Top Ten Pinot Noirs of 2016

I tend to taste and drink a lot of wine over the course of a year. I am in a few tasting groups, sometimes the wines are consumed at various local wine store tastings and a number drunk with friends and family.

2018 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Rouge La Porte du Caillou, France, Loire, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This was accidently added to a tasting of Loire Cabernet Franc.  It is of course, Pinot Noir.  Certainly not a fair way to sample the wine as it was only after the wines were unveiled that the mistake was identified.  A couple people did say it was Pinot like which is very impressive.  Still, here is the tasting note.

Cuvaison 2019 Brut Rosé, Méthode Champenoise

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

Cuvaison is best known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but in 2012 they launched a sparkling program. Comprised of mainly Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, this brut was made in the traditional Champagne method. Using Pinot Dijon clone 115 planted in 1998, winemaker Steve Rogstad says these 25-year-old vines bring a “precocious beauty” to the wine, and I have to agree. This is a delicate wine with minimal sweetness, using the grace of the Pinot and the acidity and light salinity of the Chardonnay to make a very balanced, almost shy wine.

Argyle 2018 Vintage Brut Sparkling Wine

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Founded in 1987, Argyle has always considered sparkling wine to be one of their mainstays. With a mild carbonation and light fresh flavors, not to mention a good price tag, this is an easy decision for your sparkling needs. Light notes of lemon, quince, green apple, just-baked sourdough, a touch of lime zest and tangerine peel make this a delightful wine. Comprised of 52% Chardonnay and 43% Pinot Noir, a little Pinot Meunier rounds it out. Aged in stainless steel with just 20% in neutral oak allows the bright expressive flavors to come through while allowing for a nice bit of mouth feel.

2019 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$49.00USD

This is the basic Pinot Noir from the home winery of winemaker Thomas Rivers-Brown.  An excellent value in Pinot Noir.  Deep garnet in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose has cherries and sour cherries with some char and spice.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, this is young but delicious.  Some depth.  Lots of cherry and sour cherry notes.  Long finish.  This will improve with a few years in the cellar though it drinks nicely now.  Drink over the next ten years.  Nice on its own, this would work well with Roasted Chicken.  

Laetitia 2021 Estate Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$28.00USD

Having run several wine departments, a question I’m always asked is, Is there an inexpensive Pinot Noir that’s any good? Answer: Yes. Pinot is not an easy grape to work with and it becomes more expensive given its inconsistent growing qualities. However Laetitia has a proved  track record with Pinot Noir and has made a solid, comprehensive and affordable Pinot from California’s Central Coast. The 2021 provides notes of strawberry, black cherry, blackberry, red raspberry, along with mild tannins, good acidity and a hint of vanilla spice.

2008 Hamacher Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, USA, Oregon, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

A lot of people will tell you that Oregon Pinot's do not age well.  Nonsense.  At age 14, this is still young and vibrant.  Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has a bit of VA which mostly blows off leaving fresh cherries, slight cranberries, and slight woody notes.  Full bodied.  On the palate, bright black cherries, cherries and slight spice.  Tight complexity.  Long finish.  This should continue to mature and drink well for another ten to fifteen years.  Excellent on its own, this would work better with food.  Roasted chicken is a nice choice.  

2005 Dominique Laurent Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaumonts Vieilles Vignes, France, Burgundy, Cotes du Nuits, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Great showing for this Premier Cru from the excellent 2005 vintage.  Ruby/purple in color, clear and bright.  The nose is nice with cherries, chervil and spice.  Medium bodied. On the palate, this is bigger than on the nose.  Cherries, black cherries with some spice.  Long finish.  Drinking well at age 17, this should go another ten to fifteen more years.  Better with food, this would work well with a seared Tuna Steak with a seared crust.

2020 Maison Albert Bichot Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, France, Burgundy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

These wines don't seem to get the respect that other Bourgogne's get and that is a shame.  This was delicious.  It is more understated, but that is not a bad thing in Burgundy.  Light ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is nice with cranberries, rhubarb, cherries and slight char.  Medium bodied.  A bit riper on the palate with cherries and slight rhubarb.  Light tannins.  Sour/tart cherries on the finish.  This works better with food than on its own.  Sweet and sour Pork would work well. 

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