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la strada

On and on

Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – Very, very mildly corked, but the wine is so stubborn and the TCA so hesitant that there’s actually something worth drinking here. But keep that mitigation in context, please, as you read the following: blackstrap cherry, a bit whippy and snarly, with lingering firm structural tannins and a long, columnar finish. In full form, this would have been a magisterial take on pinot-as-statuary. Alas. (2/12)

Fromm here to eternity

Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – Extremely difficult and sullen. For about thirty minutes I worry about low-level cork taint, for the next thirty minutes I struggle to peer into an opaque glass of murky berries and thick leather, and for the thirty minutes after that I try to figure out of this has just died very quickly (previous bottles were quite expressive, albeit structurally primary), has inexplicably re-closed…or, then, there’s that low-level taint question again. Well, whichever. It’s possible to appreciate the tiny bit this wine gives, but it’s not really possible to appreciate the wine. (10/11)

Feet of Clayvin

Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – Cooked. A recent purchase, so not indicative of properly-stored bottles. (9/11)

Fromm here to eternity

Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – As mature as one would want it, I think. The berries, strong and lavishly-structured, have not fully developed into something more autumnal, but those equinoxal notes are present, the tannin is still a throb but no longer deadening, and there are baked and sunset aspects to both aroma and finish. This turned out not to be the ager I might have predicted (though this bottle is from a recent store closeout, and thus of doubtful provenance), but has turned out to reward what aging it has accomplished. (8/10)

Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – Almost exactly like the previous bottle, except with more fruit-to-underbrush development, and a more appealing texture. (8/10)


Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – A recent closeout, and dying. There are plenty of signs of heat damage somewhere along the line. Alas, this showed up in a local closeout bin and I was intrigued. But I’d avoid the lot based on the performance of this bottle, which should have been in the early stages of blossoming from its closed youth. (7/10)


Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – The hyper-masculine aggression of this wine has really been shed over the last year or so, which is something I didn’t expect to happen quickly or, in my more pessimistic moments, at all. It’s still no delicate flower, for sure, but now both the flavors and the overall body are something more recognizable as pinot noir, albeit still far, far on the fringes of the weight that’s typical from anyone else growing this grape in Marlborough. (Well, except maybe Glover’s, but that’s mostly about tannin.) The dusty, black-soiled elements are now met by freshening acidity, while a scowling array of berries must accept the presence of lighter, crisper elements in their midst. This wine, always so brutish in the past, is undergoing a fascinating transformation, but I wonder if I’ll have the patience to wait this story out to its denouement; I’ve only a few bottles left. (3/10)


[vineyard]Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – Perhaps the always-fearsome structure is beginning to weaken, or maybe there’s just bottle-variation here, because the dark, moody, truculent fruit is more accessible than usual, and the wine’s youthful aromatics have suddenly reasserted themselves. Thus, a wine that used to smell like pinot but feel like tannat begins to veer away from a stage in which it more closely resembled the latter. Frankly, this is pretty enjoyable, though one has to like filo-esque layers of tannin. (12/09)

Strada sphere

Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – As with previous bottles, somewhat at war with its structure. The tannin is layered and ripe, but heavy for the wine (which is darker and more brooding than many pinots, and certainly almost all other Marlborough pinots), and even the usual counterpoint of fat doesn’t quite cut through the muscle. I don’t know if this will hold long enough for the structure to abate, and so my inclination is to drink up over the short term. All this warning and layering of caveats aside, the wine’s dark berries, earth, and autumnal hardwood aromas are still present and powerful. (8/09)

Fromm here to there

[vineyard]Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – Smoother than the last few iterations, with the cottony tannin still very present, but less oppressive in relation to the fruit than it usually is. The fruit remains dark and brooding, yet with a clear eye of light in its midst that makes it more pinot noir than something heavier, and the finish is pure textural sensuality, albeit of a highly masculine bent. Despite the differences, there’s nothing here that makes me question my general suspicion that this is a wine for earlier-term drinking, no matter the structural clues to the contrary. (3/09)

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