Review: 2020 Highlands 41 Pinot Noir and Black Granite Red

Review: 2020 Highlands 41 Pinot Noir and Black Granite Red

If there is one thing I truly regret not doing sooner, it is aggregating marketing slogans from wine companies imploring me to pursue a different lifestyle than my current and satisfactory mode of operation. Throughout my wine-scribing adventures, I’ve been urged, via various means of stylish typography, to “Live Out Loud,” “Chase Life Meaningfully,” “Pursue (My) Passion,” and other iterations of intent. Perhaps I am not the target demographic wine companies have affixed in the crosshairs of their marketing scope, but I’m also certain most of the youths are more concerned about whether or not they’ll have a planet to inherit or a home to purchase as opposed to which Sancerre pairs best with the salmon, which is about as close to exciting as I choose to get in 2022. Paso Robles’ Highlands 41 is the latest of these marketing entreaties, extending an invitation to “Find My Adventure.” As a perpetually exhausted father who long ago replaced going to bed drunk at 5 am with waking up mildly hungover at that particular hour of dawn, I’m not sure how much adventure I am up for finding in my fab forties, but it is a lovely sentiment to imbue. It is quite possible I am missing out; these wines could act as the catalyst lighting the tinder aflame. Let’s find out.

2020 Highlands 41 Pinot Noir – Peppery on the nose with dark fruit (blackberry, boysenberry) delivering a fruit-forward profile as things settle down. Quite tart on the palate, with the fruit meeting a rush of black tea, firewood, and big tannins. A nice touch of chocolate on the finish provides welcomed nuance. Very engaging but it requires some air, patience, and time in the glass to sort itself out and become presentable. B+ / $16

2020 Highlands 41 Black Granite Red – This was ranked as the #1 best buy over at Wine Enthusiast for 2022, and it is not hard to see why. A big, heady blend of boysenberry, cassis, and mild baking spice finds itself in good company with notes of cocoa powder, violet, and vanilla emerging on the lingering finish. The violet never overpowers but provides generous depth and an interesting partner for the chocolate notes.  I couldn’t get enough of this one. Adventures abound to be found. A- / $16

2020 Highlands 41 Pinot Noir




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

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