2011 Samuel Roberts Winery Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve $15.99 12.5% alc.
Salem, OR. Purchased October 9, 2014
We’ve just spent the last several days enjoying some very excellent Napa & Sonoma Cabernet. It was a special occasion and I only mention this because, during the course of this review, I wondered if my palate had been prejudiced; if that makes any sense.
I was trying to figure out which G.O. wine to choose for tonight in hopes that it would make a good showing after last weekend. I picked this one for two reasons:
1. I love Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
2. Price (I figured that at $15.99 G.O. price, it should have a decent taste).
I have looked at the cellartracker notes for the non-Vintner’s Reserve version of this wine. It has a decent rating and describes everything I would expect this wine should taste like. The vineyard’s description of that wine, same vintage but a step down (I could not find the Vintner’s Reserve on their site) was thus: “Offering aromas of black cherry, cranberry, raspberry, spice, and new leather. A rich essence of fresh Bing cherries, pomegranate, and blueberry with hints of cola, oak and anise.” Again, everything I would expect.
Basically I was disappointed. My husband opened the wine and poured it. I was doing other things. I’ve debated on telling you actually what happened when I tasted it. In fact, I considered not writing a review at all. I decided, for the price, you should have my honest opinion. He handed me the wine and gave me an odd look (we’ve been married a very long time and he knows me extremely well). I tasted it and said “Very funny….what is this?” I (truth here) thought he’d poured me something else as a joke. I was shocked when he said it really was the wine. So much so that I poured a completely different glass (not that I don’t trust him, but he can be a prankster) to see for myself. Honestly I tried a fresh glass because of any possible taste transference…dish soap residue or anything that might have mistakenly made it taste poorly. It was exactly the same.
I tasted what (to me) was a perfect example of watered down wine. At least that’s exactly what I would suspect watered down wine would taste like. There was no taste of pepper, no spice, no heat, no distinguishable fruit, no yeast, no layers; nothing that I would identify with a traditional Willamette Valley (or any) Pinot Noir.
This wine is not flawed (technically) in my opinion; not as actual wine flaws are defined, unless it’s completely oxidized. In any case, I cannot give it a drinkable, because something is definitely wrong here. I did end up pouring it out.
FWIW, before pouring it out, I opened another inexpensive wine (half this price) to see if it was just my palate. I was expecting that one to be bad (not a G.O. purchase) and it tasted adequate/drinkable. We ended up drinking that one with dinner. I have no idea what happened with this wine. I would like to deliver good, decent or drinkable reviews and I’m just not able to do that here. Hopefully it’s just a bottle variation. At this price though, I’m not going to purchase another to find out. Perhaps during the wine sale, someone else will be interested in picking up a bottle and be able to further investigate.