Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Saga of the Never Ending Search for Value Pinot Noir....from anywhere!  

I rarely post a story about a wine I do not like on The Wine Forum.  However, I feel that I end up here most of the time when researching a value Pinot Noir.  I get the feeling that many of you readers out there end up here as well when value hunting, especially for a Pinot Noir.  Many of us wine geeks are on a never ending search for anything of value or new, even Pinot Noir for under $15 or $20.   There are gems we discover all the time, and for sure they are out there, but none are as elusive as the fickle Pinot Noir.

This past week I thought I found one from Carneros of all places, for $10.99.  Now, of course one has to be leery at this price, so I did my research and it turns out this was a recession special and super slashed from the $15-20 range.  This has all the right pieces to make it a great value.  A reputable Pinot Noir winemaker and fruit from the Carneros region which happens to be one of the best sources for Pinot Noir fruit in California.   

Recession Specials

I have had some great $17-25 wines; but are those really values if that is there regular price?  I think not as your average wine drinker is probably spending in these tough recessionary times $10-15 or less.  Recent surveys have revealed that wine purchases overall are up, but only in wines under $15.  The current over $40 bottle of wine market is getting crushed and only getting worse for the 2004-2006 wines.  Exceptional vintages from California 2007, Rhone 2007, Bordeaux 2008 and 2009, and Burgundy 2009 are coming to market and attracting all of the new money away from the current wines in the supply chain considered mediocre vintages.  Keep an eye out for great deals on premium 2004-2006 wines from some of the best regions in the world.  I have heard many, many people state the opinion they are waiting on spending and going "all in" for Napa Valley Cabernet in 2007 and Bordeaux 2009.  I also happen to be one of those people.  

Sad to say this wine did not deliver and I would not recommend it.  My tasting notes are immediately below.  For Pinot Noir, I have nothing to recommend at this price point, but there are plenty of Italian reds, Malbec and Cabernet that deliver much more for your money at this price.

Tasting Notes:  

Not bad for $11, but very out of balance. There was some true Pinot flavor peeking out of the aromas and flavors but overall it was very disjointed. Great entry, decent mid palate, but between the mid-palate and the finish the wine spiked in acidity in a bad way, then finished fruity and then flat. Just not a seamless product.

Color: Purple red, with brick edges (brick is not a good sign for a 4 year old wine)

Nose & Palate: Strawberry, damp earth, straw-hay like aromas and flavors initiate the start to this wine, some cherry comes into the fray on the palate. The mid-palate starts to climb, and then it all goes bad...the flavors disappear, the acidity abruptly spikes and the finish comes in with some fruit, but it's rather flat and dull. That acidity spike was tempered with some food (salmon), but I do not recommend this wine. The search for value Pinot continues!

If anyone has some great recommendations for fellow readers for Pinot Noir values please post in the comments guys!  This is a forum after all!



  1. Tom

    Just discovered your blog while researching for a Napa/Sonoma upcoming visit. I was on the Parker Board and you had some great insight into wineries to visit and a link to your blog.

    I can see I am going to be here often you have some great posts.

    I have not had a chance to read enough of your posts to see if you have mentioned this wine previously but I have always found the O'Reilly's Pinot Noir from Oregon to be a great value at about $18.00 locally.

    I will add a link to your blog on my blogroll.

    Keep up the good work!



  2. Thanks Franl! I appreciate the feed back and I will check out your blog too! Good to see fine food and wine is alive in South Jersey!

  3. Also if you are new to Napa and need any help with visiting there let me know...Cheers!


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