Tongue Dancer is a new, tiny label from winemaker James MacPhail, late of MacPhail Family Wines. In 2011 he sold his namesake winery to Hess Collection, then in mid-2016 left to pursue other projects. MacPhail’s new micro project focuses on Pinot Noir, long a passion and the grape that has made his vinous reputation. (See my reviews of four 2014 vintage MacPhail wines).
The inaugural release of Tongue Dancer feels thoroughly Postmodern. Farming is conventional, while harvest is by hand. Fermentations use both designer and ambient yeasts. There is some foot-treading, but there is also filtration.
The result is deep velvet red with a fragrance of black cherries, strawberries, and a whiff of mint. It’s light-textured, jazzed with a tangy strawberries, and the barrel influence is modest, manifesting mostly as texture, not spice. A friendly, direct, and amiable California Pinot Noir.
N.B.: This wine is closed with a faux wax capsule, made from polymer, which is difficult to penetrate. Wax capsule, not wax: Postmodern.
14.5% abv | $65 (sample) | 70 cases made