As wine connoisseurs know, regardless of one’s taste preferences, the most coveted wines in the world hail from the comparatively tiny region in France called Burgundy. The red wine from Burgundy is made from the notorious and mysterious Pinot Noir grape. No California Pinot can truly be compared to the most famous Pinot on the planet, Domain Romanee Conti, which is also known as DRC for short Having said this, DRC, in my opinion, may have a California counterpart – none other than Marcassin. Marcassin, which means young wild boar in French, is arguably the most coveted and most expensive New World Pinot Noir. However, before we get to the story of how Marcassin came about, we ought to take a brief survey of what Pinot Noir is all about.
Having tasted many of California’s high scoring Pinots, I have settled on Marcassin as the best expression of Pinot. It just so happens that Marcassin is also the rarest and the most expensive of California’s top Pinot Noirs. Like most rare and expensive wines, Marcassin is often criticized as overrated and overpriced. There is often some truth to this blanket criticism when it comes to any high scoring and tightly allocated wine made by a famous wine maker – regardless of whether they are the First Growths from Bordeaux or hyped up “Cult” wines from Napa. I would agree thatMarcassin may be at times only marginally better than the runner ups, which I believe to be Pinots from Sea Smoke, Kistler, Peter Michael, and Aubert. However, this marginal difference is what sets Marcassin apart. Great wine often dwells on subtle differences and refinement.
(Yuri Vanetik is a private investor and wine collector based in Southern California.)