Goldeneye has been making wine in the Anderson Valley for 30 years. This current release is comprised of 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay. There is a lovely softness to the carbonation and viscosity of the wine itself. Pleasant notes of fresh, baked bread, golden delicious apple, apricot jam, blood orange and a slight honeydew melon fill the palate. Unlike many sparklers, this doesn’t lean towards sour apple, nor sweet, it straddles a middle ground of pleasant, soft notes, making this a delightful sipping wine with enough acidity for food.
The “better for you“ wine segment is a fast growing category including lower calorie, zero sugar, “all natural” and so forth. But the bottom line of these or any wine is, does it taste good? Because if it doesn’t taste good, lower sugar and fewer calories maybe a mute point. Happily this Pinot Noir from Chile is a terrific wine, and very good quality. There less overt acidity from the get-go, however, there is still nice raspberry strawberry, huckleberry, and boysenberry notes.
Good Pinot Noir is hard to find. A good Pinot at a good price is even harder. But Decoy’s latest hits the right notes. Black cherry, boysenberry, wild strawberry, black berry and a hint of green tea leaf, this offers mild tannins and acidity and is a pretty comprehensive Pinot for just $25. The grapes were harvested from six different counties in California, and it was aged one year in new French oak barrels, 35% of which were new. The result is a well crafted Pinot Noir that won’t break the bank, but will give you a quality wine that is food-friendly and enjoyable.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.