Pinot Noir 2016.
This must be a joke, yeah? I mean, Black Tower’s one of those wines only mentioned when you’re looking for a laugh.
“Hey, thanks for having us over for dinner. We brought wine for everyone; hope you like Black Tower!”
I mean, what’s next? Someone trying their luck by sending me a bottle of Mateus Rosé?
It is notoriously cheap and crazily accessible, usually on the bottom shelves of many a liquor store—and I can’t even recall the last time I’d tried Black Tower’s ubiquitous red. Certainly, it was many, many years ago, when I didn’t know much about wine. In my mind, I was imagining the wine would be awfully sweet—confected, even. Well, it couldn’t hurt to give it a whirl, could it? Knowing it was a lighter style of wine, I threw it in the fridge for a quick 10 to 15 minutes, as that’s the touch of chill I like to have on lighter reds like Gamays and Pinot Noirs.
Into the glass it went; I gave it a quick spin and then a hearty slurp.
Um… It was good.
Is that possible? Maybe I was bracing for the worst, and when it wasn’t the worst, I mistakenly thought it was pretty good?
Nope. Further sips confirmed it was indeed tasty. Violets and baking spices filled the aromatics, while the palate carried some gentle red plums, blackberries, dark cherries, and a fine dusting of cocoa. The acid made for lively juiciness, and the affable, lengthy finish was quite dry.
I honestly felt the wine was so fresh, expressive, and kinda geeky that they could slap on a quirky label with a crude cartoon on it, charge twice the price, and all the cool millennial natural-wine-focused wine nerds out there would flock to it.
In fact, I casually blind-tasted a couple local sommeliers