In Pinot Veritas - Printable Version

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- Innkeeper - 12-14-1999 02:20 PM

Now that we have decided that Pinot Noir goes with every cuisine in the world, maybe we should examine what worries we have wont. I have no problem with Pinot Noir, and have the remains of some fine specimens on my Wall of Fame. The quality Pinot Noir world exists along narrow strips of France, California, and Oregon. Italians can't decide what politically correct name to put on the label, much less what to put in the bottle. Australians should stick to their Cabernet/Shiraz knitting. There are glimmers of hope emanating from Eastern Europe and Chile.

Even in those narrow strips where it does well, it has bad years, it has low yields even in good years, it is cantankerous in the tank, and has other problems that make it difficult and costly for the vineyard to get a quality product into the bottle. Some manage to get out a decent and widely distributed product at the $15.00 price point. However, most I've tried in that range, not including Bucko's recommended Sonoma Creek, do not measure up to the Grand Cru Beaujolais in overall quality for $5.00 less. Although the Grand Crus are made from a different grape, they are the same style as the light Pinots, and rule the world of light reds.

Pinot Noir that stands apart starts at the $20.00 price point, and goes on up infinitely as you all know. So, in my view, we are recommending to folks to go out and spend $20.00 on a wine to go with their pasta and stir fry, when they could be spending $10.00 on something else. This is unless there are other Sonoma Creeks in the world. If there are lets get them posted post haste facto Widely distributed quality Pinot Noir for $15.00 or less.

- Scoop - 12-14-1999 04:38 PM

I find that Echelon, David Bruce and Meridian put out some good quality California Pinots in the $13-15 range.



- Bucko - 12-14-1999 10:01 PM

1997 Meridian Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, $14, newly released. Aged in one-year-old French oak barrels, so the oak level does not overpower the intense but luscious berry and cherry fruit.

1997 River Road Pinot Noir, Russian River, $14, 450 cases. This exceptional value wine is made in a very approachable style. Bright cherry fruit, a hint of smokey oak, and crisp acid makes this a nice match for pork tenderloin.

1997 Mirassou Pinot Noir, Monterey County, $12, 10,745 cases. Very fruity, with lush cherry flavors, spice and a dash of vanilla. Extremely good value.


- Thomas - 12-15-1999 10:04 AM

There is an outfit makes wine both in Washington and in Oregon, or grows grapes in each place, could never get it straight. Anyway, they make a decent Pinot Noir (not a blockbuster, but a delicious, fruity kind) for $10, sometimes $9.

Duck Pond is the name.

Innkeeper: your post points out exactly why so many wine geeks suffer from Pinot envy. It certainly is a tough wine to make great, but when it is made great, none compare.

- Jason - 12-17-1999 05:59 AM

Mirrassou is definite for the list. Also Van Duzer up in Willamette is great stuff and is made by Bill Hill. Should be about $13.95 retail. Henry Estate in Umpqua also does very well and makes an Umpqua Cuvee that is even less $.